This entry will focus on how masculine gendered male's use initial physical attraction to determine what could be future relationships with women.
It's pretty well known that when men are looking for a partner, initial physical attraction is important. However, it's not so commonly known that this initial attraction is usually a deciding factor in friendship with a woman as well. It's unlikely that a man will see a woman he is not attracted to physically and want to initiate a conversation with her, which could lead to a possible friendship.
The Rule of Initial Attraction
In social settings, such as a bar/restaurant or college courtyard, we see the rule of initial attraction applied in full force. The Rule of Initial Attraction says that if a woman you don't know is not physically attractive then you should not speak with her unless you have to. An example of having to speak with an unattractive women would be a situation where you asked to borrow their phone to call 911 because your best friend is choking on a hot wing or something. So by this rule, men should not have any female friends that they find unattractive.
Hey! Sometimes I see men with unattractive female friends!
Keep in mind that not all men are attractive to what is stereo-typically defined and depicted as beautiful in our culture. With that being said, there are still men who have female friends that they found unattractive initially. How does this happen? The answer to that question is unfortunately and shockingly simple. They are forced into the friendship. It's a slow process that can take a lot of time. These forced friendships usually take place in work or school environments where a male and female are forced to be around each other for a repeated and extended period of time. To exemplify this, imagine your job. Think of who your "work friends" are. Are these all people you would have had friendships with had you not worked with them for all this time? Probably not. When men have to work with a woman they find unattractive initially it's possible they will become friends, simply because they have been stuck working with each other and just begin to naturally converse out of boredom. In some cases the male can even overcome his inability to be physically attracted and end up forming intimate relationships through this process, becoming attracted to the female for something other than physical appearance.
Does this mean my male friends are not really friends?
Well perhaps, but not because of the rules of initial attraction. Your male friends that you have slowly formed bonds of friendship with are most likely legit. Although they may not find you physically attractive, the friendship is a true relationship that you have formed together.
Don't women do that to?
Yes, but it's not as extreme. Of course women look at men and recognize if they are attractive or not, but men are the ones who take it to the next level and keep in mind this entry is focusing on mostly friendship.
Of course if you are a man and you initiate a conversation with a woman by hitting on her, she will most likely not want to keep talking to you if she finds you unattractive or if she just doesn't like being approached by aggressive men. I have personally found that almost any woman I approach will talk to me in a friendly manner as long as I initiate the conversation in a mutually friendly manner. Men however will not do this. There are two main reasons why a man will quickly dismiss a woman who initiates conversation with him.
The first reason is that he simply does not want to talk to an unattractive woman, when he could be talking to his friends or another woman whom he does find attractive. The other reason, which is usually more the case, is that men fear that talking with an unattractive woman will lead her on to believe that he may be interested. Because men socialized to be "protectors" of women, they feel that they are protecting her feelings by not even becoming involved with the woman at all, in attempts to avoid hurting her feelings in the future by having to say something like "Listen I think you're cool and everything but I just don't see you like that". That's peoples way of saying I'm not interested in you, and a man's way of saying I don't think you are pretty. You must also keep in mind that this situation may no apply in the off chance that it's happening in one of the previously mention controlled environments like work or school. A situation where the man is not interested and he has even surpassed the rule of initial attraction.
How Bad is it really?
To narrow it down, men won't even pay you a compliment unless they would have sex with you. Women will pay you an innocent compliment like "cool hair", "I like that shirt", or even "I like your bumper stickers", and it can be totally platonic without them being attracted to you physically. Men will not do this, and it's for the same to reasons that a man won't talk to an unattractive woman that I mentioned in the last section. Keep in mind that the deciding question for a man to determine if a woman is attractive, is simply the question if he would engage in sexual intercourse with her or not. That's right, it's true. I know you don't want to believe me but that is simply just how masculine gendered males have been socialized to be. So when some man you don't know walks up and pays you an innocent compliment, remember the thought process that led him into speaking with you in the first place.
The good news is that by pointing these things out and naming them, we can dismantle these sexist practices through our educations.
Originally posted on DSOM.