Adonis was one of the Greek fertility gods, associated with the seasons and rebirth, and supposedly so handsome that when he died -- killed by a boar sicced on him by another god he pissed off -- women everywhere lamented loudly and rent their garments in their grief.
Years ago, my collaborator Reaves was hanging out with another writer we know. This fellow, who in his youth was apparently quite the handsome fellow, had blond hair he wore long and was apparently striking, a seventies Greg Allman look. (I didn't meet him until he had, um, aged somewhat, and was less of a traffic-stopper.)
So Reaves tells the story about how he and -- call him Byron -- were somewhere in L.A. and this drop-dead gorgeous young woman crosses the street to accost them. She stands in front of Byron dewy-eyed and drop-jawed and says, "Oh. You are beautiful!"
After she leaves, floating off, one assumes, on a cloud of lust and awe, Reaves turns to Bryon and gives him A Look.
"Happens all the time," Bryon says, shrugging it off.
You can imagine Reaves's reaction to this.
How must it feel to be that physically attractive?
(Uh, for the regular crowd of guys who drop round here, don't bother to start clearing your throats and raising your hands. I've met many of you, seen pictures or vids of others, and while you don't have visages that would necessarily stop clocks or terrify small children, neither do you you have looks that would cause gorgeous women to stop in their tracks to stare in open-eyed wonder, either. Unless you are Fabio, posting under a screen-nom ...)
In some ways, such beauty would be an obvious advantage. Good-looking people tend to get better jobs, invited to social functions, past the rope at exclusive clubs. On the other hand, if you are so handsome that people will have you to their parties just to spruce up the decor, that might stunt your growth, personality-wise. If all you have to do is stand there and be eye-candy, you don't have to bother to be smart, funny, or educated. (This applies to women, too, of course.)
If you are past handsome and ranging into pretty, that might not be something that gains you male camaraderie. (Or, if you are hetero, it might be something that gets you male attention you'd rather not have.)
If, like most of us, you have looks that don't repel, but also don't cause people to cross the road to get a better view, then you have to develop some other resources to get along. I've never been a showstopper, but I always felt that once somebody got to know me, I could charm them or make them laugh, and that goes a long way to add to one's attractiveness.
A lot of women love men who can make them laugh.
Of course, there are always the bad boys, who might not have Greek-god looks, but who have about them that sense of danger that attracts. And different people find other things attractive. See a short, wide, bald guy of fifty with a tall, leggy woman of thirty, and you wonder what it is she sees in him. Could be a lot of things -- wit, compassion, humor, some unseen physical attribute, even something as simple as a lot of money.
Some of these attributes you can keep long after your physical beauty fades. As it happened, Bryon was funny, smart, literate, and a good writer. That's hardly fair.
Women have more of a problem with this than men, at least from what I know of it, but it would make for an interesting character study in a story to have an ordinary-joe be transformed into somebody with movie-star looks in an instant, and see how he deals with the results -- a kind of reverse Black Like Me, or Fat Like Me ...