The world is a smorgasbord of hotties. This is not a surprise, especially if you're from Sweden or Southern California, where a disproportionate number of babes, models, hot chicks, and sexy coeds originate. For single men, the landscape is an almost mind-numbing swath of feminine beauty, and like browsing the farmer's market, the bachelors can look and date at will. There's a reason the word allure contains a word also used in fishing. Those with godlike powers of persuasion could easily maintain a casual dating regimen to cover much of the population of perfectly proportioned pulchritudinous princesses.
But what about men who are firmly entrenched in a relationship? Is it morally acceptable for attached males to scope out the cuties?
As one of those attached males, I have firsthand experience with this issue; living in Southern California, I have the blessing and curse of being confronted with the bountiful crop of beautiful women and the instinctual male urge to simply look. Forget lust, this is like driving by a horrible traffic collision. Like car accidents, women prompt autonomic ocular responses. And like rubbernecking, there's a sense that if not reprehensible, the gazing from afar is not exactly high value activity, especially if you're in a committed relationship to a woman you may have previously rubbernecked before you became attached to her.
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Can guys make mental maps of the feminine representatives without falling into the soul-damning territory of adultery and fornication?
Here I will step out of my role as beleaguered man and step into the role of impartial observer, and point to Ace of Cakes and beta fish as an answer to the dilemma at hand.
Ace of Cakes is a television show that features a master baker and his team of elite pastry specialists creating a cake for a client; perhaps the cake is for a wedding, or a bar mitzvah, or in honor of a bicentennial. The cake created for each event is a work of art in its own right, and often is elaborately built with materials rivaling those used in large construction projects.
One gets the sense that these cakes are the most beautiful baked goods ever created, but after all the sawing and cutting and painting, the thought of tasting these cakes is almost abhorrent. Not only would it be a crime to destroy these works of art by cutting into and consuming them, but that even to do so would result in dissatisfaction; the cake is not meant to be eaten, only admired and appreciated.
Back to beleaguered hero: to men with a woman (beautiful or not) on their arm, other beautiful women are like the cakes baked by the Ace.
Put another way, the ladies pass in and out of the male consciousness like betas in a twenty gallon tank. We see them on the street, they occupy the moment and possibly co-opt our glandular functionality, but six seconds later, the memory and the moment are gone. To restrict or morally judge as unacceptable the very nature of male existence is not only anti-Darwinian, it is scientifically impossible.
However, we are not only creatures of instinct, but we are creatures of reason. Men must know the line they walk is always precarious, and must guard against the incursions of infidelity and the tyranny of titillation. When it comes to the babes that pass in the night, there might be no better mantra than that of the goldfish: To look is human; to forget is ichthyine.