The rules of attraction

| Forum Editor
Today I was talking to my roommate about what a stupid and unruly thing attraction is. Frankly, I’m outraged. It’s just so unfair to have even my best intentions, my best intuitions, overruled by such an impulsive and often misguided compulsion. I’ve been walking this earth for 21 years, and in all this time, the gods of attraction have only given me eyes for five guys. I’m not saying that I’ve only liked five guys, but I’ve only felt that undeniable, chemical, full-fledged attraction a mere five times. That’s five men out of thousands. With those odds, you’d think that someone, somewhere must be putting some thought into this selection, but I’m starting to believe that my fate is being decided by a dice roll (at best).

So here I am faced with Rule One of Attraction: It’s unpredictable. Sometimes it feels so completely, maddeningly and suddenly random. You just never know when it’s going to hit. For example, one moment I’m in a New Zealand bakery ordering an almond croissant and the next I’m all weak in the knees for the boy behind the counter (yes, he makes it into my top five). I don’t know how people manage to function when faced with the constant risk of these sudden bouts of insanity. I mean, what do you do when unbridled lust strikes when you’re out buying your morning muffin? I immediately gave my number to that particular bakery boy, but that wasn’t necessarily the most judicious or prudent behavior. Learning to manage attraction with class is a constant effort.

I’d like to think of myself as a girl blessed with good sense. I’ve known a small collection of guys whom I would have loved to love. These were good, quality guys­—smart, sweet, funny and considerate—who would have made outstanding boyfriends. But I just couldn’t make myself be attracted to them. This conundrum leads us to Rule Two of Attraction: It’s unmanageable. Control freaks everywhere, prepare to have the reins ripped from your grasping fingers. You don’t decide who you’re attracted to; it just happens (or doesn’t happen) whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter how good looking or perfect some guy is; if the sparks aren’t there, you’re in for one icy cold night. You really can’t force it (believe me, I’ve tried). Unfortunately, there are two edges to this sword: Sometimes you are stuck being attracted to someone you’d rather not be attracted to. Pheromones can really be a pain sometimes.

But, as always, there’s an upside. For when powerful attraction meets with your good sense, the result can be simply spectacular. When, by some divine stroke of luck, you end up attracted to someone who makes even your most sensible impulses feel satisfied, the fireworks can fly regret-free. And that contented combination is so much better than anything you could have managed on your own. Rule Three of Attraction? It has the potential to be unbelievable.

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