Reminder: Men Who Are 'Good On Paper' Aren't Always Good Enough

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attraction to someone
Love, Heartbreak

Don't kid yourself.

Rich* and I were perfect for each other. At least, that’s what it looked like on paper. He was a guy who loved yoga, promoted feminism, appreciated rave music, and happened to like living a genderqueer lifestyle.

We were able to trade wardrobes, talk about politics, and also poke fun at the same things. He was a yoga instructor and I was working in the modeling industry at the time.

I wanted to love him. I wanted him to love me. If you were to look at our compatibility, it was off the charts compared to a lot of the other people I was seeing at the time.

But there was one thing that really kept us apart. It was something that, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t make work.


You see, despite him being good-looking, gainfully employed, and connected to the same people I knew, I lacked something. I wasn’t the least bit attracted to him on a sexual level. If sparks could go in the negatives, my attraction to him would have been a -10 out of 10. When we tried to kiss, I literally flinched as if I was trying to make out with a relative. It was bad.

The feeling was mutual, as I’d find out. He actually had to come clean to me about his lack of attraction, too. It was on our fourth “date,” where we still were trying to squeeze blood from the stone that was unattraction. Over a plate of vegan BBQ wings I’d made, he looked at me, embarrassed.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if he could tell that I wasn’t into him. He put down his fork and looked at me, apparently worried.

“Ossiana, I need to confess something,” he said.

“Go on...” I said, nodding slowly.

“I’m really not attracted to you on a sexual level,” he said. “I mean, I should like you. You’re a free spirit. You’re a Communist. You adore organic food and love to do weighted hoop dance. You’re pretty. But I just don’t know. I just can’t do this. I can’t get into you.”

I exhaled, “Oh thank god! I was thinking the same damned thing!”

We both burst out into laughter. Though that was the last time I saw him, the fact was we both realized something funny that day: You really can’t negotiate on sexual attraction, nor can you force someone to be into you.


Richard had all the elements I thought would match my lifestyle and interests. If you just lined up our qualities, you’d think we were soulmates. But, for some reason beyond our understandings, neither of us could get interested in one another. Though we were perfect on paper, we were anything but when trying to couple up.

Sure, we could have tried to force a relationship, but attraction would be very minimal and would probably take years to take hold, and that’s assuming we both were to have worked for it. Realistically, it would have taken too long to work out in the modern world we live in.

Attraction is a lot like trying to build a fire. Yes, you could work for an hour or so trying to get it started with two twigs, and eventually, you might get some smoke going. If you’re lucky, you could get a small fire started. But it’d take a long time and a lot of effort. This is actually why a lot of people who support arranged marriages regularly talk about the “slow warm-up” of marrying a total stranger.

Continuing with the metaphor of attraction, someone could just walk up with a gallon of kerosene and a match, and you’d have a blazing inferno in an instant. If what you want is fire, you’d probably pick the kerosene over the twigs.

It’s sad, but true. You can have all the qualities people say they want in a mate, but if you don’t have that X factor people need, it won’t be enough to keep them interested.

As far as Rich goes, I lost contact with him years ago but wherever he is, I hope he found someone who has that kerosene he needs.