The Laws of Attraction

Part I: The Realization 

Attraction is not subjective. There are objective guidelines of what is sexy… or at the very least I know that waking up feeling bloated surrounded by empty beef jerky bags (yes PLURAL) is not considered remotely arousing.


My online dating profile lists me as “More Independent.” This is in no small part due to my answer to this question:


Which, in turn, is in no small part due to my aforementioned morning routine. No one wants to wake up to that, not even me. 
Back when I lived in Spanish Harlem there was a 24-hour White Castle one block away from my apartment. On cold nights after walking 10 blocks from the bar I would guide myself home by its neon glow, like a North Star for lazy fat fucks. I remember announcing (read: slurring) with solemn pride, “I will have four double cheeseburgers and a large onion ring,” and stumbling to the table to wait for my number to be called.
Order in hand, I stumbled home with glee, my mouth watering at the prospect of unhinging, and letting all those tiny burgers just fall inside me. It wasn’t until I reached my stoop that I remembered my roommate, and the shame sunk in. Luckily the apartment was set up in such a way that I could surreptitiously sneak into my bedroom, and in darkness devour my treasure with dimly glowing light of Netflix to guide the burgers to their resting place. Unluckily there had to be a “following morning…”

Upon awakening, my first unpleasant discovery would inevitably be my surroundings: evidence of the gluttonous debauchery. This would be followed by the immediate pounding in my head, and the rather unpleasant discovery that the smell of stale mini-burgers was not coming from the empty paper bag, but from me. It was seeping out through my pores! Needless to say, the feeling of bloat and disgust at having to clean up after myself dissipated with time and drink, and soon enough I would be skipping home yet again with another big satchel full of inevitable self-loathing.

Part II: The Comparison

Last year I got to go to my First New York Comic Con. Though I didn’t know what to expect, I was certain that I would be among people of my “attractiveness level.” I was wrong. I began to realize the mistake I had made early on when I found out that a very attractive bartender friend of mine said he would be there, and going as Tony Stark. Upon arrival I wandered around the convention, doing my best to avoid staring at half-naked ladies in elf costumes slipping and sliding on a floor soaked by their admirers’ drool. I walked past throngs of people waiting in line to play five minutes of a video game that would be out in two months and a cornucopia of people selling products I could buy cheaper online. The entire experience was reminiscent of traveling back in time to the 90s, when malls were the place to go. Only instead of goths dressed as people who hate themselves, people were dressed as their favorite Shinichirō Watanabe character. 

As I navigated the convention center aimlessly I received a text from The Bartender, telling me to meet him in “Artist’s Alley,” a place for comic book artists to sign their work. Upon arrival I was greeted warmly and introduced to the rest of his friends, each one (objectively) more attractive than the last. I was then given the full nerd-treatment in the form of a tour of comic book art. 

“… and he penciled Ultimate Spiderman 27-52.” I remember being told before finally coming to the realization that, “FUCK, not only are they devilishly good looking gentleman but they are geekier and smarter than me.” 

Instantly crushing my feelings of self-loathing into a diamond of hunger pangs I suggested we get some food before carrying on. They agreed and the entourage of demigods and I, their troll servant, proceeded to get lunch where I could more accurately assess the situation. 

A description of their appearance: 
1.) The men were typically sporting a stylish V-neck that was not knit by their mother, and showed just enough of their chest to prove that the gentlemen were aware of the concept of exercise. 
2.) Their hair did not look like it had had a morning fight with two blenders and a feral cat. 
3.) Their pants were not frayed at the bottom, baggy, or covered in stains from various previous outings. 
4.) They had eye protection from the sun, not broken prescription glasses that tilted awkwardly and made you look like a mad scientist. 

Suddenly all I could hear in my head was that Sesame Street song:


I was that thing.
Despite my negativity they were nice to me. To this point, I doubt they even perceived these obvious differences in style and appearance. In fact, it wasn’t until we got back to Comic Con after lunch that the stark comparison was visible to everyone.
As we entered the arena for round two, a group of ladies working the event (read: hired to make the geeks buy horrible products they couldn’t possibly need) walked over to The Bartender. Apparently these women knew him from something. He quickly went down the row introducing all of the ladies, who smiled peevishly as each gentleman cordially nodded back, and then he got to me, “and this is…” before my name was even finished the expression on the women’s faces instantly changed to one of confusion.
No doubt the only logical explanation to the scenario these ladies were being subjected to was that I was from Make a Wish, and spending time with these guys was my dying request.

Part III: The Acceptance 

Knowing one’s limitations is important. I will never be the guy that turns heads at a bar, nor someone women sit next to in the hopes he notices them. I will never be the guy that they will flirt with across the room. I am not ugly, but I am “ugly adjacent.” I remember long nights spent at The Bartender’s bar watching female after female approach him order a drink and say “You know who you look like?” followed by a list of attractive male celebrities:


Robert Downey Jr.

Dave Matthews

George Clooney

Orlando Bloom (when he had long hair)

A young Tom Selleck (during Movember)



It didn’t matter that these celebrities looked nothing alike. They were all the definition of hotness, and he embodies it. In my case, the lady would undoubtedly turn to me and say… “Oh, and you look like that guy… from Dazed and Confused… you know, he gets his ass kicked?”

She meant Adam Goldberg

They always mean Adam Goldberg.

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