i was at my niece's birthday party a week or so ago when my dad told me about how he read that people are attracted to each other because of pheromones. specifically, he said, we respond to pheromones secreted by people with different immune systems than us. this makes sense since the offspring would have a more more complex immune system which would lead to a higher chance of survival. this bit of information from my dad surprised me because we have very different views on the evolutionary history of humans -- he believes god plays a big part in it while i barely believe in god. but whatever. the point of this retelling is you (and i mean i) would be surprised how many people believe that biological processes not controlled by our conscious self largely determine our social interactions.
lewis thomas talked about this stuff all the time. i think because he was an entomologist and saw humans sharing many of the characteristics of other social species like ants and bees. the example of his that comes to mind is how his researcher friend would measure his beard trimmings of periods of time he was out in the wild doing research where he didn't see any females versus the periods of time he lived in the city (and saw females and interacted with females all the time). he grew substantially more facial hair when he was around women.
twice in my life, i've created arbitrary checklists for girls i would be interested in. it's a stupid thing to do, but it was supposed to be a joke about people who prefer blonds over brunettes or whatever other superficial way we construct our dream baby. (i mean baby in a gender-inspecific, pet name kind of way, but mostly i used dream baby because i like the roy obirson song by the same name.) but the joke really didn't work because i didn't realize i was (and am) an idiot.
the first time i was 22 and had just got out of provo. my checklist: (1) didn't own a cellphone and (2) listened to the pixies. the first girl i liked after creating the checklist owned and regularly operated a cellphone and barely knew who the pixies were. the second checklist came a year later: (1) live within 15 minutes of me, (2) own a car since i hate to drive and (3) play(ed) soccer. the next girl i liked, while living close and owning a car, didn't like soccer.
so much for my checklists. but i'm ok with having no control over who i'm attracted to. i let my genes handle that.
(p.s. i used to think the pixies were cool and while i still like doolittle, the jesus and mary chain are way cooler.)