Until yesterday, I thought I knew what men like to see on a woman: Pretty much anything that makes us miserable. Like a wedgie-inducing thong. Or a micro-miniskirt that reveals an ass cheek with each micro-step, despite repeated attempts to pull it down. Or 3-inch stilettos with neck-breaking potential.

True, these accessories are sexy to men. But want to know what the #1 accessory is?

A book.

Yeah, I hear your skepticism. And, until yesterday, I would have been skeptical, too.

But, in yet another procrastination maneuver designed to avoid writing, I decided I needed to take a l-o-n-g walk. In the rain. So, bundled up in a shapeless sweater my grandmother probably wouldn’t wear and a scarf looped around my neck so many times that I could barely turn my head, I grabbed my eye glasses, a book, and my umbrella.

And off I went, umbrella up, FOREVER ODD in my hands, reading as I walked the streets of San Francisco.

“That must be a good book,” came a deep voice in front of me.

I looked up into the smiling face of a man walking his Pomeranian or some such faux dog. I smiled. “Yes, Dean Koontz is always a good read.”

He smiled, we made arcane small talk, and I went back to reading as I entered the crosswalk.

“Hi,” came another male voice.

I looked up. “Hi,” I said to the good-looking Latino man in front of me.

He smiled. I smiled. And, after spotting the wedding ring on his left hand, I went back to reading and walking.

“Hey,” said another guy.

I looked up and my heart did that stutter thing that I write about in books as I looked at the bad boy with the dazzling smile, wearing the hard hat. Dammnnn.

“Hi. Looks good,” I said motioning to the wall he was building, proud of the confidence in my voice, as if I knew a good wall from a bad wall.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. And you look good, too.” I said, smiling.

Surprise flitted across his face and his smile widened.

Surprise flitted through my body – I was surprised because I can rarely flirt without the help of a Long Island Ice Tea. Or two. Sometimes, it takes three.

Despite the lack of a wedding ring on his finger and the tingly thing his smile was doing to my insides, I walked away. Twenty-three years old was too young, even in this Decade of the Cougar.

But, this time, as I walked along, that tingly feeling was preventing total concentration on Koontz’s tale of a man who saw the dead.

“Wow. How do you do that?”

I looked up at the guy leaning against a wall, taking a cigarette break. “Do what?” Lust after twenty-something year olds?

He motioned to the book. “Walk and read. Don’t you stumble?”

Oh. That. “Well, occasionally I stumble. Once I walked into a street sign.”

I described the lump on my head from the metal pole, then the conversation went deep, as my stumbling became metaphoric for stumbles in life.

I won’t bore you with the remaining encounters. The point to all this is: When I’ve walked the streets in this same attire, book-less, rarely has anyone said a word to me or spared me much of a second glance. But, book in hand, suddenly half the guys I pass want to chat.

So. I’m convinced that men find books on a woman sexy. And I’m convinced that books are the new guy magnet. Anyone want to borrow FOREVER ODD ?

17 Comments

  • Amie Stuart Posted Dec 7 1:52 pm

    OMG I am SO going out walkting……and I have Odd Thomas sitting in my TBR Pile! (and FWIW I got tingly reading this)

  • Amie Stuart Posted Dec 7 2:05 pm

    Gaw I can’t spell!

  • Rachelle Posted Dec 7 2:28 pm

    I highly recommend putting ODD THOMAS on the top of your TBR stack – even if you don’t use it as a guy magnet. LOL

    And glad I could send a few tingles your way. 🙂

  • Calista Fox Posted Dec 7 2:58 pm

    Lusting after those twenty-somethings… Rachelle, you naughty girl! LOL

    I’ve found that laptops are sexy accessories as well. When I settle in with mine at a lounge or a coffee shop or the airport bar, it always sparks conversations. I think it’s because men are secretly disappointed when we have something that takes our attention away from them, something that’s more interesting than meeting them. That seems to be when they want us the most!

    So if you’re in the market for a new man, find a public place and stick your nose in a book or pull out your laptop. Chances are good, the guy next to you will start up a conversation!

  • Sophie Littlefield Posted Dec 7 4:09 pm

    Hey Sugar –
    Well I been walkin with a book under my nose since I was about 11 and it doesn’t seem to work that way for me! I think it must have had something to do with your darlin self 🙂 I LOVE all the Odd Thomas books. If you accidentally knock down any sexy 40-ish bookworms, let me know (you can keep the babies! 🙂
    – Sophie

  • Rachelle Chase Posted Dec 7 4:18 pm

    Calista – I totally agree with you on the laptop in bars. That, too, surprised me by being a guy magnet. Hmmmm … I hadn’t considered that the interest could be due to the fact that we’re ignoring them. Some food for thought.

    Sophie – The ODD THOMAS books are great, aren’t they? I’d love it if they made them into a movie – or a series. Or, maybe they already have and I’ve missed them, due to my lack of t.v. ??

  • Rachelle Chase Posted Dec 7 4:25 pm

    Ladies, ladies, you totally misunderstood my ‘lust’ for the hottie. My reaction was simply an involuntary reaction to his good looks. 🙂 And, since I need LOTS of practice in the flirting area, I just could not resist the opportunity. LOL

    Oh, Sophie, I just noticed you slipped a compliment in there. Thank you but … it was definitely the book.

  • raine Posted Dec 8 12:15 am

    I don’t think I buy it, lol.
    Honey, first of all you’re a good-looking woman.
    Secondly, Calista and I had the same thought, I’m afraid. Probably has more to do with the fact that they’re being IGNORED than anything else.
    I know.
    Cynical.

  • Rachelle Chase Posted Dec 8 9:01 am

    Raine, I’ve been known to be cynical myself on occasion. 🙂 And being ignored could be the appeal of some.

    But, I think the book or the laptop also gives men an opening, an excuse to say something to a woman. Even though they encounter rejection more than women by being the pursuer, there are men who go out of their way to avoid rejection. The book or laptop gives them a safe way to start a conversation, gauge the woman’s interest, and decide the next move from there.

    Then, there are those who are simply being friendly.

    What do you think?

    Interesting discussion … thanks for sharing your opinion!

  • raine Posted Dec 8 8:15 pm

    The book or laptop gives them a safe way to start a conversation, gauge the woman’s interest, and decide the next move from there.

    Good point, and I’d thought of that too. Bringing up the book is safe territory, something ‘neutral’ a guy can say to someone to test the waters, or move on if he decides he’s not interested.
    But I think it was the fact that, for the most part, they were ‘good-looking’ men, and such men rarely taste rejection (there’s that cynicism again!).
    But good-looking men are probably more likely to believe that book couldn’t POSSIBLY be more interesting than they are, lol.
    I know, that sounds AWFUL! 😀

  • Rachelle Chase Posted Dec 12 6:58 pm

    Raine, you really think good-looking men rarely face rejection? This probably reflects poorly on me but … I’ve been known to ignore (i.e., avoid looking at) a man I considered truly gorgeous, thinking that he has women swooning at his feet by the dozens, so why should I be yet another one. To make matters worse, if a truly gorgeous man flatters me, I’ve been known to distrust his motives, thinking that he’s a player, etc. unless proven otherwise. Now, THAT sounds awful.

    Also, I’ve lived in L.A. where everyone seems to think they’re beautiful and yet no one seems to acknowledge anyone else’s beauty, so there’s a lot of rejection going on in the beautiful crowd.

    So … all this is to say, while good looking guys definitely have it easier/better and face a lot less rejection, I’m not sure that rejection is a novelty to them or that there aren’t some insecure good looking guys out there.

    Now, while you’re being cynical, maybe I’m just being downright idealistic. 🙂

  • Virginia H. Posted Dec 17 2:55 pm

    I’m not sure I could walk and read at the same time, I would fall on my face. I have found a few men in my life that love to read, so maybe some think it is sexy.

  • Rachelle Chase Posted Dec 26 2:18 pm

    You’re not alone, Virginia. I have had my mishaps while walking and reading. If I make it without stumbling at least once, I consider the experience a success. 🙂

    A man who loves to read. Ah, now, there’s a perfect date … the two of us and two books. LOL

  • Rita St. Claire Posted Jan 14 7:26 pm

    Rachelle, Your story makes me wish I weren’t a married woman, lol. On the other hand, maybe I’ll walk the streets of San Francisco with a book one of these days. Though I can’t touch, I still like to look, and maybe I’ll see some hot guys whom I can write into my books as heroes. An experimental and fun way to spend a day and to get material for writing! Heart, Rita

  • Michelle Lauren Posted Feb 16 11:37 am

    Hey Rachelle,

    I haven’t done the reading and walking thing since I was in high school. But I agree with your points. That’s happened to me very often, more so when I’m scavenging for good reads in bookstores. The intensity of my search seems to emit a radar signal to men because it never fails that several men will approach me asking about my read, or asking me out. However, when I’m into my books, I’m not paying anyone else much mind, so the point is pretty much moot.

    I think the attraction has to do with a woman’s sense of peace, which exudes from her expression, as well a man’s curiosity. To a lot of people, they can’t believe you find a book more interesting than them. Hence, it builds their interest in you. It makes them curious, so they pursue. I think the appeal works both ways. If I saw a man avidly reading a book, or staring avidly at a work of art, I would get curious about him, want to know what’s going through his mind. Whether I would dredge up the boldness to ask him, though, is a different story.

    On a different note (and sorry to toot my own horn on your blog, Rachelle): I just finished my first post on the Naughty Girls Next Door about my least favorite euphemisms in love scenes. For the readers, you can visit the blog HERE . Please stop by and contribute to the discussion. Enjoy!

    Warm regards,
    Michelle Lauren

  • Rita St. Claire Posted Feb 17 10:27 am

    Hi, Rachelle,

    Loved this post, especially the idea of lusting after 23-year-olds. 🙂 Only kidding, right?

    Anyway, this restores my faith in the male gender. Maybe I’ll take to walking with a book as a way of chatting with random people whom I can then turn into characters in a book. Who knows!

    And I do have to agree with one of the previous posters–you’re a good lookin’ gal. Add a book to that, and what’s not for a smart, sharp guy to like?

  • Rita St. Claire Posted Feb 17 10:28 am

    Oops. I see I’m getting repetitive. That lusting after 23-YO’s must be what did it.

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