What Aesthetics Turn You On?

Isn’t it weird how attraction works?

There are sometimes specific reasons you can point to: clear answers to the question, “Why am I attracted to this person/quality/feature?” And sometimes the answers are less clear.

It can have to do with our formative experiences. I’ve had a thing for fauxhawks, particularly dyed-purple ones, ever since my first girlfriend at age 15 rocked one in the Facebook profile photos I pored over during many a lovelorn late night.

It can have to do with what makes us feel sexy. I know my predilection for staring at 1950s-inspired lingerie is all about my hyper-femme identity: when my eyes roam all over babely pinup models in product shots, I get turned on not because I want to fuck those women but because I want to be those women. And I know I feel beautiful when I wear what they’re wearing.

The line gets blurry a lot. I have occasional days when all I want to wear is impeccably tailored pants, beautiful silk neckties, crisp collared shirts, and shiny lace-up brogues – and I’m not sure whether that comes from my own gender fluctuations or from a fundamental desire to fuck people who dress like that. It makes me happy to tart myself up like a dapper dandy from time to time, so I don’t question it too much.

I have a vision board (also known by its technical name, “a corkboard with a bunch of pictures pinned to it”) which I created to evoke the feelings of my ideal relationship, and how my ideal partner would make me feel. It’s covered in pictures of cute people (boys, girls, androgynes, and others) variously wearing geek glasses, plaid flannel, leather jackets, V-neck cashmeres, Pucci bowties, and sharp blazers.

But I also get dark stirrings of something like lust when I see feminine ladies rocking thigh-high socks, bouncy pigtails, tight striped sweaters, fit-and-flare dresses, perfectly-applied red lipstick, platform wedges, and/or neat little hair bows. I’ve never particularly wanted to date or fuck a rockabilly femme in real life, but they own permanent property in the fantasy-visuals sector of my brain.

Oh, who knows why we like what we do?!

What aesthetics turn you on? What clothing, accessory, or hairstyle makes you want to climb someone like a tree? And do you know where those feelings come from, or are they just sorta random for you?

Image credits, clockwise from top left: Beautiful illustration by Cameron Stewart. Leather-and-gingham street fashion photo via Costin M. Photo of Andy Samberg and Joanna Newsom (babeliest couple ever?!) from the Independent Spirit Awards via People StyleWatch. Screencap of Olly Alexander from the God Help the Girl movie (watch it, it’s visually and sonically stunning). Santiago and Diaz illustration by Celeste Doodles.