I've always loved magnets: to feel their pull is to experience the palpability of a profound truth. Things are drawn to each other for no other reason than they just are; it's not a matter of will — they don't choose it — but a matter of constitution. But not everything is drawn to anything. No, there have to be very particular conditions, the make up of the bodies needs to be just right. But then, oh then, there is an inescapable attraction.
This kind of attraction and its counterpoint, repulsion, run through all kinds of encounters. We are attracted to certain foods, certain booze, certain drugs, certain colors, certain weather, certain speed, certain emotional intensity and, yes, certain people.
It's a great way to read the world and your place in it: which things draw your body in? At times, we call this taste. I know people — usually men and usually men with unruly beards — who really, really like beer. They make and drink all kinds of beers. Not me. I find the yeastiness repulsive. I may enjoy a cold pilsner or, from time to time, a bitter porter or stout. But, for the most part, beer doesn't agree with me and I, in turn, am not drawn to it. It's as if beer and I repel each other.
I love when I'm attracted to something, when there is that spark that exceeds my desire and seeks to draw me closer, to bring me into its orbit. I especially love when this happens with another person. It's a moment in which the universe speaks loudly and clearly.
It's rare — at least it is for me. I find plenty of people attractive; that is to say, I find them capable of attracting others. I see and understand the appeal of their allure. But that doesn't mean I'm attracted to them. No, attraction is something other than being attractive. It is a force that exists between two bodies.
Now, this force may not be in equal proportion. I may be more drawn to you than you to me. I mean, when I have a little magnet near my fridge, it lurches out of my hands towards that plastic clad metal frame. But the fridge doesn't budge at all.
And yet the fridge is not indifferent. On the contrary, it calls that little magnet to it, beckons it, seduces it with its iron siren song. Attraction is always mutual but not necessarily in equal proportion.
And attraction need not be sexual. I am attracted to my good male friends; I want to be around them, to move in their orbit, to enjoy their sense in its many forms. No doubt, much of attraction is sensual even if not sexual. I like looking at my male friends; I think, usually, they smell nice. And sometimes I meet men who are pleasant and smart and funny and yet, for whatever reason, I am not attracted to them.
But attraction is never just physical because, well, nothing is just physical. All bodies are run through with ideas and concepts, with affect and memories, with invisible traces of images and experiences and knowledge. And all bodies enjoy a style, a mode of moving through the world, a rhythm and speed and intensity.
Attraction, of course, happens in ever differing intensity. Sometimes, you are kinda drawn to another. And other times, it's as if the sun itself were pulling you into its fiery embrace.
Those are rare and beautiful events — you meet someone at a party or behind a counter or wherever and there is this incredible, palpable, clear energy reverberating between you. Your body and everything else quivers, even if just a bit. I believe this power deserves to be honored. After all, it's the literal pull of cosmos so it seems silly to turn away from it, even if you can.
This doesn't mean the attraction will yield only goodness. There is no assurance of that whatsoever. In fact, I might say that most intense attractions will end badly, like being proverbially pulled into the sun. It seems people often maintain miserable relationships because the power of attraction is so strong. Then again, the power of the attraction may just fizzle of its own accord.
But so it goes. The will of the universe is the very way different bodies interact with each other, attract and repel each other. To me, that pull is such a beautiful thing, is erotic in and of itself — even if the nature of the attraction is not erotic. Just sitting there feeling the magnets pull and repel makes my heart throb.