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A problem with attraction

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aestheticvirtues
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I am new to these forums but I have followed them for a while and I've been studying Objectivism for longer.

I (may?) have a problem, and I'm interested to hear some opinions on it.

I am a gay male youth. My problem is with attraction. I am attracted to a particular 'look' and it is creating a problem with my sex life. The particular fashion I like is 'emo'. The fascination is almost a fetish. I like men with long hair, preferably covering one eye, and feminine features. There are several reasons this is a problem for me.

The first is that I do not commonly meet rational people with this fashion. As a generalization, I've found that most 'emo' guys are irrational and childish. I mean no offense to any such people reading this. This ties in with another reason this attraction is a problem for me. It is an unsustainable attraction. Men will not always look youthful, and long hair on them tends to look worse with age, with some exceptions. But universally, the feminine look disappears from a man's features with age as well. So if I tried to hold this type of man as my aesthetic ideal in a romantic partner, it would necessarily disappear in a few years. Obviously I wouldn't find my partner suddenly unattractive, but the ideal I had would cease to be represented very quickly.

This is also a problem psychologically, as personality-wise, I am entirely and only interested in men who act...like men. It is very common for a 'girly' looking man in the gay community to act as feminine or more so than he looks. But I am totally un-attracted to such personalities. I am interested in an ideal man, according to the standards of Objectivism. I wonder if it is even possible for such an ideal man in personality to value the look I am interested in physically. I wonder if that would constitute a contradiction in his aesthetic philosophy, and if such a contradiction and its implications would be acceptable to me.

If you are interested, or consider it relevant: I myself am not a 'girly' gay man either.

This creates a problem in my current relationship. I am dating a man who I consider to be very attractive, but he is not the ideal I spoke of. He dislikes the 'emo aesthetic' in fashion. He has a more mature fashion taste. I do not feel this issue of mine is placing any kind of strain on my relationship with him, but it does provide an external temptation when I see such men. And I wonder if he might become resentful with my attraction to that look and his inability or unwillingness to fit it.

This attraction of mine has also created a derivative problem in my psyche. I want to look this way. I am interested in growing my hair longer, and wearing unique fashions which some would probably consider childish. This derivative issue has its own attached problems.

I can't really grow my hair out like I want it. I don't have the hair for it to begin with, and I am already losing my hair in the front unfortunately. Barring miraculous hair regeneration therapies, I will not be able to look the way I want to. Secondly, even if I were able to grow my hair to look how I wanted, and I'd want to dye it crazy colors as well, it would look very unprofessional to employers. I am in the middle of college, trying to find part time work, and even once I graduate, I'll need to find a job. I doubt employers would give a fair first impression to a man with long purple hair.

These two major problems have had detrimental effects on my self esteem recently. I feel like since I cannot achieve this aesthetic ideal, I will never be satisfied with how I look.

So I have several questions regarding these issues.

Is the value of an 'emo' look a rational one?

Are there solutions to individual problems that I am not seeing?

Should I attempt to forcibly change my own aesthetic ideals?

Is there a contradiction between an ideal man and an aesthetic ideal of more 'feminine' features?

I welcome any other comments. Please feel free to be as blunt as you desire in your responses, I welcome criticism, but please respect that this is a personal problem. Thank you.

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If changing your aesthetic means monkeying with your romantic life, I'd suggest consulting a therapist. Me and my baby-mama also like styles that are rejected in the professional world, and we've had to compromise. It hasn't been terrible. We can still 'dress down' when we go out, but cool hair and piercings are out of the question. I don't see any reason why the style should detract from masculine behavior, but the subculture strikes me as awful, so you're going to have to go to extraordinary measures to find the kind of guy you're describing. Have you tried the internet?

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The first is that I do not commonly meet rational people with this fashion.

It would be difficult to really find anyone of a particular style who *also* has more particular viewpoints. I don't think you're all that unique in this regard. Perhaps that doesn't make things any easier for you, but the reality is people you like a lot are difficult to come by, friend or otherwise. In other words, this is only really a problem if you are expecting to find certain people easily. I would have more to say if you said more about unchosen physical features, but especially since you said you wouldn't (or at least don't expect) to find your partner unattractve suddenly if that sort of feature went away, nothing is a red flag that I see.

I am interested in an ideal man, according to the standards of Objectivism.

I'm a bit confused. Do you mean literally an ideal man? As opposed to the ideal way a person should act morally speaking? In any case, you seem to be wondering just about if you can find a combination of the type of character you are looking for with a particular style sense. Style sense does matter, as it does convey some extent of a person's personality and character. You appear to be wondering that only because you're having a difficult time finding *either* type of person. Since you're very young, you might just be impatient, not a matter of bad or too high standards, or that no people you like exist.

And I wonder if he might become resentful with my attraction to that look and his inability or unwillingness to fit it.

That would be insecurity, jealousy, or both, on his part. If trust in each other is well-founded, then working through jealousy issues or him feeling he's unable to live up to your standards. Whether a relationship is exclusive or not, insecurity is something to be fixed, or avoided if unfixable.

it would look very unprofessional to employers.

Unfortunately, that's something you have to decide if it's worth compromising on your own personal style. I would be annoyed to no end if I had to stop coloring my hair, but for my case I know the fields I want to work in don't care about that (at least, I don't think so...). Now, if I wanted to work at a bank... That would be a problem. And if you're worried about hair loss and don't want hair regeneration, just use a wig.

About an emo look being rational or not, I'm not sure what you mean. No look is rational or irrational, unless you chose a look *because* other people wanted it. If you mean can a person with that look also be rational, I see no reason why not.

The sense of ideal man as "a morally perfect person" does not demand any aesthetic ideal out of a person really, so I do not see how your aesthetic prefence is contradicting anything.

Edited by Eiuol
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You should *not* try to change your aesthetic ideals -- the ones you truly hold. It doesn't matter if you think Rand would approve or disapprove or if it would match her own ideals. Aesthetic value is something that has been developing with you personally for your whole life, and it's not something that can be changed like a switch any more than can your personality. In all likelihood, your tastes in men, fashion, art, music, movies, landscapes, colors, and on and on *will* change over time, because you will continually learn more and "grow deeper" as a person, and this will be reflected in every area of your life. But at this moment, all you can do is like what you like.

That said, even if you really, really, really like emo boys, there is no reason why you can't *also* like other types of men -- like, say, the type of man your boyfriend is. Personally, my own interest in men can be summed up accordingly: "Boys: I love them all!" (as seen on a teenage relative's school notebook) of which my boyfriend is only one type. There's just no sense in acting like you don't find other people attractive, even if you're in a steady, long-term, exclusive relationship (none of which I think need to be set in stone, btw, depending on the relationship), especially if you are a man and respond so strongly to visuals, as we do.

This same principle can be applied to yourself -- the fact is, you're never going to be your own emo ideal. Just like I will never look like every man I find attractive! Take what you have to work with, and make it as great as it can be. There will be someone who will find you attractive as you are (your boyfriend), and you being a different kind of attractive doesn't negate your own personal value in the emo ideal. Both can be a value at once.

Edited by JASKN
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I certainly see the appeal of the emo style, and even some music that could be labled emo. One could call it a form of romanticism growing out of the over all anger and nihilism off punk. Instead of wanting to destroy there is real representations of personal anguish and an attempt to deal with issues that we all have gone through (instead of making pretentious music about issues that in reality affect no one in their daily lives ).

The first girl I slept with had the emo thing going on so I totally get it.

Really this has little to do with your style choice, it has mostly to do with the fact that you have a combination of specific desires and high standards. It doesn't matter what those specific desires are because the chances of you finding a "Good man who looks specifically like X" is going to be pretty rare unless you describe a statistical average. Seriously your type could be surfers, it would be the same way I believe.

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