"Ohmygod," she panted, setting her wine down so hard it sloshed on the table. "I love him."
"It's a good song," I agreed tepidly.
"No, I mean I really love him. The song, the voice, the man – I really want to throw my panties when I hear Tom Petty."
Since I was in her line of fire, I scooted back a little. Then I considered her words more carefully.
"I hear him sing The Ballad of the Snow Leopard and the Tanquery Cowboy and I feel warm and tingly in my swimsuit areas."
She stared at me. "That's the weirdest sentence I've ever heard anyone utter."
It's true though. I can admit Lyle Lovett isn't conventionally attractive, and neither is Tom Petty. Yet both men spark the same reaction in two reasonably sane women. I've had similar conversations with other pals who feel urgently smitten with people who fall pretty far outside the stereotype of traditional human beauty. One friend is madly in love with actor Steve Buscemi, while another swoons over Ernest Hemmingway and a third desperately wishes to get naked with singer Bruce Cockburn (it's pronounced "co-burn," perverts).
It's an interesting phenomenon, but my Tom Petty loving friend had a quick explanation. "They're the boys who speak to your soul."
That made sense to me even after the wine wore off. There's this intangible, magical chemistry that draws one person to another, and it often defies easy explanation. I've read sloppily written romance novels where the author tries to convince the the reader two people are meant to be together simply because they find each other attractive and feel the urge to ride the baloney pony together.
Certainly that's part of creating a compelling romance, but it's not all there is to it. Capturing the inexplicable, magnetic thing that pulls one person toward another is a whole lot tougher for an author to do. It's not easy to show one person speaking to the soul of another, but it's something I strive for in any love story I write.
Do you have any inexplicable crushes on a famous person who doesn't fit the traditional mold of attractiveness? Can you name examples in books or movies of great outside-the-box chemistry? Please share!
I need a moment or two alone with Lyle.