Animal Magnetism

FBTF Prompt Image

This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were challenged:

What do you think makes up je ne sais quoi

For my honest answer, I have not one clue,
But I’ll take this question, and split into two.
I’ll look at myself, ask what others might see,
Then I’ll ask what, in them, might have value for me

The first half is hard, for no answer I’ve found,
I have issues galore and my fault lines abound,
It is something I’ve asked, from a juvenile age,
Just what metrics they use, how they measure my gauge.

The second half’s clear; how to capture my heart,
But again, if I may, can I split in two parts?
Never turned on by frame but excited by soul,
What they said, what they did, were the parts made them whole.

The first one is kindness; I am sure you’ll agree,
That a person excels when they think beyond “me”,
To put someone else first was a major attraction,
A sure way to elicit an upbeat reaction.

The next, I admit, that I’m up for a joust,
So I ‘preciate someone with similar nous,
They would have to be someone with whom I could spar,
Gave as good as she got, was my preference by far.

Those two traits, above all, are the items I cherish,
Neither riches, nor beauty, whose facade will perish,
When I found someone who had those things in good measure,
I would know beyond doubt I had someone to treasure.

I won’t repeat the poem in the post, but basically I have no clue what anyone ever saw in me.

I don’t mean that to feel sorry for myself. I mean, I had girlfriends, I have a wife. But I’ve no idea what they saw in me. (I did ask Mrs Bump, but she’d forgotten 🤣). And it’s something I learned not to analyse; not to worry about why they liked me, but just to be thankful that they did like me.

What I see in others, it’s a bit easier.

I know for sure it was not looks, from a very early age. And in any case, as a youngster, your hormones go wild and most other youngsters are attractive, somehow. At, like, twenty years old, there are very few people who are completely unattractive. To look at, in any case.

So I mention kindness in the poem, but actually it’s wider than that. It’s having similar values, a similar outlook. I spoke to someone once whose wife had totally different politics to them. I couldn’t do that. I’d want to know that we’re on the same page, at least. Especially with a partner, I wouldn’t want to think that certain subjects were off the table for fear of causing an argument.

Mrs Bump, by the way, doesn’t share my politics completely – I don’t think anyone ever did – but she comes from broadly the same direction.

So within that, kindness is a big part. That ability to put someone else ahead of yourself. It’s something I value so I would expect them to value it, too.

The other thing I mention is intellect. Because if you’re looking at someone as a potential partner, they’ve got to stimulate your brain, haven’t they? Don’t you think? I mean, what are you going to do for the 23½ hours when you’re not shagging? That’s a huge portion of each day to spend with nothing to say to each other.


  1. This is very good. I enjoyed it and it is true, what do people see in us? because I know I can’t see it in me. You spoke of two subjects important to me kindness and intellect, when I think of intellect, I think of someone who can keep up
    with my off-the-wall humor and it does take someone intelligent to do that. To understand where your mind is coming from. ( Lord help them)


    • That sounds very similar to me, which makes me won der whether what I wrote is just the general case.

      I’m glad you liked the poem. When I write for this prompt I always feel it’s a bit “quick and dirty” because I try to turn it around quickly. I generally publish something that, under normal circumstances, I’d think of as a first draft.

      But I thought that the poem I finally came up with was sweet, although I did decide on one of the easiest forms, just rhyming couplets.

      And it said what I wanted, which is always a bonus 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My partner and I disagree on everything. We used to debate about it, but now he’s a lot less tolerant, so I just don’t voice my opinion anymore

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely kindness and caring for others not a me itis which I’ve dated and married where there was no balance
    I think intellect means getting someone’s pov but being a know it all or worse using book knowledge to belittle others that to me is horrid

    Liked by 1 person

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