I’m meant to be writing my Sunday Life column, due in two hours. But there’s a great survey published on The Punch today – blokes’ take on female body image. And it’s given me an inspired jolt.
On Thursday I drank wine and ate sushi with The Punch editor Penbo (he gave me the gig writing an indulgent column in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph a year or so ago when he was editor) and he we were talking about the survey. He was getting responses on his blackberry from male readers as we ate. He made the startlingly obvious point that everything we (women) think we know about what men think about us is wrong. We kind of know this. But it’s another one of those things about men we just refuse to accept.
I like this observation from the survey, because it opened my eyes:
Interestingly, men think women are more turned on by a good physique than they are. Asked which physical qualities they thought women looked for in men, 41 per cent said a handsome face, closely followed by 36 per cent saying a good physique. Perhaps explaining why Advanced Hair Studios is such a good business, 18 men said they thought women liked them for a good head of hair, just one bloke ticked “well-endowed” (and was probably bragging), and four of them said they couldn’t think of anything about male appearance which women would find attractive, one of them writing: “frankly I can’t understand why lesbianism isn’t more popular.”
I also like the fact that the former editor of the biggest daily paper in the country is fascinated by this kind of gender split stuff. And why not? It’s important. And real. And gutsy. And talking about it makes us appreciate each other more. Here he writes about the spray women cop from angry men. I’m sure he’d just love my saying this: they guy is a voice for a generation of women who wouldn’t mind having a bloke on side.
Years ago I was interviewed for a job as a sub-editor at Ralph (I used to read it for the words, not the pictures…seriously…it used to boast some of the most clever prose on the news stand). I was told the stance at the mag was: put women on a pedastal and make blokes look like idiots. I’ve come to realise this is a stance a lot of blokes take in life. I’m not sure I want men to see themselves as idiots. And it hurts when you fall from pedestals. But I think of it often when I find myself despairing about blokes in that cliched “and he can’t find the butter in the fridge” disparaging way. And it helps me understand and like them more.