Over the past couple of weeks, I have largely been pondering the elusive quality that is charisma. It’s something that, as I have bemoaned for some time, so many people seem to lack entirely. Irritatingly, it is also a quality that, by its very definition, is deeply, deeply attractive.
Being the judgey type of gal that I am, I know I’m rather quick to dismiss people after just one date if I feel that the charisma is lacking. However, I’m coming to the conclusion (and not just because I can’t stomach the inevitable number of first dates that would be necessitated otherwise) that it’s something I really shouldn’t be doing. Because, whilst it’s an exceptionally attractive trait, it’s one that shouldn’t be looked for at detriment of other, actually more worthwhile characteristics.
The most charismatic males with whom I’ve recently dallied are Sports Nut and Speckled Lad. Whilst both boys seem to have some kind of magnetic something apparently irresistible to my inner iron filings, things haven't ultimately worked with either of them. Of course, men with charisma aren’t just attractive to me: they’re attractive to everyone. It’s probably no coincidence that the Nut is now in a relationship with another woman, and that Speckled Lad hasn’t managed to be faithful to a girl in the four and a half years that I’ve known him.
And if an exceptionally charismatic type isn’t the sort to be able to resist temptation - Speckled Lad, The Medic, Ex-Married Aussie - then any woman they’re dating is, ultimately, probably going to be on the losing side when their man is faced with another woman who isn’t prepared to accept her target’s current attached status.
Of course, when I stop to think about it, there was no immediate, earth-moving chemistry with Long Term Ex when I first met him - only later did the desire develop to rip his clothes off whenever I was with him. But Long Term Ex is still the only guy I’ve ever been head-over-heels, completely, utterly, disarmingly in love with.
I think it’s too easy to get caught up in someone’s magnetism - or lack of it - to the detriment of ignoring all their other qualities. Being distracted by a lack of immediate charisma can mean you miss kindness, or generosity; by the same token, being swept up in the allure can make you reluctant to see flaws - unreliability, selfishness - that should make you think a little harder before getting involved.
And so I’m going to start trying to put less store in the immediate chemistry I have with the men I meet, and instead enjoy them for all the qualities they have, rather than looking for something that, frankly, hasn’t done me any favours so far.
Forty days: Pt 12 (the half-term shuffle)
19 hours ago