Every Day Poets Publication and Commentary: Strange Bedfellow


I actually wrote this poem back in my mid-twenties, which, believe me, was more than a few years ago, so it’s pretty amazing I still had it lying around. I’d been through a few boyfriends by then and had really started thinking about what it was that I find attractive in a man. I guess I already knew that I wasn’t unduly impressed by appearances – I mean, I’ve never understood why I should get all hot and bothered by chiseled features or a cleft chin – but it was only then that I started to understand what it was that I did find appealing in members of the opposite sex. And the answers, frankly, rather surprised me. Because it turned out that, like the rest of us, I’m inexplicably drawn to certain physical characteristics. They’re just not, perhaps, the typical ones.

Glasses, for instance. Warm, expressive eyes are a must for me in a man, but there’s no question that I prefer them framed by a pair of lenses. Don’t ask me why; I can’t even begin to guess. Brunettes over blondes, although I did have a huge crush on a redhead a while back, so who knows? I love an afro on a black man, but big hair on a white guy leaves me cold. I’m not partial to beards but I’m not offended by them either; mainly I just like the feel of not-quite-clean-shaven cheeks. Muscles are fine as long as they don’t get in the way of a nice round beer belly, and I never ever want to lay my head back against a set of six-pack abs. I feel safe enveloped in the long arms of a tall man, but I like seeing eye-to-eye with a short one, too. Thin may be pretty, and healthy, too, of course, but given my choice, I prefer a substantial man, one whose weight you can really feel on your body. And when I think about the wide variety of qualities I find appealing in men, it becomes clear to me how it all boils down. There’s something attractive in everyone. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it.

Nobody really understands all of the nuances of what goes into physical attraction. How can you look at someone you know would not be considered attractive by most people and still think they’re the hottest thing walking? The bottom line is, when it comes to choosing a mate, what I really want is a man who looks nice, who looks kind; someone I’ll be happy to go to bed with every night and wake up with every morning; a man who’s a comfort to look at and to feel by my side. And maybe that’s not a feature you can pinpoint with characteristics and measurements; maybe it really is a quality that comes from within.        

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