The Ideal Man Illusion

So, I’ve been doing some thinking. I’ve talked about attraction and what makes for chemistry before… but never really about the concept of “the ideal man”.

A few days ago, my attention was drawn to one of those random news items they throw in occasionally. It was the result of a survey asking 2000 women what makes the ideal man. The survey was conducted by British menswear company Austin Reed, and the results slightly baffled me.

Here is the list of traits that “Ideal Man ™” should possess, according to the survey:

  • Six feet tall
  • Muscly, toned and athletic
  • Brown eyes
  • Short dark hair
  • Smart dress sense
  • A beer / lager drinker
  • Non smoker
  • Wears smart jeans, shirt and a
  • V-neck jumper
  • Gets ready in 17 minutes
  • Stylish
  • Wants a family
  • Earns $75,000 a year
  • Loves shopping
  • Eats meat
  • Clean shaven
  • Smooth chest
  • Watches soaps
  • Enjoys watching football
  • Drives an Audi
  • Educated to degree level
  • Earns more than you
  • Jokes around and has a laugh
  • Sensitive when you are upset
  • Tells you he loves you only when he means it
  • Admits it when he looks at other women
  • Holds a driving license
  • Can swim
  • Can ride a bike
  • Can change a tire
  • Calls mother regularly

To be a truly “Perfect Man”, the women answered that he should possess all of these traits. 

First of all: LOLWHUT? Seriously? All of them? So him getting ready in 17 minutes is something you’d look out for more than, say, a nice smile or a sense of humour?

I call bullshit on this entire survey. Simply because the perfect man doesn’t exist. If there really is a bloke out there who earns 75 k a year, and has time to call his mother from the wireless in his Audi, I’d very much like to meet him and shake his hand. Seriously, dude, you’re the most eligible man in the world. Congratulations, because at least 2000 women are looking for a ride in your fancy wagon. Can you also ride a bike WHILST changing a tire? That’s it, I’m marrying you.

Apart from a newborn child, no-one is perfect. We all have these massive flaws and quirks and neuroses. I know I have. But isn’t that what makes us interesting?

Imagine if you’d found this particular man. He has all the listed traits, and he’s an excellent shagger as well. Would you not get seriously bored with him after a while? Would this genetic splicing of Alexander Skarsgard/Michael Fassbender/Any other guy of this nature not get on your every last nerves with his oodles of perfection?

Maybe it’s just me, but I like a nice, normal dude. One with chest hair and equal pay to mine. Also, a stubble, if possible.

I get the sense that this idea of the perfect man is very much a Hollywood/Cosmpolitan collaboration. I can just see them sitting in their headquarters, brainstorming how this man-bot is supposed to look, act and feel.

Hollywood has to be the main offender. I like a good rom com as much as the next person, but when you get oodles of formulaic drivel thrown at you, preferably starring some hunk du jour, it’s bound to get on some people’s nerves, right?

The idea of the über-hunk (eg. Mr Brad Pitt, others) is something I’ve grown up with. It was very much the era of your Barlows and Cruises. These people were considered to be untouchable. The Elliot Ness’s of teenage hormones. They were perfection; very much your Ideal Man made flesh.

That idea is still around. And it is apparently what inspired the answers in this survey. But yeah. Life is not like a movie. We have flaws. And if you can find a man who you love for his quirks and oddities, rather than for the fact that he wears a V-neck jumper, you’re good for gold.

Interesting note to end this on. One of the definite Perfect Man no-no’s pointed out was vegetarianism… And I completely disagree with that. Do you really need to be bothered with what your partner eats for lunch?

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  1. Rory

     /  April 11, 2012

    I don’t know who’s ideal man this is, but it’s definitely not mine. I’ll hang on to my stubbly chinned, soap-hating smoker, thanks.

  2. Cath

     /  April 15, 2012

    Companies know that surveys like these are a great way to get some really cheap publicity…

    • They also did one on what constitutes the “modern gentleman”… I have no idea why this was a thing. xxx


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