Categorizing Attraction

I recently had an interesting lunch conversation with a couple of friends (one is male, the other is female). It started when the male friend saw a woman coming down the escalator toward where the three of us were seated. As she got closer, he said aloud, “Oh… I really wanted her to be fine, but… she’s not.” He then looked at me and said, “You know how you see a woman and really want her to be fine, then you finally see her up close and she’s not?”

My female friend then looked at both of us like we were crazy. At the time she said she didn’t understand that thought at all, but she later doubled back on that thought. From that conversation we went into a discussion of the different categories in which men place women. Now, before I start spelling these out for you, I really want you to keep in mind that I’m not trying to Steve Harvey you into thinking that all men are the same. These categories vary. In my experience though, I’ve found them to hold up. The truth is that when a guy sees an attractive girl, to merely label her as “attractive” isn’t nearly descriptive enough. Instead, we use words like cute, pretty, sexy, fine, beautiful, and gorgeous. All of those are different, can mean different things, and the order isn’t always the same. I’ll break it down somewhat so that you can understand a little better.

Cute –  Cute normally has to do with innocence, youth, and petiteness. Most times cuteness is specifically in reference to a woman’s face, but it can also encompass her entire personality. It can be affected by what a woman wears but only negatively. By that, I mean that a girl that isn’t cute can never wear something that makes her cute. On the contrary, a cute girl can definitely wear something that makes her no longer cute. Cute girls wear cute-girl clothes, meaning she won’t be wearing that kindergarten teacher overall skirt joint that goes down to her ankles and has apples, pencils, and letters embroidered all over it nor will she be dressed like she works evenings on the corner of MLK and 12th Street. Cute girls are normally small and/or lively. I’d give you some celebrity examples, but frankly the ones that come to mind are pretty young and I’d feel icky looking them up, so…… nope.

Pretty – Pretty is fairly similar to cute, except it’s timeless. Cute can be timeless when describing a woman’s personality,but in terms of general appearance, it fades. A woman can be pretty at any age, and it is almost entirely based on clothing. Pretty usually requires make-up. It’s usually something that has to happen. It takes effort. A good example of cute vs. pretty would be Rachael Leigh Cook in the movie She’s All That. She was cute before her transformation; she was pretty after.

Sexy – This one is all about attitude. It can be affected by clothing, but it’s not fully dependent on what a woman wears. Sexy is kind of in a league of its own. Angelina Jolie fits the bill here. She’s not cute, not all that pretty, not fine, beautiful, or gorgeous. She’s just… something else.

Fine – This is where the lines start to blur a bit. Fine is a step or two above pretty. Where pretty will make you take a second look, fine will make you stop walking altogether. I’ll be honest, usually when a man calls a woman fine, he’s not thinking anything holy. Fine is usually used when a woman has a certain desirable combination of anatomical features. I had a roommate in college (who shall remain nameless) who would put Serena Williams in this category. I’m not a huge fans of chicks that look like they could break me in half, then break those halves in half, then put me into a blender, and make a protein shake out me before bench pressing 500 lbs… But I can understand why he put her here.

Beautiful – Beautiful is classic, and it’s natural. A beautiful woman is one that could look her best with minimal effort. Doesn’t need make-up. Doesn’t need a bedazzled evening gown. She’s just beautiful all on her own. It is what it is. Sanaa Lathan lives here. Obviously, I’ve never seen her not on TV (obvious only because I’d either stalk her and be married to her now, or I’d stalk her and be in prison and/or have a restraining order now) so I’ve never really seen her without make-up, but I’d imagine she’d be just as incredible.

Gorgeous – Gorgeous is at the top of the list. It doesn’t have to encompass all the others, but it often does. Clothes almost don’t matter at all. A gorgeous woman could be wearing a Fubu Platinum jersey with acid washed jeans and some red Ked’s and still be gorgeous… She’d be tacky as crap, but she’d still be gorgeous. Think Paula Patton. Now think of the last time you saw her look bad. You may have seen her have a bad acting performance. You may even have seen her on stage at the BET Awards looking and sounding like she’s been sipping on some purple Sprite (that’s syrup, or sizurb, for those of you who aren’t quite as gangsta), but you have never seen her look bad. She’s dang near perfect.

There you have it. Keep in mind, these are my descriptions. You may disagree. I give you permission. Tell me about it below in the comments section. We’ll listen.

Until next time…

-Erik (@WalkSays)

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Erik Walker

Erik is black.


    • Lii
      July 11, 2013

      haha men are pretty funny…in a good way…so is there movement on this ladder? can a cute girl be beautiful or a pretty girl be gorgeous? can a gorgeous girl not be sexy?….I think women have siilar descriptions for men though: cute, sexy, fine, handsome, gorgeous…sometimes even strong get’s throun in there to mean manly i guess …handsome trumphs for me and embodies all of above (Idris E)….fine is too “pretty” or “manicured” for me lol (Shemar M)…cute , still have boyish look but its cool (Usher)…can’t think of a just sexy or gorgeous star…

      • Erik
        July 11, 2013

        There’s some movement, but only top down. A beautiful woman can be cute, but not vice versa.

        • Lii
          July 11, 2013

          haha oh i c ..well good to know…

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