After our friends left, I said to my boyfriend, "It's easy to see how people fall in love at work. You spend so much time with someone, and if you already find them attractive, it's probably hard to keep it from happening."
"Huh?" he replied. "Are you thinking of J? She's not all that. I mean, yes, she's cute, but she's not THAT cute."
Occasionally you hear someone described as a woman all the other women want to be, and all the men want to be with. But usually, that isn't the case.
I decided to delve deeper into this subject, and collect some data. I asked them both to rate her on the same set of criteria. I thought I'd find a big discrepancy, but I didn't.
She gave her a 6.5 for 'beauty' and my boyfriend gave her a 7 (with the comment that there certainly must be something better than a 7 on the trading floor, like the chick on the FX desk). They both gave her an 8 for 'body'.
They disagreed on 'style' - he gave her a 7 and she gave her an 8 (reinforcing the idea that women dress for other women).
He found it easy to give her an 8.5 for 'personality', and my friend found it hard to give her a 6.5 for personality, since she doesn't really know her, but she seems like a nice, normal, balanced person. This is perhaps not surprising given the fact that usually women take interpersonal matters to heart more than men do.
For 'complete package', he gave her an 8 and she gave her an 8.5. If we had simply taken the average of the earlier scores instead of treating this as a stand-alone category, his score for her would have been a 7.625, and hers would have been a 7.25.
But my friend felt strongly about this: "She is an example of the sum being greater than its parts. It's not that she's oh-so beautiful, but she's cute and she's skinny and she accentuates her assets. She's also got a good fashion sense that is just a little edgy and seems somewhat effortless. And she is smart, and seems nice. She's the whole package."
The sum is greater than its parts. The whole package.
My boyfriend still isn't that impressed. But I'll be swapping my mantra "Less is more" for "The sum is greater than its parts."