Yes, my bit there last week about male beauty begs the question, “Is quaffed perfection what men want?” If it’s not true that straight women want the lapidary man of magazine covers and romance novels, could it be that men also prefer their women a little unkempt, a little degagee in their body maintenance?
Answer: yeah, could be! A recent Australian study apparently found that men prefer the average body size of ordinary women, around an American dress size 10 or 12, to the superskinny ideal we’re trained to venerate.
A substantial body of research about heterosexual men shows that men’s beauty judgments of faces are shaped by the faces they’re exposed to. In other words, men like what they see, and, no matter how media-saturated the culture may be, they still see more actual real women than images. So they like women, not perfection.
There’s other stuff that seems to be more or less hard-wired, like waist-to-hip ratio and facial symmetry, all generally indicators of health and fertility. (NB: That 10-12 dress size equates roughly to a 25ish BMI, technically “overweight,” yet associated with the longer lifespans than the obese, the underweight, or even the “healthy weight.”) But in the industrialized world of the twenty-first century, the superabundance of nutrition and medicine means nearly all of us pass muster on the fecundity front.
Anyway, I don’t think men pay close enough attention to tell the difference. If there is even one woman out there, even one, who has had a real life experience like they show in the movies, where the guy actually notices what it took you two hours, four gallons of hair product, and an industrial strength slimmer to achieve and then bursts out breathlessly, “Wow,” or “You’re so beautiful!” you must tell me. As far as I can discover, no woman has ever had her intensive grooming efforts explicitly noticed by a man without some kind of prompting.
Perhaps the straight ladies of the world long to believe that efforts to conform to some fictional standard of beauty will result in actually being more beautiful to the men in our lives… but the men in our lives aren’t too fussed about it.
See, c’z you know what men like? They like us in our bathrobes, dewily pink cheeked after a glass of wine and a soak in the tub, and actively interested in giving them a blowjob.
And that’s how it should be.