(Photo by CarbonNYC/Flickr)
By Soren Bowie
It turns out Joe Donatelli’s column isn’t the only one to tackle the issue of attraction. Along with magazines, books, TV shows, and seminars, we devote a shocking amount of time and tree pulp to the question of what we look for in a mate. Even scientists, who really ought to be working on cancer and hover-boards have taken stabs at dissecting and understanding the pillars of sexual attraction.
And yet, despite all the time and test tubes, the answers are unsatisfactory, or at the very least, incomplete. Men and women are still walking around, inexplicably, un-laid. I want to take this opportunity to throw my hat into the ring and present a thesis on sexuality, particularly on what personality traits women look for in men and how men can best express these traits, all in an effort to facilitate the sexual process for both sexes. Oh, and it involves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So take a break scientists, grab a Mr. Pibb and kick back, I’ve got this one covered.
For anyone who missed or ignored the era of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ worldwide popularity (roughly 1988 to 1992), shame on you, they were seminal role models for millions of children and crucial to my thesis. The premise of the show, toys, comic and movie is simple: After being exposed to green ooze four turtles mutate into quasi-human teenagers who study martial arts under a rat-man kung fu expert. They all live in the sewers of Manhattan fighting crime in secrecy and eating pizza.
What separates the Ninja Turtles from nearly every other hero group in comics or cartoons is that every child has a different favorite. While X-Men had Wolverine, Transformers had Optimus Prime, and ThunderCats had Lion-O, the Ninja Turtles had four equally awesome characters, separated only by weapons, mask color and most importantly, personality. In fact, personality was so important in distinguishing them from one another that the cartoon devoted the majority of the theme song to outlining each turtle’s best attributes; kind of like a video dating service ad coupled with music and seizure-inducing clips of ninja fights.
The characters break down like this:
Leonardo: The leader. Courageous and goal-oriented, he is driven by honor and consistently puts duty before self.
Donatello: The genius. He prefers to solve problems through intellect but is willing to fight if necessary. He is quiet in comparison to the others and quasi-nerdy.
Raphael: The black sheep. He is sensitive, cynical, moody and quick to fight. His aggressiveness is only outweighed by his loyalty.
Michelangelo: The joker. Driven by impulse and the desire for fun, he is easily the most adventurous and comical of the four.
At 8 years old, I didn’t choose a favorite ninja turtle based on who I most wanted to be, but rather on who was most like me. So how does my favorite ninja turtle translate to what women look for in a man? It turns out that in the majority of research, surveys, and experiments done on the subject, four main characteristics continually surface that women note as desirable. They are: ambition, intelligence, passion and a sense of humor, or in other words, all the attributes of the ninja turtles, respectively.
Now, I’m well aware that it’s not that simple. Basing female attraction as a whole on only four male qualities is naïve, and as useless as all the other articles that attempt to sum up the subject in 700 words. Hell, I’m not even accounting for physical appeal and most women I know don’t maintain much of an interest in having sex with turtles, mutants or underage teens. But I will argue that a large chunk of what makes a man “relationship material” is built on his sense of responsibility, his intellect, his sensitivity and his wit.
How important each one of these traits are The importance of each trait is dependent on the woman, and she will inevitably prioritize one or two over the others. Furthermore, no one Ninja Turtle has all the attributes to keep a woman interested, but people are more complex than cartoon characters. Even at 8, I knew that I shared attributes with every one of them, but I identified most with Donatello in particular, as I assume Joe did, even outside the uncanny name and head-shape coincidence.
(God, I love being a turtle.)
So finally, here is my advice to women. The next time you’re at dinner, ask your date who his favorite Ninja Turtle is. You’ll learn more about him in one word than you would in hours of idle conversation. And if he tells you he doesn’t know them well enough to say, you should probably consider crawling out of a bathroom window and escaping the date.
Joe’s note: I have turned the column over to guest columnists for the rest of the month of April. Soren Bowie is a writer and comedian in Los Angeles.