So ... As a true believer in equality between the sexes, I feel obliged to follow up my post about good-looking women with one about good-looking men.
But enough about men, let’s talk about women. More particularly, about what women do – and should do – when seeing good-looking men.
Stunning women complain that they don’t get approached by men, because men find them to be intimidating. Surprisingly enough, I don’t have any personal experience of that, so can’t confirm or deny. But I do know that even us plain-janes get our fair share of cat calls, wolf whistles etc. – all women do. This is not good; it is harassment. Harassment comes in many shapes and sizes, and men often don’t understand it, but it is completely, and in all circumstances, WRONG.
Apart from harassment, though, women more often get positive comments about their looks. This is something that women, as well as men, engage in on an almost daily basis. We all comment if an overweight friend has slimmed down and is looking better for it, or if a colleague has a smashing new haircut. In the age old sport of flirtation and pair-formation (or “pulling”, as it is known in England,) often exercised in bars and night clubs, complementing women is a tried and tested strategy.
Not so with men.
It is not common – or perhaps even appropriate – to complement men’s looks. We are primed still to expect (in the heterosexual context) men to be more active in pursuing women, and women simply have the job of accepting or rejecting wooing candidates. Some of this is cultural, some biological. Females are pickier than males when it comes to pair-formation (and not just in humans) since they invest more in child making and rearing. It is also still the way things are just done among this particular species, and hardly questioned.
If you suggest to a woman that she should complement good-looking men around her, she will in all likelihood resist the idea. Women often think that pretty men know that they are pretty, and are narcissistic and proud of their looks. In my experience, this is not necessarily the case. Encouraged by the example of a friend, I have a few times in my life just walked up to a particularly fine specimen and told him that I thought he was good-looking. I then proceeded to wish him a nice evening and walked away. The reactions I got? Blushing and shy, surprised and pleased “thank you”s.
I used to therefore think that this was a practice to be encouraged. However, understanding more about harassment, the many forms it can take, and how the harasser often does not understand he is in fact harassing his victim, has made me pause and think twice. Did I in fact harass the pretty boys?