Law of Attraction

They sit to my right on a the banquette at one of this town’s fancier eating establishments. I notice her first because she’s somewhat pretty, and because she leans into the table with an attitude of rapt interest in what her date says. They’re clearly on a date. I don’t know how i can tell […]

They sit to my right on a the banquette at one of this town’s fancier eating establishments.

I notice her first because she’s somewhat pretty, and because she leans into the table with an attitude of rapt interest in what her date says.

They’re clearly on a date. I don’t know how i can tell this, because I can’t hear what they’re saying, but it’s clear. Something in the way they’re dressed, maybe, or the body language that says pre-mating dance.

She’s slender, long dark hair covering maybe a bit too much of her angular-but-pretty features. She’s wearing some sort of casual-but-nice top, I’m not sure what sort, the sort of thing you’d put on when you’re dressing up but don’t want to over-do your date attire.

But what catches my attention isn’t what she’s got on above the waist. Below, she’s in jeans; neat, dark, new, not levis, some fancier brand. But since I’m on the banquette, and she’s leaning forward, i can also see her underwear peeking out of the top of her jeans.

Now, there are certainly plenty of cases where lovely young ladies choose to leave a peek of panty over the top of jeans. But this doesn’t have that look to it. This looks like a case of tight, low cut jeans, and a pair of panties that are riding up. I bet she doesn’t know, or that she figures it doesn’t matter; her date can’t seem them.

Date underwear.


These are not, I’m thinking, what this girl would wear under her fashion jeans and demure top. Not to work on a thursday, not to go shop. No, these are something she picked out when she dressed for a date.

What I see, on the pale curve of her slender hip, is a wisp of black lace, a tiny string, riding far up enough that i can clearly see the small, decorative flower, or butterfly, or whatever it is, that joints three ribbons into a T. And I can see the tiny vertical ribbon plunge down into the top of her jeans, a good inch of ribbon visible.

I mentally trace the ribbon down, vaguely picturing tasting her. Not because I’m finding her terribly attractive, but because that’s what a pair of underwear like this do. They are a visual amuse bouche; they please the senses and whet the appetite.

I imagine her dressing; choosing an outfit that wasn’t too fancy, wasn’t too slutty. She wants to make a good impression, be neat and tidy, pretty, sexy but not cheap or easy. I can see her choosing jeans, since it’s a chilly, rainy day, and because jeans put a little barrier, both physically and mentally, between her date and, so to speak, the prize.

Yet, there are those panties. Those are not something you put on if no one’s going to see them. So I can imagine her thinking, what if this date goes beyond dinner. She took a moment and thought about her date, and imagined him unwrapping her christmas package. She took a moment to think how to wrap it for him.

I like this image. I find myself imagining being on this date with with this girl, about chatting with her, buying her dinner, enjoying fine wine, and then later, kissing her, wondering if this is a goodnight, or a hello. I imagine un-fastening her jeans, and finding something far less demure than expected, and thinking, you thought about this when you got dressed.

Of course, when I look at the man i see her attention lavished upon, her body language saying yes to, the man for whom she chose this tiny black ribbon with which to decorate herself, i think, no, she would not have wrapped herself so for me.

Slender, short; he has a haircut he thinks is stylish, and for which I suspect he spent far too much. Gold-rimmed glasses, on which I’d expect to find a designer’s name. He’s wearing a red sweater, with some sort of vague holiday theme; though not worn with any evident sense of irony. I can’t see what he’s got on below the waist, but I’m guessing khaki, and some sort of moderately stylish shoes.

He sports a small, neatly trimmed goatee; I do not see him smile, though he’s speaking to his date, swirling wine is his glass. I can’t tell if he’s trying to impress her with his coolness, or if he’s just somewhat short on personality, or if he isn’t sharing her level of attraction.

I look at him, and think whatever, and then i look at her, her fingers touching the rim of her wine glass, playing with her hair, touching her face. I look at how she sits leaned forward. I can read the body language from here. And I look at that pretty-present wrapping showing above her jeans.

I wonder, what it is that makes us tick. I can’t even figure out why I’m interested in her, nor why I feel a vague dislike for him.


She isn’t pretty. She’s not quite ugly, but she’s sure not pretty.

She’s too damned young, and she’s either having a bit of residual teenage acne or she’s got a meth problem. She has two or three piercings in her lip, which would be sexy, if not for the unfortunate scatter of red blotching on her cheeks.

She’s covered, where I can see skin, with a bizarre array of small tattoos, some of which look like Tim Burton drawings – oyster boy or some such oddity – some of which just have a vague horror movie feel, and some of which look like crude kids drawings. They are not bad tattoos, but they’re in odd places and at odd angles. A small face peeking over the edge of her incredibly-low jeans, a tiny spider web with a heart caught in it behind her ear, a weird half of a battle ship on her arm. A swarm of what look like bats but which are in fact cat heads with bat wings swirling up out of her jeans, across her hip, and into her shorty t-shirt. Some word I can’t make out in the small of her back.

She’s so fuckin’ emo it hurts.

She’s a fleshy girl, with a round little belly and meaty hips. Not fat; she’s really pretty small. But she’s lush, with a baby-fat look, too much junk food and beer. She may be too young to be drinking beer, but no one at the party is stopping her. I would bet she’s about eighteen, though that could go two or even three years in either direction.

Her pants are so much too tight that the fat on her hips is squeezed out into jelly rolls over the tops of her jeans. She’s made that classic error of thinking, i can fasten it, so it fits me. This has the effect of making her look like a gothy little fat girl, when really she’s just a lush little thing in ill-fitting clothes; one of the victims of the current trend to much-too-small clothing. A look that works brilliantly well for some bodies is a cruel trick on others. Her body would look good, maybe great, if she were naked. But as it is she’s molded into a weird shape.

Her hair’s coal black and coarse. Clearly colored way too many times. I know what it’d feel like, from my own years of bleach, dye, bleach, chop-it-all-off, start again, bleach, color. Black covers up many sins but it doesn’t fix the crunchy-fried texture of hair that’s been abused that many times.

I can’t stop looking at her. Her jeans hang so low in the front it’s clear she’s shaved; she keeps trying to hitch them up but there’s no way they can go any higher because of the jelly rolls on her hips. And I’m ok with that, looking at the tattoos on lower belly.

She looks like she needs to get taken home and washed. And possibly spanked.

For some reason, i find this girl devastatingly attractive. And I have no idea why. There’s almost nothing about her that works, not this ill-fitting clothes, not the well-intentioned but poorly rendered tattoos. Not the abused hair or the facial piercings or the skin that really needs help.

She has no sense of shyness about her; she’s comfortable in her skin. Blissfully unaware that her entire package isn’t working, which sort of makes it all work.

She looks like a damned street person, though she’s clearly at this party with family; she’s some suburban girl who’s doing the hot topic punk-emo-girl thing but hasn’t got the fashion sense to know what works on her.

And for some reason I have a crush on on her.


Attraction is a very odd thing. There’s some chemical in the brain that is released, and it has many triggers. Some are easy to understand; we all have keys, power, health, good smells. We respond to trappings because we’re trained to do so (bikini=sexy, even if we see a bikini with no girl in it). There are people out there that are almost universally attractive to all of us; the George Cloonys, the Salma Hayeks, the Marilyn Monroes, the Paul Newmans. People who push mating buttons almost universally.

What’s funnier are the edge cases. Why do people find Woody Allen sexy? Why do people find Steve Buscemi sexy? Why do people find Patti Smith or Exene Cervenka sexy?

God knows I have no idea. All I know is, funny things push my buttons. Sometimes I know exactly why; sometimes it’s a mystery.

9 thoughts on “Law of Attraction”

  1. I would have had a crush on the second girl, too. It’s exactly because “there’s almost nothing about her that works.” It’s that discomfort of someone trying desperately to make herself INTO something diferent, something she wants, but she doesn’t even know what right looks like for her, so she’s trying too hard, in all the wrong ways. My heart flies to these people instantly, and I want to kiss them till they feel good. I guess probably because I wish someone had ever seen that in me and done that for me. Though that’s hard to admit, and I almost just erased that line.

    Anyway, I’ve always preferred “sexy ugly” to stereotypically beautiful. I lust after everyone on the second list except Woody Allen, who creeps me out on many levels. On the top list, while I can appreciate those others, only Newman might hold my interest. And I like him better older. In his early films, he did nothing for me.

    (Watch “Kissing Jessica Stein” if you don’t get the “sexy ugly” reference.)

  2. Oh, and re the pretty panties thing…that girl dresses like I tend to on a date. Not that i always wear jeans, but trying to achieve that balance you described. I can’t speak for all women, but I know in my case I actually *do* sometimes wear that kind of underwear even if I’ve planned for the guy not to see it. Knowing it’s there helps me somehow. Reminds me what’s inside, what he doesn’t know yet. It’s a confidence booster and it helps you feel sexy and confident, whether *he* sees it or not.

    But that’s just me.

  3. I’m a long-time married woman but I do love and do wear sexy undies. I just like how it looks and how it makes me feel. I think alot of women wear sexy underwear for themselves and, if their man likes it too, all the better. Sadly, I don’t think mine even notices.

  4. You know, the attraction thing amazes me. I can be attracted to a brain far more than a look. Will the look put me off? Possibly, if i find myself having a shallow moment.

    But i love that you afforded me a glimpse into a guy’s head. Thanks for that, Karl.

    BTW, this line in particular resonated with me: “They are a visual amuse bouche; they please the senses and whet the appetite.” You have such a great turn of phrase.

    Happy holidays, sexy man.

    Juno x

  5. I’ve had the experience of unwrapping a date and finding that she’d worn special underwear for the occasion. It’s always a nice treat.

    And I love crunchy-fried hair. Once I was a the Mitchell Bros theater in SF and got a lap dance from a girl with a fried bleach-blonde buzzcut. All I wanted to do was nuzzle her hair and feel its strawlike texture.

  6. Unwrapping someone… What a great phrase. When you never quite knew what they were thinking as they got ready to see you. Somehow that is something I will always remember from now on. And special underwear can have so many uses. Or the surprise of none at all as well…

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