My best friend is a guy. We have tons in common and have conversations that are lively, honest, and deep. He’s basically everything I’ve ever wanted in my future husband, but he has an infatuation for Filipina women half his age. I’m 37, his age, and Caucasian. His plan is to find and marry a girl from the Philippines. In fact, he is so stuck on marrying a Filipina that he is learning to speak Tagalog and travels to the Philippines twice a year but has yet to have anything work out. I maintain hope that he’ll eventually develop the attraction to me that I have for him and that compatibility will trump looks, because he often tells me how much he appreciates me. Am I fooling myself, or could he outgrow his Filipina fetish?
— Boring American Woman
If people could override their physical attractions, strip clubs could hire homely but very kind women to bare only their souls. For the price of a lap dance, they’d tell a man all about their work easing the suffering of cancer patients or nursing stray dogs back to health. Afterward, he’d go home to his hot but mean wife and do his marital duty —
while fantasizing about Martha getting little Buster to a really good home.
Whenever you start looking at your friend through future-husband-colored glasses, remind yourself that the guy’s learning Tagalog, and not because he calls the cable company and they say, “Press one for Tagalog.” Lust is a powerful and automatic biochemical reaction driven by sex hormones in the brain. One study by Dr. Ingrid R. Olson suggests that we appraise whom we find hot in 13 milliseconds or less — approximately 25 to 30 times faster than an eye blink. And unfortunately, we can’t rejigger whom we lust after — any more than we can convince ourselves that something that smells like ass really smells like lily of the valley.
You need to stop focusing on how you click with this guy. I also really click with my friend Debbie, but when I look at her and feel longing, it’s to ask her where she got her barrette. This means we’re well-matched as friends and hair accessory shoppers but nothing more. What you need is a guy with a you fetish — one who thinks you’re the hottest thing since he leaned back, trying to look cool for you, and burned his hand on the party host’s stove. To find that man, banish your Filipina-phile from your mind as anything more than a friend with a thing for women who aren’t you. If that’s hard to do, stop hanging out with him so much until it stops being hard. Save for meeting a fairy godmother in the supermarket and having her transform you into a 4-foot-11, 18-year-old hottie from Manila, there’s only one way you’ll ever make this guy fall for you, and that’s by installing a tripwire.