Why are animals, small children, and musicians drawn to me?
May 13, 2016 11:58 AM   Subscribe

My kids and I were watching Evan Almighty and when the animals started following him, they all burst out, Mom, that's you! It's weird. Dogs that never jump on people jump on me. I've had horses and elephants (at the zoo) start rushing towards me to try and get closer. Children will follow me. I've never been to a small venue concert where the musician didn't make eye contact and try and talk to me after.

I'm 5'3 and curvy/trim with long brown hair. I'm still and quiet often, and I'm always smiling. My best friend is sure that I'm giving off some sort of pheromones. What is this? Is this common? Am I totally weird?
posted by myselfasme to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Animals tend to be attracted to people that aren't staring at them as that's a sign of aggression, it also works with shy children. Your size might help to as dogs find people that are looming over them threatening, as would your quietness, quiet high pitched voices are very non threatening. I had to learn to speak like that on purpose when I learned to ride, soft high singsong voices & I've found it very effective in dog training too. People like me who are large, move & talk quickly & loudly can absolutely terrify a nervous animal so it's something I've worked hard to overcome as I have two nervous rescue dogs.

I imagine if you are quiet at a concert the musicians are thinking you aren't having a good time so might be reaching out to you to try & engage you more.
posted by wwax at 12:12 PM on May 13, 2016

I'm the same - a bit shorter, but otherwise same hair and body type and demanor - and owners of animals I've never met are always shocked when their unfriendly pets are drawn over. Same with kids and babies. I don't think it's pheromones at all - more that we're short enough that we come off as unthreatening, and women in general may appear as less of a threat. It could be that a combination of size and shape hits some sweet spot of appearing as safe, instead of threatening or unpredictable.
posted by umwhat at 12:21 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Happens to me, too. Often enough that even casual acquaintances have remarked on it. I am much taller than you, so I don't know that it's size. I've always attributed it to having really calm energy. But only because it's the only thing I can think of.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thirding this happens to me too. I'm quite tall as well (5'10"), and on preview, have narrow set eyes and a huge nose, so. Babies ALWAYS smile and giggle at me. Just yesterday on a train into Paris, a couple of kids spontaneously started playing hide and seek with me. Seriously, if there is a kid within eyesight, it will smile and giggle at me.

I have made friends with the humans of so many animals it's not even funny. Because animals just up and say hi to me as well. Dudes with appearances that most people are afraid of will look at me like O.o; as their supposedly-tough dog snorfles my hand, tail wagging.

People who know me well agree with the calm energy theory. The people closest to me all say they feel at peace around me; and FWIW, I have noticed in my life that even people who act like they can't stand me (and this can go pretty far, y'know, people can be wack) still trust me, in very concrete, surprising ways.
posted by fraula at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]

(Don't kill me, my ex was a scientist) but don't discount confirmation bias
posted by kapers at 12:52 PM on May 13, 2016 [13 favorites]

Kids and dogs - happens to me too. People asking for directions or change or whatever, yes. (Musicians - maybe will chalk that up to something else.... ) Have resting nice face and the features fingersandtoes mentioned. Am slightly taller than average, taller in boots, broad shouldered with medium build. Energy varies... Wouldn t say "calm". Doubting the pheromone theory and edging toward " non threatening looking and smiley"
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:55 PM on May 13, 2016

It's the smiling. Smile and the world smiles with you...
posted by Right On Red at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2016

It's our rainbow auras. Animals, babies and sensitive others react to them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:14 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Don't discount the smelling like cookies.
posted by Thug at 3:25 PM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

I think it's basically that you're making eye contact with them first. They notice you noticing them.
posted by Miko at 4:03 PM on May 13, 2016

I have the same thing and I am short, with a button nose. I always assumed that it was a combination of being non-threatening and having a calm energy.

I once had someone tell me in a role play in an interview that I could tell them anything and they would believe me. Which may or may not be true but I have found that people trust me ridiculously quickly, and presumably animals as well given how comfortable they are with me.

Which is the long way of saying that I think there's something about us that invokes a very trusting response.
posted by scrute at 4:20 PM on May 13, 2016

I don't know, but I think you should run for office and use your super powers for good.
posted by areaperson at 4:28 PM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

fingersandtoes, my features are typical cajun french- large nose and slightly large almond shaped eyes.

I think it must be the calm thing. Glad it's not just me. People's reactions to it were making me feel a little weird. Thanks, guys!
posted by myselfasme at 6:36 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I find this happens to me with animals always, children often, and adults when I'm doing loving-kindness meditation on a regular basis, and especially when I start concentrating in the moment of interaction on expanding my heart and taking that person into my compassion. It always reminds me (for better or worse) of this passage from Douglas Adams:
...They wrapped themselves in animal skins and furs which Ford Prefect acquired by a technique he once learned from a couple of ex‐Pralite monks running a Mind-­Surfing resort in the Hills of Hunian.

The galaxy is littered with ex‐Pralite monks, all on the make, because the mental control techniques the Order have evolved as a form of devotional discipline are, frankly, sensational -- and extraordinary numbers of monks leave the Order just after they have finished their devotional training and just before they take their final vows to stay locked in small metal boxes for the rest of their lives.

Ford's technique seemed to consist mainly of standing still for a while and smiling.

After a while an animal -- a deer perhaps -- would appear from out of the trees and watch him cautiously. Ford would continue to smile at it, his eyes would soften and shine, and he would seem to radiate a deep and universal love, a love which reached out to embrace all of creation. A wonderful quietness would descend on the surrounding countryside, peaceful and serene, emanating from this transfigured man. Slowly the deer would approach, step by step, until it was almost nuzzling him, whereupon Ford Prefect would reach out to it and break its neck.

"Pheromone control," he said it was, "you just have to know how to generate the right smell."
posted by lazuli at 6:54 PM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]

This is true of my mom, as well. She's just a person that is calming and you always feel like she's compassionate. I wish I'd inherited this trait.
posted by purpletangerine at 8:23 PM on May 13, 2016

People tend to speak specifically to me (48 year-old short, plump woman) when I'm part of a group--I put it down to making eye contact and nodding, etc., so I appear to be really listening. Also, strangers tell me their entire life stories, problems, or secrets far more often than seems common for most. My husband is ADORED by children and dogs pretty much universally. He's super-tall and "funny looking," and babies seem to find him hilarious. Some people just have the ineffable "it."
posted by thebrokedown at 8:18 PM on May 15, 2016

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