the attraction of youth

There is, one can imagine very few among us that are attracted to creepy, old wrinkled flesh. What is the attraction of youth. The quest for the younger mate. Is attraction to beauty built into our psychological makeup? That volatile mix of desire, illusion and chemistry. And for some reason men appear more drawn to youth and beauty; something beyond ego-driven advertising messages and a wish to control the opposite sex in a power dynamic. To some psychologists who mix their expertise while dabbling in human evolution, it may be a universal impulse derived from evolutionary pressure for success in the reproductive department. Obviously, what is termed a “natural” attraction can run off the rails into some very dark zones. There are no shortage of Roman Polanski types.

Tony Curtis.---The persona theory maintains that an important factor in mate selection is the way a potential suitor enhances our self-esteem. Each of us has a mask, a persona, which is the face that we show to other people. The persona theory suggests that we select a mate who will enhance this self-image. The operative question here is: “What will it do to my sense of self if I am seen with this person?”--- Read More: image:

There is a certain  indignity when  our attractiveness to the opposite sex is strained and reduced to our breeding and food/money-gathering potential. But,  there is plausible validity to this theory. Definitely,  a woman’s youth and  appearance with a man’s power and  status play important factors in mate selection; In addition to  the so called exchange theory and its complementary, the persona theory.

Ruth Orkin, An American Girl in Italy,1951. ---...In summary, universal sex differences occurred in precisely those domains predicted to involve sexlinked adaptive problems, notably the selection of mates who have the ability to invest resources (women prefer more than men) and mates who display cues to youth and beauty, known signals of fertility (men prefer more than women). Despite these universal sex differences, most mate preferences...Read More: image:

( From Ines Ortega ) South American progressive writers such as Argentines Silvina Bullrich was one of the first to take Simone de Beauvoir theories and reformulate and reflect on some of the themes within the novel form. The narrative form, sometimes based on the notion of colnial subjection showed the precarity of the woman often in a perpetual and disheartening state of monetary and psychological dependence even among housewives of the upper classes. Bullrich invented the term “it’s majesty desire” and when this set of the majestic is present in both members of a couple, there establishes a form of legitimacy; without legitimacy its prostitution among other degrading associations.

Inevitably, Freud has to enter the bedroom with his premise of the human psyche theory of primary bisexuality. It poses the question of how can the male release passive libidinal impulses and avoiding dipping the toe into homosexual taboos. Bullrich, from what I gathered, has remarked about these wrenching vassal relationships. That is male hierarchy, top-down , regimented, pecking order structures such as corporate, military, and even religious orders which in sum, permit the articulation of passive drives such as blind faith, obedience and willingness to be controlled within a male-centric framework without the overtness of homosexual behavior. At least ostensibly since the human erotic charge positive/negative does short circuit from time to time.

Whether these greatly disparate age relationships such as the George Sorsos/Adriana Ferreyr public spat permit a jumping of the fence- or the shark- into uncharted waters is something rarely studied but makes some intuitive sense as a mutual form of escapism but to where is anyone’s guess; either into the zone of the Marquis de Sade, the ozone boxes of Wilhelm Reich or some rudimentary trans-humanism of Kurzweil. Who knows.

Rudens. Self Portrait with Isabella Brant.--Harville Hendrix:Men are drawn to classically beautiful women—ones with clear skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, good bone structure, red lips, and rosy cheeks—not because of fad or fashion but because these qualities indicate youth and robust health, signs that a woman is in the peak of her childbearing years. Women select mates for slightly different biological reasons. Because youth and physical health aren’t essential to the male reproductive role, women instinctively favor mates with pronounced “alpha” qualities, the ability to dominate other males and bring home more than their share of the kill. The assumption is that male dominance ensures the survival of the family group more than youth or beauty. Thus a fifty-year-old chairman of the board—the human equivalent of the silver-backed male gorilla—is as attractive to women as a young, handsome, virile, but less successful male. Read More: image:

Oscar Wilde asserted that the  first principle of aestheticism,  is the now worn down argument that art serves no other purpose than to offer beauty. In  Dorian Gray, beauty predominates, in that Wilde uses it to revitalize the wearied senses and as a means  of escaping the jagged reality of the world. Hence Dorion becomes obsessed with beautiful things.  Evidently, Wilde was correct in perceiving that in a society that exalts beauty almost as a core value, youth and physical attractiveness are valuable commodities. Like Dorion Gray, many if given the opportunity would give their soul for doses of youth.
The Superficial Nature of Society

---"But I'm glad you appreciate me. I was more than just a guy who had two girls a day." ...Curtis will always be associated most with the cross-dressing Billy Wilder masterpiece Some Like It Hot, which co-starred Marilyn Monroe. After filming that, he said, on being asked what it was like to kiss Monroe: "It was like kissing Hitler." This sentence has become part of movie lore. Today, he says: "I said it as a joke. I mean, it was such a darn stupid question, so I gave a stupid answer." ...He was married six times, starting with actress Janet Leigh in a union he later admitted was partially motivated by publicity value. After divorcing Leigh, he married Christine Kaufman, who was 17 when they met while filming Taras Bulba. Curtis was once quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t be seen dead with a woman old enough to be my wife.” His sixth wife, Jill Vandenberg, was 45 years younger than Curtis. Read More: image:

Whether this is the superficial nature of society is a value judgement. But, a society that prizes beauty above all can be seen as  a society founded on a love of surfaces.Which like Dorion and his rather tony company, the quest for the handsome seduces one into the macabre workings involved in the realization of a type where desire is conflated with freedom; a freedom to discard morals without risk of censure. Its a powerful dynamic, one in which marketers to men manipulate through endowing products with an aura that

tes the desire with that of substituting for a young mistress.  …

A behavioral study confirmed this large sex difference (Clarke & Hatfield, 1989). Men and women experimenters approached total strangers on a college campus, and said »Hi, I’ve been noticing you around campus, and I find you very attractive.« Then they asked one of three questions: Would you go out on a date with me? Would you go back to my apartment with me? Would you have sex with me? The experimenters recorded the percentage who agreed to each request, and also any verbal comments they made….

---By Jennifer Leckstrom The last thing I expected from my senior year high school internship was to fall for an older man. I was looking to learn about the TV news business. I wasn't interested in finding romance and I certainly wasn't after a husband. But when I met Tom our connection was immediate. I was 17; he was 42—old enough to be my father (though my real dad was 59 at the time). But the significant age difference didn't impede the attraction either of us felt. It was easy to forget about the 25 years that separating us while I was busy daydreaming about Tom's deep voice, hearing about his crazy, drug-fueled life in the 70's, and seeing the authority and respect he commanded wherever he went. Like an ice cube that's rubbed down my back, our age difference seemed to melt away....Read More: image:

…Of the women approached by the male experimenters, 50% agreed to go out on a date with him; 6% agreed to go back to his apartment; and 0% agreed to have sex. Some women who were asked for sex were insulted, and some thought is bizarre.
Of the men approached by the female experimenters, 50% agreed to go out on a date, similar to the women’s responses. However, 69% agreed to go back to her apartment. And 75% agreed to have sex with her. Of the men who declined the sexual request, some were apologetic, citing a prior commitment with parents of a fiancé. These sex differences
have been replicated in subsequent studies (see Buss, 2000, for a summary).

In summary, is quite apparent that men have evolved psychological mechanisms dedicated to solving the complex problems posed by success at short-term mating. These include a desire for sexual variety, the tendency to let little time elapse before seeking sexual intercourse, and the behavioral willingness to consent to sex with strangers. In addition,
men appear to lower their standards dramatically in the context of short-term mating (Buss & Schmitt, 1993); show a marked decrease in attraction to a sex partner immediately following sexual intercourse, perhaps to facilitate a hasty post-copulation departure (Haselton & Buss, 2001); report exaggerating the depth of their feelings to gain sexual
access (Buss, 1994); and report that they would have an extramarital affair if they knew that no one would find out (for reviews of this evidence, see Schmitt et al., 2001).

…Women’s Short-Term Mating Strategies Although the empirical evidence is clear that men, far more than women, have a great desire for a variety of sex partners, there is a problem – men could never have evolved such a desire in the absence of willing women (barring deception or forced intercourse). Indeed, mathematically, the mean number of sex partners for men and women must be identical, assuming an equal sex ratio in the population. Ever time a man has sex with a woman whom he has not previously had sex, a woman is simultaneously having sex with a man with whom she has never had sex.

Picasso and Francoise Gilot. Photo Robert Capa. Rick Salutin:The appeal of Jesus lies precisely in the blemishes: that He was born illegitimate (leaving aside the myth of virgin birth); associated with thieves and prostitutes; was scorned by the reputable; and brutally executed in public. What kind of messiah (or icon) does that make? A great one. His resurrection may have been invoked (or invented) to counter scoffers, but the basis for identification was His suffering and failure. "You can't have a symbol with syphilis," says Mr. Service, "it would be seen as if all the theories of socialism and communism were based on a syphilitic." Yes you can -- and all the theories of Christianity are based on a bastard and a loser. This could turn Lenin into an icon. Is it tawdry to insert sex into such a momentous context? Depends on what role you allot to sex, especially in boundary situations. In his novel on the Rwandan slaughter, A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, Quebec journalist Gil Courtemanche has his characters utterly absorbed with sex. On the Open Book TV show, some panelists objected, even wondering whether it was racist. For my money, the author justifies the stress on sex. "Look," says one figure, "for people who're going to be dead soon, we're not doing too badly." But let me give the last word to Lenin's loutish successor, Nikita Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union 34 years later. On a U.S. trip, he was taken to the Grand Canyon. A translator asked what it made him think of. "It makes me think of sex," said Khrushchev, who had lots to ponder --Cold War, nuclear incineration, his own ouster -- "everything makes me think about sex." Read More: image:

Perhaps because the evolutionary logic for men having evolved a strong desire for sexual variety is so clear – namely, an increase in direct reproductive output – the evolutionary logic for women having evolved a short-term mating psychology has been relatively neglected.Read More:

This entry was posted in Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Marketing/Advertising/Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *