Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Shades Of Annoyance

NOTE:  Adult themes today.  You have been warned!

Fifty Shades of Grey is apparently quite a popular book right now.  So much hubbub! What is it about? The Wikipedia entry regarding the book (ah, Wikipedia, the source of all pop culture knowledge) summarizes the plot as follows: 

The plot traces the relationship between recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her life as well as a non-disclosure agreement, something that he's required from all of his previous submissives. Upon learning that she is a virgin, Grey agrees to have sex with her in order to prepare her for later encounters, fully intending that the contract would be signed. As she gets to know him, she learns that his sexual tastes involve bondage, domination and sadism, and that childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual. In order to be his partner she agrees to experiment with BDSM, but struggles to reconcile who she is (a virgin who has never previously had a boyfriend) with who Christian wants her to be: his submissive, to-do-with-as-he-pleases partner in his "Red Room of Pain."

Alrighty then.

I have begun reading the book. So far, I have progressed through the first encounter of Steele and Grey; the non-disclosure agreement; a first glimpse into the "Red Room of Pain;" the first mentions of Grey's childhood abuse; and Steele's deflowering.  I left off right before the chapter that spells out the contract.

My assessment:  It is a thoroughly underwhelming read.  Shall we discuss the difficulties I am having with this book?  Let's.

1. The writing style. The writing uses particularly mundane and repetitive language.  It is as though the author deliberately chose to employ simple words and declined to explore any variety of vocabulary.  The same phrases and descriptions of particular images occur with astonishing regularity.  Most irritating, the protagonist frequently refers to her lady bits as "there" (complete with italics).  Really? A veritable cornucopia of both biologically accurate terms and euphemistically amusing epithets are available, and all she can use is "there?"

2.  The protagonist.  Anastasia Steele is a singularly annoying and unrealistic character.  Apparently she has some kind of magnetism that draws Grey to her; what that is, however, is completely unfathomable.  The book describes how off-balance Grey makes her, yet we see absolutely nothing of her personality prior to their meeting to lend credence to her reaction to him.  She has no strength, no independence, no self-assured competence - the type of personality traits that would render her decision to enter into a relationship as a submissive intriguing.  She is a thoroughly blank slate, in every possible way.  While it is entirely believable that she would not yet have had  intimate relations with a man, it pushes all boundaries of credence when it is revealed that she has never had a crush on any man previously, and has never gone beyond kissing someone once or twice in her entire life. If she never had an ounce of sexual feeling or interest prior to meeting Grey, why would she suddenly be overwhelmed with desire for him?   And -- least realistic of all -- she has never even explored herself.  A college graduate who has never once masturbated? Please.

3.  The confounding of D/s and Sadism-masochism.  The book ties Grey's desire for a Dominant-submissive (D/s) relationship together with his interest in Sadism-masochism (S&M). While there is often interplay between the two, they need not coexist.  They are quite different and can be mutually exclusive. This bundling of D/s and S&M will no doubt confuse Vanilla readers who are delving into BDSM for the first time.

4.  The explanation for Grey's proclivities.  In order to explain Grey's backstory and his interest in BDSM, it is mentioned (without much detail so far), that Grey was seduced as a teen by one of his mother's friends, and was in a D/s relationship with her for six years as her submissive.  While I will carefully avoid discussing the problem of sexual abuse/exploitation of a young boy, the description seems to imply strongly that it was psychological damage from the abuse that resulted in his 'aberrant' interests.  Must there be an explanation?  Perhaps even the most well-adjusted and safe-childhood-having individual might have an interest in BDSM.  Human attraction and desire do, in fact, reveal themselves in fifty shades of grey, so to speak. They need not be the result of Something Terrible.

5.  The sex.  The description of the physical encounters is rather wretchedly cliché and a bit unrealistic.  Part of the problem may be due to the paucity of varying words employed (see point 1 above) - I would have preferred more references to a "purple helmeted warrior of love" than the plain mention of an erection, or worse yet, just him, as if his entire personality resided in his penis alone.  Furthermore, there's absolutely no awkwardness or self-consciousness on the part of either Steele or Grey; there are no faded underpants, no post-coital hair knots, no need to get up and pee afterwards. Must be the result of their being so young and attractive and perfect, I suppose. Finally, there are several descriptions of multiple orgasms within very short time frames; while that is physically possible, certainly, it's rather improbable to insist that it occurs so frequently.  How about they climax once, and then have a snack or a nap (or a pee), like normal people?  I realize that the book is fantasy, and that the encounters are idealized.  Nevertheless, in order for something to be erotic for me, it needs to have slightly firmer roots in reality.   

That, my stalwart reader, is my assessment of the first 150 pages of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Clearly, it is not a book for me. 

What kind of book would I like?  I would like to read about entwining of minds, not just bodies; about voluntary surrender, not just unquestioned following. About slow burning desire. About waiting for consummation. About need. And about love, too.  You see, for me, sex and love ultimately are inseparable.  This may be an old-fashioned or naively idealistic position; nevertheless, it is the view I hold. Surely such a book has been written?

Perhaps I should write that story.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Unusual for me:  I am currently suffering from ambivalence about generating entries for the blog.  There are many little snippets of thoughts I have brewing, including scenes and moments from the family trip to Tombstone, Arizona, this past weekend, that I should describe, and yet nothing leaps out at me shouting "write me!" 

Things have been busy since we returned, certainly, between Herself's Work, the end of the school year, and other assorted complexities.  But even on active days, I can find time to write, if something must be written.  That has not happened.

Perhaps it was the enjoyment of the activities of the weekend that has contributed to my current apathy.  When Real Life is engaging, the mental world of the blog that I have so carefully constructed becomes rather tiny and irrelevant.  My words become tiny and irrelevant.  I am rather tiny and irrelevant. 

If I stopped entirely, though, I would miss the writing.

Perhaps I am just facing a roadblock:  the post-vacation withdrawal and sadness that so often follows the excitement of an adventure.  Rather than prepare a post detailing the weekend trip -- for that would require me to revisit and rehash the enjoyment of the weekend, and I am not yet ready to do so -- I shall consider just moving onwards. It may be that I simply cannot write about Tombstone just yet.

We shall see. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy Bee

Back from an Adventure this weekend.  Busier than the proverbial one-armed paper-hanger during fly season.  When time permits, I shall tell you all about it.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Terribly busy. Hoping to have some Fun this long weekend.  Details to follow!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reach Out

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. ~ Norman B. Rice

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything. - Rainer Maria Rilke 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crazy Person

Herself went back to the orthopedist today to receive the results of the MRI she had on her lower back. She still has ongoing, variable back and hip pain, and was hoping that the test would yield some helpful information on how to manage or treat her problem.

The good news:  the MRI was normal.

The flip side of the coin:  there is no easily identifiable reason why she continues to have pain.

Right now, the plan is for her to continue physical therapy, since it seems to be helping, and to revisit the matter in a couple of months.

She is stymied. Perplexed.  And enraged.

The pain is real for her. She does not want this. She does not understand.  It appears that she has bumped up against some kind of physical eccentricity that cannot be easily explained.  She does not know why her body does not cooperate.  She is beginning to feel as though people - especially the doctor - will start looking at her askance because there is "nothing" wrong with her and yet she complains of pain. She's afraid to mention it any more.

She feels like a crazy person.

All aboard the crazy train!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glass Slipper

Here in the kitchen
Safely among the cinders
Where I am content

I have my purpose
Sew sweep mop cook clean and serve
Busy hands, calm mind

Well-meaning fairy
Dress, glass shoes, horse-drawn carriage
To the ball I go

Shocking, the display
Finery frills fripperies
Lace wigs makeup gold

Wiles and eyelashes
Vying, flattering, falsehood
Petty, cruel, selfish

Fawning on the prince
Idle chatter, scheming words
Harpies and sirens

Malicious glances
Weigh on me like the ball gown
Flee, flee, run away

Slipper left behind
Good riddance, evil footwear
The clock strikes midnight

Back where I belong
Not an ornamental wife
I will be myself.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Number of the Beast

This is the 666th entry in the blog.

Thank you, my stalwart visitors, for reading.

You are my rock.

Friday, May 18, 2012

In Adversity

The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most.  I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. - Ulysses S. Grant

Picture copyright 2012, Mediocria Firma.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Thinking cannot be clear till it has had expression. We must write, or speak, or act our thoughts, or they will remain in a half torpid form. Our feelings must have expression, or they will be as clouds, which, till they descend in rain, will never bring up fruit or flower, So it is with all the inward feelings; expression gives them development. Thought is the blossom; language the opening bud; action the fruit behind it. — H.W. Beecher

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In the Arena

For those who are too hard on themselves, I offer the following marvelous quotation from Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts:  not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength. - August Wilson

Monday, May 14, 2012


Yesterday while she was traveling up to Carlsbad Caverns with Beloved Husband, Offspring the Second, and Cherished Friend, Herself quietly thought, I can't believe we're finally going on the Spider Cave tour. She had booked the tour over two months in advance (we checked the date of the confirmatory e-mail this morning as we prepared this post).  It had been a long time to wait, anticipating, for this adventure.  She had been weighed down heavily over the past several days by a lengthy series of disappointments, frustrations and annoyances that were remarkable for their multitude, variety and thoroughness, and was looking forward enormously to this chance to escape and to challenge herself.

As they approached the Caverns, there were a few drops of rain. She thought about the news story from a while back, when a visitor to the Caverns had been struck and killed by lightning. Poor man. The weather is so unpredictable sometimes. 

When they finally finally! met with the tour group, the tour guide announced gravely:  "I have some bad news, and some good news."  The bad news:  because of the weather conditions -- danger of lightning -- and the location of the entrance to Spider Cave, the tour had been canceled.  The good news:  they were offered the option of touring the Hall Of The White Giant (which, as you may recall, they visited previously) instead.


I can't really describe how Herself felt.  It was a combination of frustration, helplessness, and disappointment she had not seen before.  Indignation. Anger. Self-pity.

She does not often choose things for herself.   Perhaps that is why it was so crushing:  she could not understand why the Universe had seen it fit to deny her the chance to do the tour that she had her heart set on doing - this one thing that she had deliberately, purposefully, carefully tried to arrange for herself. 

She knew it could not be helped.  Better safe than sorry, always. Still, knowing that did not make her feel any better.

They chose to revisit the White Giant.  She struggled for a long time to get into the proper frame of mind. Once she was reminded that she was in her Favorite Place, though, she was able to ratchet herself back downwards and compose herself better.  She did enjoy the tour. She loves the cool and the dark of the Cavern, the quiet sounds and the smell of the Cavern. Even though the mental challenge was not there -- she knew she could make it past all the obstacles -- the physical challenge was satisfying.  In the moments of exertion, she could forget all that weighed upon her for a little bit.  All was not lost. For that, she is grateful.

Late that evening, while she emptied out the cooler from the trip and cleaned the kitchen, she tried to shine the best mental light upon the day. Her Beloved Husband did take pictures of the trip - there were no pictures from the first visit to the White Giant - and it was nice to have photographic evidence of the experience. As long as she didn't think about how she actually looked in the pictures. Fat girl. Good thing you didn't get stuck in Matlock's Pinch.

She is still a tiny bit bitter today.  The events of yesterday have reminded her of the myriad little things that have bothered her of late.  Though she is normally a crier, she is beyond tears at this point. All she can do is shake her head and remain silent.

Most of her anger is directed at herself:  she has failed. Failed to adapt to unexpected changes; failed to comport herself with adequate self-control. Failed to have sufficient self-discipline to exercise and to eat right in order to be a properly sized person. Failed, in that she wanted something so badly that she was upset when it did not happen.  Failed, in that she has had wishes, hopes and expectations about things, situations, and people over which and over whom she has no control.

Failed, to be so wanting.

She reminds herself that she must remember:
I do not want what I cannot have.

At least, she has the time that she has spent in the Caverns.  That is hers to keep.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spelunking Again

Tomorrow, Herself, her Beloved Husband, Offspring the Second, and Cherished Friend are making another pilgrimage to Carlsbad Caverns, to participate in a guided spelunking tour.  (The first such adventure is described here.)  Offspring the Third, who is disinclined to participate, is delighted to be able to spend the entire day with Offspring the First, who arrived last night having victoriously conquered her first year of college.  We are quite pleased to have Offspring the First home. 

Herself is calmly going about her business and not thinking about the cave tour, for if she did, she would be rather quite excited and unable to focus on what must be done today.  She's also a bit apprehensive.  Enclosed spaces, particularly dark ones, are Not Good. At All.  Nevertheless, it is something that she wants -- nay, needs -- to do.

We must encounter
That of which we are afraid
Or else we live not.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Hear You

I like to listen.  I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.  Most people never listen.  - Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Further Compassion

I do love Henri Nouwen's writings.  This is a second piece on compassion; the first can be found here.

"Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human."

- Henri Nouwen

Can you see the tiny moon? It is there.
The moon is a compassionate planet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Free Self

For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity.  You need not look at that only in a negative.  You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily.  but now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props .... You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.

- Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pond Prince

Further fairy tale haiku.

Upstart scientist
Proud, burning to make my name
Writing my treatise

Ectothermic tetrapod

Taxonomy first,
Phylogenetic tree next
No detail too small

Physiological, and

Esoteric traits
All-consuming minutiae
Obsessive was I

Study incomplete
Compelled to seek more knowledge
Turned to dark magic

Human to tadpole to frog
I am one with them

Hop, jump, flick my tongue
Consume gastropods, insects
Croak my song at night

My first-hand account:
Intimate portrait of frog
Tome becomes famous.

Golden ball descends
Orb of light, like her beauty
Shining through the mire

Frowning lovely lips
Averted entrancing eyes
Opalescent skin

Downy nape of neck
Ripening breasts - rosy fruit
Scented underarms

Smoothness of taut thighs
Curve of waist and small of back
Tempting, enticing.

Desire awakens
Not book knowledge, but carnal
Primal, visceral

I reach out to her
She recoils at my wet touch:
"Slimy cold creature!"

Struck down, horrified
Fame, facts, data, all for naught.
Amphibious Man

Unseemly moist skin
Webbed feet, gaping mouth, bulged eyes
Repellent am I

What have I become?
I beg, I plead:  "Just one kiss!"
All dignity gone.

Gathered in her skirt
Untouched, uncaressed, unloved
Returned to the pond.

Heartsick, rejected
Amplexus is forever

Monday, May 7, 2012

Carraig Aonair

We are the captains of our own ships sailing the sea of life, but in times of a stormy weather, you will discover true friends when they don't hesitate to be a lighthouse. ~ Dodinsky

This lovely image of Fastnet Lighthouse in Ireland was found at

Sunday, May 6, 2012


The calendar reminds us that Herself has her annual mammogram tomorrow.  In honor of the occasion, today we are contemplating cleavage. 

Growing up in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister, Herself was a scrawny, underdeveloped and awkward child who, on the first day of middle school, was inadvertently directed by middle-school teachers, uncertain of her gender, to the boys' locker room. Her male peers, who were aware that she was a girl, muttered "flat as a board" in false sotto voce to one another in the hallways, elbowing one another for emphasis when she walked by.  She rolled her eyes in their direction and otherwise ignored them, though she withered internally just a bit. She couldn't help being a late bloomer. 

Puberty eventually mercifully arrived, and with it, the Boob Fairy.  She went quickly from having no bosom to speak of, to having rather ample Tracts of Land. It was a surprise, not only to Herself, but to those who did not see her very often.  (A female acquaintance asked pointedly, when seeing Herself for the first time in a year: "What did you do, stuff your bra?")  Herself had to learn a whole new way of dressing:  it was (and still is) a delicate balance, to wear clothes that were sufficiently form-fitting to ensure that she did not look hefty, and yet that were not so snug or low cut as to be unduly revealing.

That was when things became difficult in an entirely different way.  Attending a baseball game with her classmates in high school, she endured the indignity of being hooted at by drunken middle-aged men in the bleachers: Nice sweatshirt, sweetheart!  There were also the college boys who were all too willing to offer "friendship with benefits" - though no friendship without the benefits. There were always, too, assumptions -- by men and women alike -- that the ease with which one could get into Herself's pants was directly related to her cup size.  Unfair, and untrue.

Pregnancy and motherhood generated within Herself a profound respect and fondness for her mammaries:  they suffered valiantly through the pain of mastitis, the indignities of lactation, and the years of being the primary food source for the infant Offspring, all without complaint. And now, the Girls have retired, and are merely decorative rather than functional.  Herself is grateful for their service, and looks after them, making sure they have annual checkups as well as comfortable support and coverage.

That is the newest challenge.  The motherhood era -- and middle-age -- have left a few extra pounds that have yielded an additional cup size or two, depending on the make of a garment, the phase of the moon, and other mysterious variables.  Shopping for clothes, brassieres, and bathing suits is a challenge that requires significant mental fortitude as well as consoling chocolate afterwards.  Regular retail stores do not often carry DD/E items, nor do they stock smaller band sizes with larger cups:  it is apparently assumed that if one has a large cup size, one must also have a large ribcage, which is not true for Herself.  Things don't often fit properly. Even T-shirts can be troublesome. And she is always anxious about needing to dress for semi-formal, or Heaven Forbid, formal, occasions.

Every now and then, she lucks out and finds a successful garment.  She wore one such dress yesterday evening, when she and her Beloved Husband had to attend a local professional function.  When they stepped off the elevator, a photographer from a local newspaper --amusingly-- practically ran towards them asking for a picture.  They obliged, though Herself was chagrined (she thoroughly dislikes having her picture taken).  She is fairly certain, too, that had it not been for her visible cleavage, the photographer likely would not have been remotely interested.  So mesmerizing, the melons, even now. Will the picture appear in the paper?  We shall see.

As this is a publicly available blog, there is no photograph to accompany this entry today. :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tooth Koala

After having posted a rare story about her father, Herself thought it might also be nice to tell a short story about her mother, too.

When Herself was little, she was extremely fond of koalas.  She had several stuffed koalas (in fact, she still has the same ones now, tucked away in storage in the house), and would usually take one of them on every family trip.  She took a larger stuffed koala on a plane trip to visit her grandparents one time.  When asked why she had brought that particular koala with her, she replied:  "Koala had his heart set on going."

When Herself began losing her baby teeth, she would, as is traditional, leave them under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy.  Except, for her, there was no Tooth Fairy:  it was the Tooth Koala.  The Tooth Koala would faithfully leave a quarter every time. The Tooth Koala never forgot.

When Herself lost her very last baby tooth, she wrote a small note to the Tooth Koala, thanking her for her years of service and telling her that she would be missed.  The Tooth Koala -- for the first and last time -- left a tiny note in return. 

Herself knew by then that the Tooth Koala was, in fact, her mother.  The unwavering diligence of every toothy visit, and the daintiness and kindness of that miniscule, carefully drawn missive from the Tooth Koala, are heartwarming and unforgettable.

She still has that note, too. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


And once more, fairy tale haiku.

Red-caped young beauty
Skipping the path through the woods
Swinging her basket

Dutiful grandchild
Cares for me in my dotage
Wasting her young life

Purposeless, I wait
Children grown, husband long dead
Helpless invalid

Burdensome am I
She complains not, but I know
My time is long past.

I hear your howling
Your pain and my pain are one
Hungering are we

O, Beloved Wolf
Release me from my old bones
Take me, consume me

Quickly, quickly now
Lest she see my suffering
We shall all be free.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Fairy tale haiku continue.

Fairest of them all -
Skin as snow and ruby lips
Ebony tresses

Magical mirror
Cruelly crushes my heart
She is more than I

Feeble, the huntsman
Mesmerized by loveliness
Allowed her escape

Seven dwarved miners
Selfishly offered shelter -
Captive housekeeper

So willing to trust,
Resplendent and greedy:
Delicious apple

Glass coffin for her;
Weeping, weeping, tiny men
I reign, we are safe

Shallow, half-wit prince
Carries off her still body
Nature's work of art

Dislodged, the poison -
My rejoicing, premature:
She has awakened

She will be crowned queen
Enraptured celebration
Foolish commoners

None but I can see
Only skin deep, her beauty.
She cares not at all

She will trample us
Under her small dainty heel
And leave us to die

Abandoned, bereft
Not a soul will realize
She loves just herself.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Attractive Men

Slightly adult content warning:   today we delve a little into a woman's point of view regarding human attraction.  Consider yourself warned!

Herself recently had some lively discussions with a small group of her internet ladyfriends.  These women have known each other for years; they first met ages ago on one of the Moms Online message boards of AOL.  They have since gravitated to Facebook where they have a "Secret Group" in which they post with one another.  Some of the ladies have met in person, though many have not.  They are intelligent, thoughtful, humorous.  Their support for one another, despite living in different places around the country and mostly never having laid eyes on one another, is steadfast and unwavering. They can discuss all kinds of topics, from children, to husbands, to jobs, to health, to social and political questions. 

Of course, when a bunch of ladies gets together, the conversation periodically turns to Men and (of course) sex. Some of the ladies are single, and others are married; nevertheless, they all engage in speculation regarding certain comely men  -- e.g., various actors or other well-known individuals -- and their physical attributes, and whether such men might be good physical partners (so to speak).  There are varying opinions regarding eye color, hair style, and presence or absence of facial hair, as well as regarding the importance of particular body parts:  hands, arms, legs, shoulders, butts. 

(And yes, there have been a few brief excursions into their thoughts on The Manly Package.  While I shall exercise discretion and not go into significant anatomical detail, for those who are wondering, the consensus was: that's not particularly important. At all.  Should you require more details on this particular issue, though, you'll have to ask Herself in person.) 

For our edification, I present a few of the bits of information I gleaned from listening in on those discussions.

What is it that makes a man attractive?  I have learned that a distinction should be drawn between handsome and attractive. These are, in fact, entirely different things.  Much like the relationship between squares and rectangles - all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares - attractive men are handsome, but not all handsome men are attractive.

What is handsome?  Aesthetically pleasing.  Visually striking. Easy on the eyes.  Hooty hoo!

The actual factors that go into a determination of handsomeness vary tremendously.  Science has made an attempt to define beauty/handsomeness by pointing to symmetry of features and form as well as to physical attributes suggestive of fertility or successful survival strategies.  Many of these judgments are likely subconscious and biological.  There's no way to define handsome adequately;  women just know it when they see it.  As you no doubt realize, too, who is considered handsome differs from woman to woman.

Handsome is nebulous; but what about attractive?  Attractiveness is that overarching quality that inspires a woman to consider a man as a potential partner.  It is so much more than mere handsomeness. 

Perhaps unexpectedly, attractiveness most vitally includes modesty.  Fewer things are less attractive than a man who thinks highly of, or is too quick to display, his own handsomeness (whether real or self-perceived).  What might work for the peacock does not yield similar success in humans. Herself summed it up thusly after she and the ladies had considered a group of photographs of good looking men: 

Though the beefcake pictures are Very Nice Indeed, [if I were single] I wouldn't ever get into bed with any of those men. Anyone who is that self-confident/assured to pose nude or nearly so, is not someone I'd be comfortable with. Give me a man who is secretly a little horrified/worried about being naked - that's what I would want. It would be a more honest experience for me.

Attractiveness is also intelligence, wit and humor: for a man to be attractive, he must be able to carry on a good conversation, and he must be able to laugh and to make a woman laugh. Add in, too, a bit of competence in a field of his choosing (he should know something about something); a smidgen of attentiveness (he remembers something she has said previously and mentions it); a morsel of thoughtfulness (he looks out for her comfort, either physical or emotional); and a dash of gentlemanly behavior (he occasionally opens that door for her). Also required:  Honesty. Trustworthiness. Reliability.

As you can see, handsomeness is a mere miniscule fraction of attractiveness:  it is, rather, the sum character of the man that makes him the most attractive.  I wonder whether many men are actually aware of this?  Well, my intrepid readers, at least those of you who are men now do.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. - Kahlil Gibran

Certainly a very handsome lizard.
Only the lady lizards can tell us for sure, though,
whether he is also an attractive lizard.