Thursday, January 18


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I am no beauty queen and never was, so I never expected to attract an Adonis. While I believe every person has some aspect that is beautiful, society does not judge this way. Although I saw many examples of what would be considered “plain” girls with men whose beauty rated high on society’s scale of Handsome and Fit, these qualities remained low on my list of “what I look for in a man”.


I dated more than one or two men. Most were not being considered as future husbands. I was pursuing a career and travelling, a husband was not a priority. So I was free to choose my companions and lovers not based on the things that make a good life partner, but for whatever reasons – their intelligence, interests, enthusiasm for life, sense of humor, romantic nature, passion, our mutual friends and social circles. If I wanted, I could choose them simply for how they looked. Some of my female friends chose partners based on how much they earned; their car, their apartment, their yacht (!), but status and money were never deciders for me. Other friends chose their men for their impressive biceps, handsome face, great hair or style. Again, for me these were not important.


Most of the men I was drawn to were average looking, or less than average! Some looked downright strange – too tall, too thin, irregular facial features, weird hair that never behaved itself, not enough hair, pale skin when tans were fashionable, no muscle definition. The first man in my life, my father, was no stunner. But he has a charismatic personality and is unceasingly kind and loving. Not only the women my mother’s age were attracted to him, even my school friends spoke adoringly of him. He set the benchmark for me, that there is far more to look for in a man than how he looks.


When I came to live in Egypt and became Muslim, I had no intention of being with more men, least of all an Adonis. There are thousands of men here who fit that ideal – Egyptian girls you are very lucky, though I know the women here don’t always see how beautiful their men are, and vice versa. I was also suspicious of any interest in me because many men here chase foreign women for the wrong reasons…Then I met Adonis!


The attraction was immediate, but not because he is beautiful of face and form. It was his kindness and personality, and that intangible something that draws a heart to a heart, a soul to a soul. Later I wrote him a long list of things I love about him, and his appearance is not mentioned. For one month I rebuffed his interest and even his kindness. Then I got sick and he really showed he was more than a pretty face and body, taking care of me like a brother. All the flowers and romantic words in the world or the most perfect physical beauty could never better that.


As we spent more time together I caught myself watching him in the same way I would look repeatedly at a beautiful view, and repeatedly wanting to touch him not simply as a lover, but as I would a beautiful animal, just for the pleasure of stroking the lines of his face and body. I started photographing him, though I had rarely photographed people before. I realized I had actually never taken a photo of any previous boyfriend or lover, but I was photographing him when he looked his best and when he looked his worst, which was still beautiful. He has a preference for not wearing many clothes. I believe this comes not from vanity or pride in his body, but due to working on a beach for most of his life. This makes the visual pleasure of being with him even more difficult to avoid or deny. Having a nearly naked Adonis making tea or cooking for you is a delight few women would complain about. The downside? “What downside?”you may wonder…


My Adonis is fortunately NOT one of those self obsessed creatures that give the name a negative connotation. He knows he is good looking and well built, but he knows there are others like this and does not think he is superior. He takes pride in his looks not from vanity, but from self-respect, because he believes in presenting his best face to the world. Or so he says…


I have given up trying to share bathroom mirror access when he is preparing and preening. When he ran out of hair product, my conditioner was immediately and unquestioningly taken over for his use. I delight in teasing him about his hair, which is now starting to thin, and ruffling it to mess up his perfected styling, but he takes this very seriously. I also like to look good and dress well, but he makes this more of a priority and it sometimes displaces the things that I think should be more important, for example I feel looking wonderful is not more important than being somewhere on time as promised.


He also knows the power of his looks, and although he would deny it he subtly uses those smiling eyes and fit body to charm people in his work and socially. This presses my jealousy button and no matter how much I trust him, I would feel more secure if he did not look so good and constantly have other people affirm this.


If you are going to fall for an Adonis, be prepared to give up jealousy and doubt, or live with recurring torture. He will see what he does because it is impossible to always hide your reactions to this, but there is no guarantee he will or even can change his behavior. And he can’t make himself ugly…so even if he behaves like an angel, others will be drawn to him.


Although I have become less self-conscious about my looks with age, I sometimes feel more insecure because of his near perfection. My feelings see-saw on this – sometimes I feel braver and unashamed because I have this Adonis in my life, at other times I am intensely aware that he will always be conscious of my lack of youth and beauty, no matter how he feels about me in other ways.


He may not be in my life forever, but it has been a pleasure to experience an Adonis. I still would not want him or any man just on the basis of how they look. Without my love of so many other aspects of him, I definitely could not live with the Adonis negatives.


My conclusion – never love an Adonis for his beauty only, but like any beauty that comes into your life, whether it is great art or nature’s magnificence, and treasure the moments you get to savor him.


By Susan Ryan

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