Friday, 26 March 2010

In which I consider stepping out of the chemistry lab

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.


nuttycow said...

Great idea Blonde. I was thinking about this the other day. A younger friend here has moved from one bad boy to another and I realised that at some point, that has to stop. You have to look for more that just that immediate attraction and build on what's there. Ok, so there has to be *some* attraction but slow burning love is better than quick firing lust.

Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

This is an uncharacteristically serious post! Well, relatively.

It's also a very mature point of view, and I think you're absolutely bang on.

Interestingly, though, I think "dates" are about the worst time to put this into practice. As per your previous post, when you go on a date with someone you don't know, a lack of charisma can make the evening very painful - we've all been there, desperately fishing around for some sort of conversation and longing for easygoing banter.

Much easier to appreciate non-superficial qualities if you know someone at least a bit before you start going on proper dates.

@jwarnette said...

I think you've made some good points here m'dear.

Charisma is extremely important, there is nothing worse than someone being bland and a bit backwards in coming forwards.

The only problem is, charisma is usually born from confidence and these days there is a fine line betweeen confidence and arrogance. Or perhaps thats just how I interpret it?

Anyhow, I'd stick to your guns. I've tried expanding my horizons with girls that don't immediately make an impact, and whilst in the short term you might feel fulfilled... if they ain't tickin' your boxes - what's the point? Move on.

Hamish said...

Much easier being a bloke. Can she cook ? Has she got boobs ?

The vast majority of blokes told that a girl had "charisma" would think it's a STD........

Jack The Lad said...


You cannot be serious, Blonde!

A Responsible and Mature Attitude, is not what we want read. Where's the angst, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the tearing the clothes of each other posts that we're used to .
You'll just be posting piccies of Colin if this attitude prevails. But on the other hand if helps you find the right guy, you go girl, I'm sure you'll let us know how it proceeds.

Emily said...

Sounds very sensible.

I think compatibility can make up for a lack of charisma. If two people are compatible, the conversation can be just as stimulating.

Blonde said...

NC: It's a theory. Let's see if it works...

RATDOTL: Ah, but what do you do if the dates are the getting-to-know-you bit??

@jwarnette: There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, although so many men these days could do with having more confidence, I think. But you're right. Next!

Hamish: Ah, if only it were so.

JtL: When there's someone whose clothes I want to rip off, trust me, I'll let you lot know. In the meantime, if you want pics of Colin...

Huw said...

A more succinct post: "Am going to stop judging books by their covers".

I squint my eyes at the charismatic, articulate and confident, and think "what is their game?"

Isabelle said...

Oh Blonde, I don't think I've ever commented because when I read you, I'm at work, but I've now found you on my home computer. And I just wanted to say how brilliantly you write (as I'm sure you know) - but are you real? Your life sounds like a novel. (Could be the brilliant writing, of course.)

Alas, I'm not a charismatic suitable partner for you, but a nearly 60-year-old mum. Anyway, hope you find P. Charming soon.

Blonde said...

Huw: Yes. That's a far sharper way of saying it.

Isabelle: Hello, and thanks for the comment! Re: the writing - you're v kind. I'm afraid I am - and the blogged occurances are all - entirely real. I do sometimes wish I were making it up...

CoatMan said...

Is there not a possibility that men can be charismatic intermittently, or in some circumstances and not others? Might other people perceive as charisma what you perceive as mediocrity, or vice versa?

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