Dear Lady Claudia,
Here is my Why Do You Love Snape Answer and I've done my level best to be honest and accurate. As I've hit on any points I think are key to my personal responses I've shown those in bold:
The first point is that I noticed him. What made me notice Snape in the book / film?
The way he uses his voice (maybe male voice
quality is important to women; it seems to matter very much to me).
His eloquence - an instant attention-grabber as it is a talent I hold in high esteem, perhaps because I don't have it myself.
Then I kept watching out for him. Things that maintained my attention in the book / film:
His repeated menacing presence - it is repellent
or it is fascinating, but it is hard to ignore!
The puzzle of his attitude; so untypical of his peers.
The apparent mismatch between his attitude and his position of trust.
His physical appearance and the way he conducts himself - very different to the common herd.
I also find his robes and long hair physically attractive. (This is also true of other wizards e.g. Dumbledore, particularly his 'sweeping auburn hair' as described in Book 2, and Lucius Malfoy as Jason Isaacs portrays him in the films; and historical characters such as Alan Rickman's portrayal of Colonel Brandon and the many film portrayals of the Scarlet Pimpernel).
I also find Snape's elegance of movement attractive. (This is also true of the characters mentioned above plus English actors Ian Richardson in very many roles, and Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.)
I obviously respond to 'romantic but tough' rather than 'rough/rugged/macho' - in my subconscious it may be related to prejudice about social class.
I also 'respond' to dark/cold e.g. Frollo in the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron in Tolkien's books The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. I think this is something to do with being attracted to powerful figures and wanting to heal them of their bitterness, although the total badness of Morgoth and Sauron makes them one-dimensional and inadequate compared to the complexity that is Snape. I have seen it written that 'bad is more interesting than good' and yes I agree with that up to a point but I think that Snape's complex mix is even more interesting than 100% evil.
Aside from the Rowling novels and HP films - if I knew Snape as a real person his intellect would hold my interest - I have no time for air-heads or people who are genuinely shallow. I say genuinely to distinguish this from those who use flippancy etc to protect or conceal their true selves.
Having 'observed' Snape, what did I find?
A. He's intelligent and talented but deliberately not showy - he adopts a style of understatement. (I think of that as being very English because I've been brought up with the notion that 'the English have a gift for understatement' but I don't actually know if that's true or merely prejudice.)
B. Even though he is opposite in style to the flamboyant Gilderoy Lockharts of this world, Snape still could be accused of being a poser, but if that is a just accusation it does not alter the fact that his style is fare more rare than Lockhart's.
C. He seems resentful and ill at ease;
which trigger my caring instincts as well as my curiosity.
D. Some aspects of his looks might put me off.
E. I cannot yet solve the mystery of his attitude. (If I ever do, will I stop caring at that point? Will that switch off the magic?) There is a chasm between what he says and how he says it. Human communication is highly influenced by tone of voice, body language etc. Snape's verbal communication is usually of the mocking or bitter variety. However, if we could blot out the sarcastic tone and not see the menacing or belittling posturing we would be left with a man who, more often than one supposes, simply:
1. checks what we had learned, and
2. supplies further information to repair what he had failed to put across.
The unknown reasons for the bitterness arouse my curiosity.
F. I've also discovered that I want to be noticed by Snape in order to impress him. This is probably the pivotal issue - the key to my obsessive fascination.
Why would I want to impress Snape?
Because I believe he isn't easily impressed. And he doesn't suffer fools. Therefore managing to impress him would boost my own ego. (I like to prove to myself how clever I am - don't we all?)
Being a caring person (up to a point) I also want to see Snape healed. But that only leads to the question 'Why care?' since I don't care about everyone. Perhaps that is because he seems worthy of care. Why does he seem worthy:
He acts nobly and controls his darker
He seems to have some code of ethics, although discovering what that is in order to prove its existence would be difficult - Snape won't be a person to give much away.
He seems to be as strict with himself as he is with others.
If a physical relationship was possible between us would it flourish?
Although it is the psyche that matters to me most, some physical things affect me deeply - if the yellow teeth were not kept clean I would have difficulty overcoming my revulsion.
The greasy hair might put me off to some extent; I hate my own hair to be greasy, but perhaps I could tolerate a partner with greasy hair - I'm not sure, as I've never had to.
I think of Snape as handsome, but even if he wasn't that is not a problem because I rarely fall for conventionally handsome men; faces of character are far more important - the quality of the mind behind is crucial, and affects the expression.
Snape would bring the relationship a lot of qualities I lack or think I'm deficient in - eloquence, determination, talent, power... I would hope to bring things I think he lacks - a sense of self-worth, an ability to laugh at ones self, a sense of fun, an ability to rationalise disappointment, loyal friendship.
I live with someone who is quite Snape-like so I speak the following from experience. (As for me - I'm a bit Snape-like in some ways, being strong-minded (I will not be brow-beaten); loyal, reliable, but sometimes lazy and disorganised, and sometimes - quite unintentionally - inconsiderate. I'm conscious of my own needs and get impatient when people don't understand what makes me feel insecure or unnoticed.)
As I would not be Snape's ideal person I think a moment would come when he would feel let down by me, or over time he would become irritated by me. I am not as relentlessly dedicated as he is, and I believe my partner thinks I occasionally compromise my principles - whereas I don't think I do that anymore than he does! I cannot endure prolonged physical discomfort.
I would find Snape's lack of tack hurtful, and at times socially embarrassing; and his nit-picking evermore unbearable like a subtle but persistent torture. It would gradually get to me, but I might be able to put up with it, and to tackle - as sensitively as I could - the worst of it.
I might expect Snape to change, which sounds like asking far too much of him! But even if he did change, it is possible that I might not like the outcome because I might find I'd de-Snaped him - i.e. removed all those qualities I found so fascinating at the outset.
I know we all have the capacity to annoy one-another, and as surely as Snape's pickiness would weary me, my occasional slap-dash moments would rile him. He strikes me as the unforgiving type who, once let down, will never grant a second chance.
If he has absolutely no ability to laugh at
himself I think I would find that a deficiency.
I am hoping that there is a human being buried somewhere under Snape's cold armour, but if the real man had no capacity for genuine warmth I would be turned off.
I understand shyness and the need for privacy but if Snape turned out to be totally non-tactile that would also put me off.
All in all, the long-term prospects don't look good!
Could I become Snape's friend?
This looks far more promising because what he would judge to be my character flaws would be less in evidence, and also would matter less to him. Similarly his 'flaws' would matter less to me because they would not be jeopardising the key relationship in my life. As friends it might be easier to be honest and laid-back about pointing out 'faults'.
The long-term prospects look better.
That's it - the best I can do - even I don't know all the secrets of my own mind (probably just as well). Wishing you all the best.