IT is a fact of very early observation that some law of contrariety underlies the sexual union. The manly man will always seek the most womanly woman; as the most womanly man will usually be found cohabiting with the most manly woman. Puny men have a decided preference for strong women and strong women seem to appreciate that preference by taking up with little men. Blondes prefer dark persons, or brunettes; those of long limbs, the short and stumpy; snub-nosed persons manifest a liking for the hawk-nosed; and, as Mantegazza, Allen, Walker and other psychological writers clearly demonstrate, "in the love of the sexes the charm of disparity goes beyond the standing differences of sex, as in contrasts of complexion, stature and physical features."1
It is well that knowledge of the laws governing sexual susceptibilities is usually confined to those whose wisdom prevents them from illegally exercising it. If the handsome young libertine possessed the insight into female character, and preferences, possessed by the wrinkled philosopher, society would soon fall before the success of his onslaughts. But the handsome young libertine is usually the most ignorant being in the world of everything except his own good looks; and these are far less potent with the sex than is commonly supposed. Wilks, the homeliest man in Great Britain, made himself the successful rival of the handsomest one—Lord Townsend— by his superior knowledge of woman's susceptibilities and his brilliant conversational powers;1 and there is none of us who cannot readily recall instances of society being set agog by unions of beautiful women with exceedingly homely men.
1 Bain, lac. cit., p. 136.
* Fine thoughts and witty speech in a man will more surely fascinate the average-girl than fine features; a fact which the stuttering fellow was apparently insensible of when, in paying his addresses to a young lady one evening, the conversation lagging, and he being anxious to avoid the impasse" of absolute silence, suddenly blurted out: "H-how's your mother? Not that I c-c-care a d—n, but it m-m-makes t-t-talk, you know."
Boldness and courage in approaching the vital question with a woman have also decided value. A comic periodical records the following conversation between two colored individuals over the telephone in proof of this statement:
The investigations of Professor Candolle in Germany and Switzerland, bearing upon this question of contrasts, elicited the fact that marriages in those countries, and in Belgium, are most usually contracted between persons with different colored eyes; except in cases of brown-eyed women, who are generally considered more attractive than others. Thus, if we find that a general standard of beauty, or attractiveness, exists among the race, we also discover that special characteristics appeal strongly to certain people; and that ideals exist in most, if not all, minds which conform only in very slight degree to a common standard.