I was on the phone with a friend the other day, and she started talking about how totally hot a mutual friend is, how unaware of his hotness he seems to be, and how this only adds to his appeal. It was a funny conversation for me, not because what she was saying wasn’t true (the guy in question is really very cute), but because when I look at this guy that isn’t what I notice. But then, good looks have never been a huge draw for me (in fact, my experience has been that a lot of really good looking guys tend to be jerks).
What makes me take note of a guy is something different. While some people have a point rating system to evaluate others, I have what I call Character Points which trump looks every time (this is why Russell Crowe, no matter how totally hot he is, isn’t really all that attractive to me – too many negative Character Points. Although the characters he plays do tend to be drool-worthy dreamy in that regard… ). Guys get Character Points when I see them doing things like taking care of another person or serving the community (especially if they’re doing it without being asked or without seeking recognition). They get extra character points if they’re serving in the basic, practical ways that almost never get noticed. Guys get points for talking respectfully about women, or treating the women around them in ways that honor them. They get points for having integrity, for being men of their word. They get points for being willing to do unpleasant things for the sake of a principle.
Now there’s more to what I look for in a guy than Character Points. Whether or not he makes me laugh is pretty huge. And then there’s whether I can talk to him about the things I care about the most. Theology is like air to me. I’m thinking about it in some way almost all the time. If I could, I would talk about it all the time too. (I’m going into a career where they’ll pay me to do just that.) However, I want to respect people’s boundaries, and I know a lot of people wouldn’t be comfortable. So I don’t. But if I can’t share this deepest part of me with a guy, then I know that he doesn’t really want me. And then there’s whether or not I can imagine him being able to be in the same room with my family for an hour without running away screaming (my family is a little, um, special). And it goes on from there.
So to bring this back full circle, when I look at this particular guy, this is what I see: his sense of humor that has, on at least one occasion, made me laugh until I peed my pants (he does not know this). I see the way he takes care of his little sister. I see the ways he is willing to be totally himself. I see how he takes my oddness in stride, and even makes me want to be a little more odd just to provoke a reaction from him. However, I also see how young he is, and that, while he makes me laugh, I don’t make him laugh. And, well, he has no interest in theology whatsoever. After all that, I do see that he is rather cute. It just takes me a while to get there. And that’s what I see.