How men “think”

In a comment on Wedding planner needed
Jenny stated she didn’t believe that all men find all (or almost all) women attractive.

This is inaccurate: to a man, all women are attractive; however, all women are also scary. These are almost entirely independent of each other, although there may appear to be a slight positive correlation. Neither variable is ever zero. These variables are also not inherent properties of either person: they apply to (man, woman) tuples.

The effect of alcohol is interesting: add it to the male and his estimate of the scariness of any given female decreases; add it to the female and her perceived scariness increases.

We men are simple beings. We’ll approach those women for whom the attractiveness – scariness number is positive in decreasing order of magnitude.

Other important factors, such as availability, can be modeled as mutations to one or both of attractiveness and scariness.

And no, I’m not telling any of you what your comparative attractiveness and scariness positions are in my perception.

9 Responses to “How men “think””

  1. Mark

    I’m not sure “scariness” is the correct word (there are few women of which I have been at all scared, and yet the number of women to whom the difference in two values for me has been negative is fairly large. I’m a harsh critic.) I want to propose “repulsiveness”, as it is the traditional antonym of “attractiveness”, and I find it curiously delightful to think of men being both attracted and repelled by women at the same time, but I fear there may be reprisals if I do. Otherwise this is, of course, classical Ladder Theory. Should be basic teaching in primary schools, really.

  2. Jenny

    I wasn’t going to ask. :)

    Are you really saying that *any* woman, if her scariness is reduced, is attractive enough to want to have a relationship with?

    Obviously there’s a scale of attractiveness, some kind of continuinuinuinuum from, perhaps, Margaret Thatcher to … er … someone absolutely gorgeous. And I don’t mean physically, I mean as a composite of mostly their emotional appeal and probably a bit about their physical appeal as well. But – to me – there are those who I *would* under the right circumstances, and there are those who I most definitely *wouldn’t* have a relationship with.

    If I’m making no sense, I apologise and will come back to this tomorrow. :)

  3. ianburnett

    “All women are attractive?”

    No. Just no.

    Next time I visit Sunderland I’ll take you to see the city centre on a Saturday night and show that not all women are attractive, despite the best efforts of short skirts, low tops and makeup applied with a trowel. Scary, yes; attractive, no.

    For me, not all tall, leggy blondes are attractive. In fact, not many blondes are full-stop. And that’s just the surface. Not a great number of non-blondes are attractive either, once you get past the appearance.

    I guess it depends if you’re defining “attractive” as (a) “would settle for”, or (b) “would really want to be with”. There is definitely a scale here. How about the following site for a vote by the general populous* about the relative perceptions of attractiveness at a superficial level:

    I do agree that we men are simple beings though. :-)

    * OK; probably not the general populous. You make up your own mind about who is likely to be viewing the site and their particular voting skew.

  4. Phil Willoughby


    With the understanding that some women’s scariness could only be reduced by major personality surgery, yes that is what I’m saying. Of course, they would not then be the same woman by most definitions…

    I think you underestimate Baroness Thatcher: a better low point would be self-obsessed, morbidly obese, militantly-misandrist fundamentalistically “christian”, and have a really grating accent. Maggie circa 1981 was probably in the upper-quartile.


    Call it what you like :)


    Going out in winter in t’North wearing an outfit comprised of 3 small hankies and some string is stupid, and thus scary.

    Makeup (ladies take note) is scary because the observations that (1) it never looks that good and (2) you can’t tell what she really looks like combine in your mind to give you an image of some hideous thing. Using a trowel or a process which involves what can only be described as dunking to apply it only makes a bad idea worse.

    Should a lady wish to minimise her scariness, the combination of ill-fitting dungarees/overalls and a slight smudge of motor oil on one cheek is hard to beat. For other fashion tips, see Kaylee in Firefly (any episode except the one where she’s in that dress which looks a bit like a cake).

  5. Michael

    One of the clubs in Corby is occasionally nicknamed “Alton Towers”.

    After you pay to get in all the rides are free, and most of them are scary.


  6. Sally

    This is strange. I am trying to work out when it occurs to me whether someone is attractive or not. If you meet someone and you actively think “ooh, they’re attractive” does that mean that you have an attractiveness appraisal routine running constantly in the background? Because I am rarely provoked to actively think someone is specifically unattractive, rather their attractiveness level doesn’t register at all.

    Anyway, it’s difficult to think about this when I am so alarmed about Phil’s revelations of attraction to Maggie Thatcher.

  7. Jenny

    Oh dear, Phil, you’re showing (I suspect) a good deal of naivete.

    You think make-up is bad. I’ll bet that 9 times out of 10, people you think aren’t wearing any are, but they’re doing it well.

    What you mean – I’m 99% certain – is that *obvious* and/or badly-applied make-up is bad.


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