There are two separate and distinct aspects to "the look." But, they are inter-twined and inter-related: reproduction and status. Cast in terms of the silly old nature/nurture debate: sex is about reproduction and nature in its purest form, while mating and marriage are about nurture and status.
To understand men, you must understand maleness in its purest and
simplest form. Every man alive shares the attribute of maleness with
half of the life on this planet, as every woman shares the attribute of
femaleness with the other half.
The time for the fern to unfurl itself is when IT is ready - there is no
social calendar that concerns it. The time for the bees to pollinate
the blooms that will turn into fruit is WHEN they are in bloom and ready
to receive, not when some arbitrary social decision says the time is
right. You can understand everything about men by looking at one corn
plant in bloom. The silks and the ear are the female parts of the plant,
the tassels and pollen are the male part. The male part must be ready
WHEN the female part is ready, not before and most certainly not after.
One grain of pollen must fall on each strand of silk in order for one
new kernal of corn to start. In order for the female part of the corn to
be as abundant as it has the potential to be, the male part must
produce MILLIONS of times the sperm (pollen) that the female produces
silks and potential seeds AND distribute those sperm widely and freely.
Thus, the primary and over-riding characteristic of male sexuality is
urgency: all of maleness is about being ready NOW so that when the
female signals that the time is right, the male is ready to do his part.
If you look at the female genitals, you see that they are flowers.
Nature constantly re-uses her forms over and over. And when the female
petals open themselves in bloom, THEN is the time to fertilize, not
later. Women's minds are at war with their bodies these days. They
themselves try to deny the message of their bodies when their very cells
cry out that the time is right. Women have been brainwashed into
wanting to DECIDE when the time is "right" and have nature conform to
their wishes rather than placing themselves in tune with nature. It will
Sadly for men, we do "think with their penises" far more than we wish
was the case. Survival is so basic that "thinking" really has nothing at
all to do with it. Desire does not happen because of a thought process
or because we get social sanction: it is primal and the only thing we
can do with our social minds is to inhibit it. While we men certainly
sometimes appear to "think with our dicks" it is impossible for us to
"dick with our thinks." We desire what we desire, and no amount of
social conditioning can ever really change that.
Since reproduction is survival of the species at its most basic level,
those drives are buried in the part of our bodies that we share with
every other animal that reproduces sexually: our brainstem - our
vertebra. All sex happens in what is called the "old" brain or the
"reptile" brain - the brainstem and spinal cord. You can actually take a
cat and vacuum out its cerebral cortex and all mating behaviors remain
intact. Social behaviors are destroyed, but the cat can still eat and
mate. That is how primal and basic the behaviors we are talking about
Our reactions are SO BASIC, so immune to conscious and voluntary
control, that they are akin to a species of fish whose females' bellies
turn red when they are gravid. Males of this species can be fooled into
mating behavior by a block of wood with the underside painted the same
red as a gravid female placed into the tank.
Like these fish, signals of female readiness and receptivity provoke a
completely unconscious and involuntary reaction in us. We can't stop
ourselves from reacting, all we can do is stop ourselves from acting on
our reaction. What makes men so angry at women is how well women have
learned our involuntary reactions and learned how to use them against us
by faking receptivity and using our sense of urgency to extort from us
what they want.
Makeup, low-cut dresses, even high heels, all mimic signals that a woman
gives off when she is "ready." Men are constantly having their
involuntary reflexes beaten on to respond to a woman who signals that
she is "ready" when, in fact, she is not. Just about all the terrible
miscommunications between men and women would go away if men would go
back to sniffing women's butts.
The other half of "the look" is status. These are the ways that social
messages have affected us. A man's status is enhanced in the presence of
an attractive woman, just as a woman's status is enhanced by the
presence of a successful man. This is the strictly "nurture" part of
things. What we consider "beauty" at any given time is a matter of
social consensus. In Africa, big butts on women are considered VERY
attractive because they are a whole lot closer to the edge of survival
and a skinny woman will likely not survive childbirth. There is no
reason to "mate" with them. Even as recently as the 1960s, the hourglass
figure, curviness, was a standard of female beauty.
What comes next is pretty subtle, so hang with me. The "look" now
popular in westernized culture, which advertising defines, is the "look"
of an infertile woman. Pregnancy takes a huge amount of calories and
very thin women ususally cannot accomplish it. Here is where we have
nature and nurture at war with each other. The drive to have sex and
continue the species is as strong in all of is as it has ever been, but
children are so expensive to have and raise to adulthood these days that
men unconsciously are drawn to women who show signs of receptivity at
the same time they show signs of infertility. Some "free" sex or "free
Women have complained for years about men who want to sleep with one
kind of woman, but marry a different kind. That is because the urgency
of responding to a woman's signals of readiness, RIGHT NOW, has
absolutely no relationship to what it would be like spending the rest of
his life with that woman. For women's benefit, our cultural values have
demanded that men make their mating decisions on something other than
sex. Under the old structure of marriage, a man wouldn't even find out
what his wife was like sexually until AFTER they were joined for life.
That is how little emphasis that culture placed on sex compared to how
much it placed on mutual support and keeping commitments.
Just as women still expect to marry a man who makes more than they do,
despite the fact that the economy has changed to make that impossible,
men make their choice of lifelong mates based on how much status being
mated to that woman will bring them. Having a woman with "the look"
(whatever the fad of the moment is) will bring them status in the eyes
of both men and women. Love conquering all is a compelling and
attractive fantasy, but it is a fiction. Success in life often depends
on resources and status, so the choice of a lifelong mate must take
these into account.
Television and movies have turned us into a completely visual culture.
Everything now has some variation of "the look." Clothes have an "in
look", cars have it, even athletic shoes have it. We all are being
constantly harassed by TV to want "the look."
Women are just as susceptible to "the look" of men as men are to "the
look" of women. And it has nothing to do with how good a mate that
person would be. It is a primal biological reaction to "good genes", to a
set of characteristics that would give our offspring a better chance of
survival than if they did not have them.
As we grow up, however, we learn to look beyond "the look", and learn to
see. Men learn over time how to tell when a woman is faking it and to
avoid such women. The more games a woman plays regarding her looks and
attractiveness, the more men have learned to distrust her.
The quiet beauty of an untouched bloom, however, will always render a
man mute in the awesome power of woman to create new life from her own