Have you ever caused a scene? An interpersonal scene? Well, welcome to ISI:Blogspot. That's "Interpersonal Scene Investigation." The relevance will be clear in a moment.
A big thank you for today's question goes out to Lizza, who maintains a blog called I Am Woman, See Me Blog!.
My posts over the last few days have been in response to serious questions from readers with significant stresses in their lives. Today is a little different, more of a "what if" scenario. A few days ago Lizza posted the following:
I haven't been watching TV lately, but last night I did some catching up (if you can call enjoying a trifecta of CSI re-runs catching up). They were all good, but the CSI:New York episode I saw was particularly interesting.
It went something like this. There was a woman working as a hostess in an upscale restaurant. She'd get the calling cards that male guests would leave in the restaurant's card bowl. Then she'd call them up anonymously and start the conversation with the line "My cat is in your garden." Many of the guys were intrigued by her approach and several of them ended up having phone sex with her. She never told them who she was or where she got their numbers; she'd call them a number of times over a span of weeks until they became obsessed with those calls. She agrees to meet one of them for some nookie -- and is found dead shortly after.
Some of this sounds strange to me. I do understand that a guy who has anonymous phone sex for a period of time might want to take it a step further, to meet her personally and have honest to goodness, real sex with her. But what if when he meets her for the first time he sees that she's actually butt-ugly, or that she has halitosis, or that she bears a strong resemblance to a purple female dinosaur? Would the fantasy that he's built up in his head about her over the weeks be strong enough to override her faults -- would he still go ahead with the tryst?
The idea that men can get turned on by anonymous conversations (even if it's sex talk) with women about whom they know nothing seems strange to me too. If I answer the phone and some male stranger feeds me a line like "My cat is in your garden," I'd hang up pronto. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus indeed.
I think I'll go ask Andrew what he thinks about this aspect of the difference between men and women. He's kind of like the Gil Grissom of interpersonal relations.
I don't think I've ever been compared to a TV star like that before. Hopefully I can live up to your apparent confidence.
I called the CSI:New York producer and you'll be happy to know he agreed with you. He had to acknowledge they dropped the ball with that particular show. An entire side to the investigation had not been addressed -- the interpersonal side. So I dipped into my operating budget and flew to New York. After all, no effort is too much when it comes to satisfying my Faithful Readers. The CSI cast members were most helpful, walking me through the crime scene and making it possible for me to reconstruct the interpersonal scene. By examining the spots where the hostess had been when she talked with those men, I was able to determine the angles she used and how her words impacted her targets. I also went back to the lab and mixed a few solutions to test the chemistry between them. I even interviewed a few of the survivors and, lo and behold, their psyches still bear telltale imprints from the verbal barbs she shot at them. It was all very illuminating.
Some parts of that situation sound strange to you? I have to tell you, Lizza, pretty much all of it sounds strange to me. What would possess a young woman to phone a series of strange men and try to initiate phone sex with them? Extreme loneliness? A streak of perversion where she got some sort of thrill from it? Or perhaps she had some more mundane motive, like wanting to put them in a position where she could blackmail them for money. Either way, I can't imagine that very many women would or could actually make those phone calls.
Your questions, though, have to do with the men. Let's start with the issue of whether a guy in full sexual conquest mode might go into emergency retreat if the girl turns out not to be attractive to him. First of all, I don't believe there is any such thing as an ugly girl. The perception of attractiveness is entirely a characteristic of the beholder (in this case the guy), not of the girl. I'm sure we all know people whom we personally do not find attractive, but they have a spouse so obviously someone else has a different perception. I believe everybody, and I mean literally everybody, is attractive to someone, usually a very large group of potential someones.
I know what you mean by your question, though. What is likely to happen when the guy arrives all charged up, only to meet someone to whom he is really, really not attracted? It is well known that willing sex partners are harder to come by for unattached men than they are for women, so I suspect some men would be undeterred. Others would find a (hopefully, but not necessarily, graceful) way to extricate themselves from the situation.
If you want to conduct an experiment to test my theory, simply drop by any bar about half an hour before closing time and have a look around. I bet you'll see a number of "experimental trials" underway, several of which are likely to end with two people hooking up who probably would not have found each other attractive a few hours (and several drinks) before.
I'm a little confused as to where you got your idea that guys might be attracted to purple dinosaurs. I polled several guys I know and less than thirty percent of them rated the image on the right as "hot." Maybe guys are a little different where you are from, in which case you should be extremely careful while you are out conducting that experiment.
Now, about the idea that guys might respond positively to an anonymous female caller. Personally, such a call would make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I would be off the phone in short order. Is it conceivable, though, that the CSI writers were correct -- that some guys would continue with the call? I suspect so. Guys are typically the hunters, not the hunted, so speaking with an anonymous female caller is nowhere near as threatening as it would be if the genders were reversed. Some guys would likely be weirded out and call it quits when she steered the conversation toward phone sex. A few of the more adventuresome sorts, though, would undoubtedly hang in there for the entire experience. The bottom line: some Martians would talk to the brazen Venusian, while others would pay attention to their bizarre-meter and bail out.
I hope that helps Lizza! Thanks for thinking of me.
All the best,
Today is the last day to take part in this week's Ask the Faithful Readers question. I will post my favorite response tomorrow and a new question on Saturday.