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Babe Magnets


Ken Bushnell

In this age of trashing WASP males for all the woes of society, I think we ought to step back a bit and consider the fate of the poor good looking guys who just can't seem to go anyplace without women hitting on them. Yes I know the problems of men must pall next to the plight of women, but in the interest of fairness I think we should consider the male's dilemma.

From my observations I think this quality in men is fairly rare. Most of us just don't have what women are interested in, at least not right away.

My first real encounter with this phenomenon occurred in my early teens when I attended the Boy Scout World Jamboree. There were two brothers of national athletic fame in our troop. They were sixteen or seventeen at the time. Both were built like Greek Gods, muscle bound, 'v' torso, with movie star good looks. I remember we were cooking dinner at our campsite one evening, when a horde of six or seven girls seemed to come out of nowhere. 
Considering the fact that there were several thousand guys at this affair, it amazed me to even see girls, much less consider how they found our campsite.

The rest of us sat around and watched as these girls were enthralled with the two brothers. You could tell the brothers had encountered this before. They were kind of smirking, like they didn't know what to do, embarrassed around their friends. Then one of the skinniest, boniest girls said something to one of the brothers that I'll never forget: "I want to have your baby." She said it half joking, but the intensity of her statement showed her intentions were sincere. 

It embarrassed everybody. Kind of a girl's version of being 'hung up on herself,' I guess. It shocked the rest of us who were younger and hadn't even started serious dating yet. I remember wondering to myself how the rest of us guys were ever going to get a girl if even the homeliest kept throwing themselves at the few guys around like this. Fortunately her comment put an end to their visit and they left.

My next vivid encounter with the babe magnet phenomenon was in my twenties. I had an opportunity to attend a popular 'watering hole' with my brother, a fairly dapper guy, and Dave, a guy who was the spittin' image of Robert Redford. This was in the seventies when Mr. Redford was at the height of his movie popularity. Dave was in his early thirties and had just been divorced. He was reluctant to socialize and kind of reserved, probably due to the recent trauma of divorce. Maybe women sensed this and that was part of the appeal.

I had attended bars like this before, with friends, and never saw such a shift in the mood of a place. As the three of us sat around a table, it seemed every women in the place had taken notice.  Possessed of the foolish male ego, I was momentarily unaware of the situation and thought to myself that I must try wearing these clothes more often. 

It soon became obvious the object of all the attention was Dave. The stares, smiles and looks we got were so inviting, something quite out of the ordinary for us everyday type males. The experience was similar to something we usually only saw on television, or in other media, when pretty girls try to sell something in the advertising. I certainly didn't recall them being like this in real life, smiling and so friendly for no reason. 

I don't think I was fully aware at the time that I was in a different world. I'm sure I just kept alluding to being in the right place at the right time. We did feel uncomfortable, though. All my preconceived notions of the females reserved nature were eradicated. I swear, every single woman in that establishment, in the hour or so we were there, made some attempt to come by our table.

At one point we had three women sitting with us, all enthralled with Dave. Any conversation we tried to make was quickly and masterfully redirected back to him. The faux pas that sort of ended the evening was when one woman half climbed over the table next to us as a chair became available.

The plight of poor males like Dave and the two brothers is something the rest of us males never have to contend with. Imagine everyplace you go women are coming up to you with mendacious pretences. I suppose you can't really carry on an honest conversation with someone of the opposite sex until you get past the flirting. You probably spend a lot of time trying to define intentions and figuring out ways to politely decline advances. Sooner or later the attention must pall and even become an annoyance.

Unfortunately the rest of us males don't observe the plight of our cohorts because we are possessed of the male ego. It's part of our biological makeup. We must, at times, be able to look in the mirror and see something we think the opposite sex will be interested in. We just keep trying to figure out ways we can fit into the dating game.

Fortunately there is a degree of kindness in our society that allows this subsequent preoccupation with our ego. There doesn't seem to be too much trashing of the male appearance unless we put it to the test and approach a female directly. Our social norms employ women to be more aware of appearance and they'll often tell you point-blank what they think if you do. Most of us find our boundaries in adolescence and learn not to stray too far from our allotted place in the physical hierarchy of our peers. The first rule we learn is that women make their intentions known first.

Somehow we're supposed to learn to translate certain gestures and nuances that indicate a willingness to communicate further. Not all of us do. Big mistake.

Maybe the most unusual aspect of the 'babe magnet' phenomenon occurs when we least expect it. I think we've all encountered a situation where we're hangin' out with a guy who we'd least expect to be a babe magnet. One guy I work with, Terry, is a clean cut individual with a strong square build. Nothing out of the ordinary, it seems. From Georgia, accent and all, he started working in our lumber yard a few months ago. 

Part of our operation is an outdoor facility where we spend time stacking lumber, loading customer vehicles, etc. The first day Terry worked in that part of the facility we were swamped with women we had never seen before. At one point a car made a U-turn in the middle of the street to come into the yard. A pretty young women popped out of the car who had dozens of questions about building materials. It was fairly obvious where her focus was.

We figured Terry could take care of himself so we let him answer the questions. It's been amazing. Ever since Terry's started working the yard, we have several new customers who seem to be single, pretty women. They always seem to direct their attention to Terry. 

Unfortunately there is the male ego, again, and I'm embarrassed for my kind because there are several other guys who make the mistake of thinking these women are there to see them. It's even more obvious in a situation like this where you aren't expecting a guy like Terry to exhibit the babe magnet phenomenon. These poor guys will make some inclination of interest, be it ever so subtle, and are immediately put back into their place as the intentions of the visitor become known. 

It's kind of like soldiers going up against a wall and most are put down. It seems to be part of a deep-seated biological nature that we must try. And please, you might want to divert your eyes for the next part: it's like we never really progressed past our biological origins and here we are still swimming up stream, little tail waggling gametes, trying to relinquish our genetic destinies.

Aw fate! We're at the end of the twentieth century and we're still trying to define our roles. Heck, we're even trying, in our infinite wisdom, to legislate some of the male behavior. So much of what we do is tied to biological meanings we will never understand. Maybe it's better to live life and enjoy it and not analyze our biological destinies. But somehow we must all come to terms with it.

The trauma of each generation as they relearn these basic premises of life is often more damaging than it need be. There's far too much corrupted behavior and frustration due to this basic form of communication breakdown. What makes it even tougher is we're supposed to learn all of this in our teenage years, mostly in school where it's a cesspool of hormonal influences. How did we ever make it out alive? Maybe this will help. Let the 'babe magnet' be an example, guys. It's not all that it's cracked up to be. Just remember to learn those nuances.

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