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My Rules of Attraction

A couple of days ago, Lucky Girl wrote a very smart post called My Rules of Attraction.  Her basic premise is that physical is important.  Not the most important thing, but very important.  Here’s how she sums it up:

“I think my point is that I can not think of an instance where I willingly compromised what I want in a partner because he was hot. But I can name a number of instances where I willingly compromised my physical attraction in hopes that the other stuff was enough.  It wasn’t.  And I learned my lesson.  I need and deserve both.  We all do.”

Smart chick, right!

Reading this made me think of a poll I did a long while ago.  I was less eloquent than :

First dates.  Let’s face it, they’re weird.  You get together with someone you don’t know (in my case, usually over drinks) to hang out/talk/get to know each other a little bit while you’re each thinking the same thing:  Is this someone I want to have sex with?

Because, really, that’s what chemistry is.  At it’s most basic level.  And that’s the main thing most of us check for on first dates.  Chemistry.  Do I or don’t I want to fuck this person?  Maybe not tonight (probably not tonight, if I want there to be future dates…) but eventually.

Sure, there are other things we check for too.  I have my laundry list (kindness, a great dad if he has kids, smart as hell…).  We all have our laundry lists.  But without chemisty I find it hard to get excited about seeing a guy again.

Which doesnt mean I won’t accept a second date if there’s no chemistry on the first.  Sometimes I do.  And I’m not sure why.  Or if this is a good thing.  Really, I’m pretty damn confused about it…

Anyway, I was kind of surprised by the results the last time I asked this question.  Let’s see how things shake out this year.

What do you think? Is chemistry always there from the very start, or can it blossom and bloom after two people meet?

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31 to “My Rules of Attraction”

  1. Fishy says:

    I voted for option two…

  2. LV says:

    IF the person seems really great (smart, interesting, considerate), but there’s no chemistry, I might try to give them another chance, hoping that chemistry will develop.

    HOWEVER… offhand, I can’t think of any cases where that has actually happened to me (ie, chemistry developed later)…. will have to dig deep into the archives!

  3. Lucky Girl says:

    First of all, Simone, thank you so much for the shout out and the kind words. My post inspired a lot of dialogue and response, including a retweet from Evan Marc Katz saying “How to ensure with a 99% certainty that you don”t get married” followed by a link to my post. A subsequent exchange with him revealed that he misinterpreted the point of my post, believing that I was looking for 10+ chemistry/attraction where, as a dating coach, he advises clients to be willing to consider an attraction level of, say, 7 with 10+ compatibility and kindness. Turns out we’re in agreement – and what I’d said was that if I couldn’t find something to be attracted to in a prospective date’s worst photo, that it was unlikely that I would in person. I think that’s a pretty forgiving and realistic perspective, and to date it’s the best method of have of filtering through more options than I have time to meet.

    Anyway, my response above continues to be “I don’t know” because I haven’t experienced chemistry developing despite the fact that I want to believe it can.

    Which brings me to my question (hope it’s ok that I’m soliciting your advice here on your page…). I had a date with one such guy nearly two months ago. One who’s photos didn’t jump at me, but didn’t repel me either. And when I first arrived, I wasn’t particularly excited. But over conversation, I came to think, “This is a really interesting and good man. One that I should probably give a chance”. And then I had to go out of town and he then went out of town and more than a month passed. He recently reached out to me for a second date and I haven’t accepted yet because I can’t seem to connect to any interest or excitement on my part. Maybe this could be a perfect example of chemistry developing, but I seem to have dug my heels in and am motionless and don’t know what to make of it.

    I know that you can’t tell me what to do, but I’d be interested in knowing more about what you and your readers would do in this situation…

  4. I was just working on a post about a similar topic – you’ve inspired me to get off my butt and finish it! Because I’ve seen it both ways – there have been guys that I was ‘just friends’ with and then later became attracted to them, but with my current beau, what made my first date with him different than most of the other guys I’ve met online was definitely the chemistry. I think that meeting someone online is different though, and chemistry is a lot more important. I’ve dated a lot of guys where I didn’t feel much chemistry but they were nice/interesting/funny/etc. so I gave them second chances but when I think about those earlier guys, the ones I was friends with and then developed deeper feelings for, they were guys I knew from college and other situations where I wasn’t trying to figure out if I wanted to date them from the get-go. Not sure if that makes sense but the bottom line is that I DO think chemistry can develop when it isn’t there at the start but maybe it’s unlikely to develop when you meet someone online and are thinking about dating them from the beginning.

  5. I have vote for point number 2, I think also that Chemistry can develop between two people as they get to know one another.

  6. Ed says:

    Lets get something clear. Chemistry, in the context of this conversation, is really another word for Lust. We want to Lust for the person we are going to be with. If their is no Lust then we feel that their is no Chemistry with that person. So we make decisions everyday based on relationships based on what our nether regions tell us. Good quality men and women are sent packing because they do not inspire our inner animal. There is a saying, “don’t settle for the one you can live with, wait for the one you cannot live without.” Basically this statement is saying to put Passion above all else. Thats a mistake. Passion has a way of fading away over time, then what? Now the other way to look at Chemistry, as in the chemistry we have with good friends. Its not based on lust, but instead on a foundation of shared interests that we love to explore together. We love being with our friends. We get excited at the thought of hanging out with them. Notice how easily Joy can exist without Lust. Being happy in the long term with someone has everything to do with the type of Chemistry. Chemistry #1 (Lust) can be very short lived and many a relationship dies on the vine because the foundation relied to much on sex. Chemistry #2 (Friendship) is the most stable foundation for long term success in a relationship. Lust is quick. Lust is temporary ( eventually someone new will be needed to wet the appetite when the sex gets boring) Friendship takes time. A quality friendship built over time can last a lifetime. So what exactly was my point? Hmmm. I for one plan on settling for the one I can live with. I understand all to well what Passion does to the brain and my decision making abilities. Basically, if you want brief intense affairs, stick with Chemsitry #1, but if you want to get married and have children, you need the stability offered by Chemistry #2. It is very possible to get both, but its vitally important, to your results, which one you make a priority.

    Dear Lucky Girl, is your calendar so full that another date with this “good man” would be an inconvenience? Be honest with him. Tell him you felt no sparks. Now ask yourself which Chemistry are you basing this decision on? I say, if he still insists on a second date after you tell him you felt no sparks, it shows he has confidence and he really likes you ( or really wants to get into your pants) Either way, is there really any harm in enjoying a second date with a “good man?”

    • artfortam says:

      I tried Chemsitry #2 and I lost a great friend. Someone that I loved dearly as only a “friend”. We spent a lot of time together, it was a joy hanging out with him. All was great till he begin pursuing the notion of us being an item. I refused. He knew the truth, I wasn’t attracted to him as a man. Very important, I didn’t see myself having sex with him. How shallow of me?

      One day, I thought to myself, “here’s this great guy offering me his love…he’s established…he has the biggest heart…is family oriented…in his eyes I’m the most beautiful woman!!!…”, and the list went on and on. Who was I to deny him “deserved” love & affection?? Many people advised me on how the “lust” fades away and is short lived and how true conversation and friendship is what makes a solid relationship…blah, blah, blah.

      After a year of not giving in, I decided to go for it. “Hey, maybe I can fall in love with him somewhere along the way?”. Mistake, mistake, mistake!!!

      Intimacy was empty for me and I know he sensed it. That became the root of all our arguments. Things changed completely. Our fun days where replaced by a mix of emotional silence and talks to work things out…sad. We didn’t make it to our first year anniversary. Off and on relationship trend began for the next 4 years, with each comeback doing away with more and more of the magic our friendship once held.

      We called it quits in early March, 2010 and haven’t spoken since. I don’t miss what we had or the thought of what we could have had. I finally let go of the guilt of knowing that if only, somewhere along the way, I could have fallen in love with him, things would’ve been completely different.

      For me, if I don’t feel that attraction early on, I will not pursue it. You can’t make yourself feel something you don’t…it’s either there or it isn’t.

  7. KB IN NYC says:

    The “attraction” question is such a good -and tricky! – one. In my experience, I always tend to find myself attracted to men who kind of blindside me. By that I mean they just don’t fit any of the preconceived ideas about what ‘kind’ of men I like, but something just ‘feels right’.

    On the other hand, I can meet a great guy and no matter how ‘perfect’ he may seem there is just no…..spark. And probably never will be. And I certainly don’t believe in flogging a dead horse.

    Lust is lovely, but REAL chemistry & connection takes time. At least in my humble opinion. XKB

  8. Sherell says:

    It happen with my late /ex husband. When I first met him I was not really interested. Then after a few phone conversations and subsequent dates BAM!!!!! There it was! I just enjoyed talking to him and I felt like I had known him much longer then a few weeks. I was so comfortable around him.

    Chemistry in my book is attraction plus the added connection, and comfortable feeling you get with someone. The sense that you can let go. Lust is very different in my opinion. I have met very attractive men that I had no chemistry with. I could appreciate their look but that was it.

  9. sandyvs says:

    I put ‘other’ because when I go out on one date with a man, I immediately feel attraction or not. Even though the man is smart, talented, witty, charming and a gentleman, if I don’t feel attraction for them, I won’t make a second date. The reason why I put other is because I became very close friends with a man that I was not physically attracted to at all. Long story short, I did end up sleeping with him and I found out I could have ‘awesome’ sex with someone that I was not attracted to. Go figure!
    Lucky Girl, stop all the angst and just go out with him again. You had fun, you enjoyed his company and no one expects anything after 2 dates.

  10. Suzanne says:

    Okya, this is getting really specific. But, if the chemistry isn’t there by the second date, then there is no hope. The first date is always wierd. But, I disagree that chemistry can grow over time, meaning months. The second date is the real game-changer.

  11. Simone Grant says:

    Wow some really, um, strong feelings here.

    First, since Lucky Girl asked me for my opinion on her situation…
    I went out with a man I called Mr. Perfect on Paper a couple of weeks ago. He is very (conventionally attractive), we have lots in common and we had plenty of fun on our date. And, as I wrote at the time, we had NO CHEMISTRY. I don’t see chemistry as lust, btw. I think of it as something a bit more complex than that.

    Anyway, he asked me on another date and I said yes. We’re seeing each other on Friday night. But I’ve been down this road before. I’ve dated men for months with whom I had no chemistry and it ALWAYS ends poorly. I’ve never had it develop over time. But there’s always a first time. And maybe this will be the first time.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’m trying to keep myself open to the possibility that chemistry could spark between us. But if it doesn’t soon, then I’ll pull the plug.

    Quirkyeconomist made an interesting point about how things tend to be different in the context of online dating. I’d agree with that. But then, I doubt that I’d accepted a date with Mr. Perfect on Paper if we met at a local bar, because I just don’t feel that zing with him. And I want to feel some kind of zing, some tug of attraction (which usually has little to do with facial features, height, hair color/baldness…).

  12. Lucky Girl says:

    Simone, my experience has not been far off from your own, and I also think that quirky economist makes an interesting point.

    That said, Ed’s advice is incredibly sound, and exactly what I think I will do. So thank you all for taking the time to read of my dilemma and respond to it so thoughtfully!

  13. pups4me says:

    I voted for “other”, but as several others have noted, if there’s no spark by date #2, then it’s been my experience it’s not going to develop.

    I do not think chemistry=lust…it’s more complex than that. Sure, I need to be physically attracted to someone, but I also need to feel comfortable and a bit nervous (in the beginning) when I’m with him–if that makes sense. Comfortable in that I can be myself, but a little nervous because I’m excited to be with him and hope he feels the same way.

    I’ve definitely given guys the benefit of the doubt and accepted a second date if they are nice, kind, sincere, funny, etc.. but I don’t feel that immediate spark. Did I end up in serious relationships with any of these men–no.

    However, I would be remiss if I didn’t say there are guys I’ve felt that initial spark with and after a few dates, or weeks, or months, it didn’t work out.

    Basically, I think there’s no simple or magic answer, which is probably a good thing because it forces us to continue to put ourselves out there.

  14. pansophy says:

    I voted for other…

    Chemistry is there instantly. Connection, and therefore attraction, can grow over time. But for my money the people we ultimately connect most deeply to are the ones we have chemistry with in the first place…

  15. I don’t know about girls but yeah..when it comes to having sex boys decide it from a first sight. May be chemistry is a different thing talk. Its a slow process and it will take time.

  16. Sandy says:

    I voted that chemistry can develop over time because, for me, it’s happened several times. After thinking about it, I realized that chemistry has only ever developed between me and a man I’m NOT dating. That is, I’ve never gone on a chemistry-less date and known it to spark up on date two, or date three, or date ten. I have known chemistry to spark up after several weeks (with a co-worker) or months (with friends, including my fiance who started as a friend with whom I assumed I had no physical chemistry, but enjoyed spending my time). I don’t know how to explain this other than maybe with some people chemistry needs time to sneak up without the pressure that comes with dating.

  17. Sherell says:

    I do not think you need to beata dead horse! After months and months, of no chemistry, no way! But definitely more than 1 or 2 dates is possible.

  18. Dazediva says:

    Loved this topic last year and loving it more again this year .. I wrote 2 posts inspired from this at the time and got some cool results out of it too .. when you get a chance – check them out

    Chemistry : Mental or Physical (

    The Type of Person You Are Attracted To (

    And I still voted Chemistry has to be there from the start.

  19. I used to think, it needs to be there from date 1, but I definitely know better now..
    I voted other, chemistry doesn’t need to be there from the first date, but should happen within the first 4 or 5 dates.. one guy who I am still not over, a year and half after the relationship ended (he’s the version of “M” in my life), when I first saw him, there was absolutely no chemistry at all, none what so ever…. but after a little while it just sky rocketed …oh my, I have never felt such sparks..

  20. Melanie says:

    I need some advice on that “spark” I have recently been in contact with my first love (28 years ago)We also had a Son together, he was never a part of our lives due to his alcohlism and my Son has not seen him in 25 years and has no need to) he tells me he gets butterflies in his stomach when he sees me – I don’t feel anything other than he a okay human being. I don’t call him back right away after he calls and he has been calling all the time, sometimes five times in an hour, I just let the machine pick it up. He is a nice guy and is now sober as he used to be a drunk. I’m not dating and have chose not to for the past 3 years due to family issues, I do feel like I want to date again – but, I have a way of sabotaging relationships too. Don’t you all think I should feel something for him? the thought of sex with him does nothing for me and I feel as if I would be settling if I were to get with him. Thanks for your input

  21. Flowersky says:

    I think chemistry can definitely develop over time and proximity.

    I always have secret crushes on the men i work with albeit never doing anything about it as they are all taken and married. The thing is if i were to ever see these men in public, i wouldnt even give them a second look let alone a first chance. I work in an industrial male dominated envrionment with some of the nicest but also extreamly successful and “manly” men by the way.

    Thing is, its seeing them and getting to know then, day in day out and sharing so much time together that makes me develop these crushes. So time does matter.

    In saying that, as much as i have tried to give the “nice” ones a go, i just can’t get there!

  22. Vendetta says:

    I voted other, because I don’t think that things are supposed to happen the way movies and how I use to think they did. I looked at how things have been in the past for me when I “just knew” it was right… well, lets just say, it never has worked out, and I didn’t really know anything. I am thinking now that the physical chemistry that happens right away isn’t such a good thing after all, at least not when you are looking for something more serious, and I am.

    I am in fact, trying not to have that “chemistry” right off the bat with anyone, it means things are moving too fast. I’d rather keep my wits about me and decide level headed if this is the right guy for me. If I keep the “chemistry” to a minimum, I can make that decision without the added hormones telling me “yes, you need to get laid, he’s the right one, just do it, who cares about what happens after… come on, go for it”. Yes, my hormones are a bit like a 12 yr. old’s friends and I give into the peer pressure every time.

    Now when I start to have the major fireworks going of right away, I take a step back and give it a little room to breathe.

  23. Oh I ALWAYS think about this and end up dating people way longer than I should because I keep thinking that attraction thing will happen (it HAS before!).

    Thanks for everyone’s comments too – I’m finding them very helpful!

    Butterfly kisses

  24. poonam says:

    although i had a great chemistry with my guy on the very first date but still i think that chemistry develops when u get to know each other..there is a great chemistry between two people when u can share laughs together n feel mushy about each other and your heart kinda takes a notch at his sexy moves..

  25. I voted for option two also. :)

    Read more about relationships and dating at LuvE(

    eula w

  26. i would like to support on the other point coz chemistry of soul is very rare concern

  27. I agree. I’ve always believed that physical attractions weighs as much as the attraction of the inner personality. Nice post and waiting forward for more of your great writings. :)

  28. This is not an easy one.But, if the chemistry is not there by the second date, then there is very little hope. The first date is always difficult and just serves for meeting and finding out if there is more to go on for the second date. But, I disagree that chemistry can grow over time, meaning several months. The second date is the real decision maker.
    Eddie Delgado recently posted..First Date Tips For Guys – Mistakes To Avoid (video)My Profile

  29. lm says:

    “I think my point is that I can not think of an instance where I willingly compromised what I want in a partner because he was hot.”

    Men will more frequently do this^^.

    “But I can name a number of instances where I willingly compromised my physical attraction in hopes that the other stuff was enough.”

    This is what women are expected to do. By men — almost forcibly — but also by women. And we are punished by society when we have a hard time doing it — or even worse, in society’s eyes, when we actively refuse to do it.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I have found, though, that beer does help … I met some one the other day and I just wasn’t sure … but after enough beers :-)
    But then … after that many beers, anything seems like a good idea, right?
    So back to your theory – I DO think its down to chemistry. But give it a chance too. Cate Blanchett said that the first time she met her husband, they loathed one another … so 2 or 3 chances. Might be worth it.
    Although what do I know?
    Still single and pretty clueless …
    Elizabeth recently posted..Make love, not warMy Profile

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