I paused to have a cigarette, leaning on a wall in Worthing, and as often happens, my attention was caught by the people that passed by. To be honest, it was primarily the women that passed me which stole my attention. To be more precise, it was a variety of small physical nuances exhibited by some of those women, a way of moving, the curve of a profile, a particular hairstyle , a confident smile, or eyes to die for.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the type that sets out to ogle complete strangers, I could say that I don’t make a habit of it, and my friends and my wife would probably agree. I sometimes wonder if the world would be a better place if half of its population didn’t feel under visual attack from the other half, but then remember that it takes two to tango, as they say. I am aware of the dilemmas that we all face in the minefield that is sexual politics, especially that of being a reasonable co-human on the one hand, and a risky mystery on the other. I usually find myself taking refuge in wondering how it all works, rather than letting that force of nature which makes men the world over consider fucking every woman that they see, take hold.
On this particular day I remembered something that a friend had said years ago, to the effect of “I used to go to bed and feel good, then someone told me that it was all to do with women and sex, now I can’t feel good in bed without a woman”. I have always liked that statement, it kind of sums up the conflict between the sheer naiveté of sexual attraction and the stuff that we learn to sanction our behaviour, and it usually reminds me that it is OK to find women distractingly beautiful, without having to do anything about it, just as I would with a particularly gorgeous sunset, or a fabulous landscape.
That bit about “having to do something about it” suddenly provoked one of those minor epiphanies, a sentence formed on my lips and I found myself, before I even knew what I was saying, speaking out loud the words “males seek effortless sex while women seek the chase” I hope no-one heard me.
Following my previous line of thought it made immediate sense to me, even if it did sound a bit like 'men are from Mars women are from Venus', tumbling after it came a series of corollaries, much like a thought experiment. That simple sentence seemed to explain the male propensity for pornography (the ultimate in effortless sex), prostitution (sex with a distinctly known protocol, therefore no need to think) and multiple partners as a life choice (bail out when all gets too complex), while also giving an insight into why these things are often vilified by women as not being at all desirable.
Although my insight into what motivates women sexually is only second hand, it did seem to ring true with the emphasis on conversation, personality, social situation, atmosphere and ongoing dialogue that most women that I have known seem to rate fairly highly. It also made some sense of the fatal boredom that often visits long term couples.
Of course I soon realised that I was dealing with enormous generalisations, and that as a theory it probably is as useful as a boil on your bum, but at least it stopped me from actually telling the girl that was walking past that I would happily drown in her eyes.
But then I doubt that I really would have anyway.