Never imagine you have any idea what you’re attracted to.

I met a friend of a friend at a party. After a night of carousing, she came on to me, but I demurred. I just didn’t feel attracted to her. But over the course of the next year-and-a-half we started hanging out, meeting once in a great while to talk about film (she’s a film editor), and especially writing. The other day as she sat describing a screenplay she’s shopping around, it hit me: I’m attracted.

I have a friend, well, not exactly a friend, but there isn’t a word for someone you’ve known so long that they’ve become part of the landscape—almost familial in their constancy, yet we are so different that had I met him yesterday I’d probably never talk to him again. Anyway, his girlfriends were many, and almost always exactly the same. About 5’ 2”, blonde, thin to the point of bony, and usually just intelligent enough to appreciate his humor, but no more so. It was creepy. And they just rotated in and out: the same jokes, the same back-and-forth between them, and ultimately, he left them.

I remember a dilemma he had a few years back: while living in New Hampshire, studying for the bar and biding his time, he met a woman who was older, self-assured, independent, and by all accounts very cool (I never met her). He was crazy about her, especially the way she didn’t seem to need him in her life—she had a life already. His problem was that she didn’t fit his idea of what was attractive. He found her physically attractive, but couldn’t reconcile that with his idea of What Is Pretty. After a while, she left him.

Now he’s engaged to someone, described by everyone as “Princess Leia, circa 1979”. She’s not blonde, not thin, and apparently very intelligent. I like to imagine that he makes her wear her hair in those little buns in bed. That sounds super-sexy to me.

Then again, I could be wrong.

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