Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Was It About Your Significant Other That Grabbed You?

When I work with couples, I always find it interesting when they tell me what it was that first attracted them to each other. For some, it was a physical feature (e.g., legs, hands, back), for others it was a personality characteristic (funny, witty, charming, secure), and for others it was an attribute such as success, power, popularity, talent, etc.

For many years, research investigating the relationship between body build and personality stereotypes found that the mesomorphic build was attributed positive qualities while the endomorph and ectomorph were assigned negative qualities by both males and females. More recent research, however, has revealed a potential shift in body build preferences as standards of physical attractiveness. For example, contrary to earlier research, females have been found to exhibit a strong personal preference for the ectomorphic look and males to prefer ectomorphic looking females.

In my contemporary romance novels, the beginning banter and dance between the heroine and the hero include “those things that grab (him or her).” And as many of you know, I also include humor along the way. For example, in my novel, Fear of Feeling Loved, one Sunday evening Marcia is talking on the phone with her favorite aunt, Aunt Betty. While discussing some of her concerns regarding Jack, her new boyfriend, Marcia asks Aunt Betty, “So, old wise one, any pearls of wisdom I need to hear?” With a touch of humor yet spiced with some truisms, here’s the rest of their conversation:

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Here are the five secrets to having a great relationship,” Aunt Betty began. “One – find a man who is buff, tall, dark and handsome. Two – find a man who has a good job, makes a lot of money, and wants to spend it on you. Three – find a man who is gentle, caring, sensitive, and a good listener. Four – find a man who is great in bed, for hours at a time. And five – don’t ever let them find out about each other.”

“Oh Aunt Betty, that’s good!” Marcia said through a hand clamped over her mouth.

“Thanks. I always have enjoyed a good laugh. It’s good for the soul.”

“Oh yeah.”

“And I hope you heard me too?”


“Well… I’m reminded of a metaphor. It really doesn’t matter if your man’s package is a piccolo, a clarinet, or an oboe.”

“Okay. I’m with ya.”

“It’s not the size of the instrument, Marcia. It’s the sound of the music.”

“And if you’re lucky, he’s an orchestra.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Question: What was it that grabbed you when you first met your significant other?



Susan Hatler said...

The first thing that grabbed me about my hubby? He made me laugh.

BTW, I LOVE this quote . . . “It’s not the size of the instrument, Marcia. It’s the sound of the music.”

Susan Hatler said...

PS What first grabbed you about your wife? Share! ;)

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Susan,
Thanks for the visit and gracious comment about that quote. (There's an equally humorous one -- "It's not the size of the boat -- it's the motion of the ocean.")
I suspect your hubby still makes you laugh.
I've been married and divorced twice. In both situations, the first grabbers were physical (legs and buns), but the biggest grabber was the way they attended to me. Interestingly, that's consistent with the survey research -- people tend to first be attracted to physical attributes, then personality and interaction attributes.
Hope you're still laughing (and are for years to come),