Huggability seems to be a plus
March 24, 2015 9:47 AM   Subscribe

What the "perfect" man looks like, according to men and women
So, according to almost every movie ever, we’re supposed to be most attracted to beefy men with glistening muscles, smoky (and kinda dangerous) eyes that make us feel like they suspect our very darkest, deepest secrets, and thighs that look like they’ve been subjected to Olympic training. Examples of these “idealized” men include (but are totally not limited to, obvs) Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, Will Smith, and Jason Mamoa. In the end, it turns out the ideal dude isn’t Brad, Chris, Will, OR Jason. It’s the “Boy Next Door.”
While the study isn’t without flaws —only heterosexual men and women were accounted for, the test pool is entirely UK-based, and the outcome still involves some “idealized” version of a person— the results are still intriguing. The study concludes that it’s not that super fit men aren’t easy on the eyes, it’s just that gals prefer a “softer” body. “Men with well-toned bodies are, initially, regarded as attractive, but it is the man with the little bit of excess flab around the waist who often wins the day,” the study states.
posted by Lexica (128 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
but it is the man with the little bit of excess flab around the waist who often wins the day,” the study states.

Woo hoo, I win!
posted by Huck500 at 9:53 AM on March 24, 2015 [37 favorites]


"flab around the waist" is like having some money in the bank, survival-wise.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 9:54 AM on March 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


They said little bit. Don't get your hopes up.
posted by teh_boy at 9:54 AM on March 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


yeah this is a good thing for me, too. Although I caution against painting with a broad brush - a lot of people like a lot of different things.
posted by rebent at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Study commissioned by clothing company finds that people who look like their customer base are the most attractive, along with being the mostest smartest bestest greatest customers ever
posted by Metafilter Username at 9:56 AM on March 24, 2015 [110 favorites]


They said little bit. Don't get your hopes up.

Oh, I have a little bit.

little bit here, little bit there, little bit on top of that, little bit behind it. All wrapped up in a little bit, with a little bit more piled on top, just because.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:58 AM on March 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


Isn't this a reflection of the age-old dichotomy between "boyfriend material" and "husband material"?
posted by jonp72 at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Other than the hair that looks quite a bit like my husband who I'm pretty sure actually is the ideal man so this is very accurate, assuming he also cooks, cleans, does the dishes, and is nice to one's friends. Frankly, if this guy is exactly like my husband except he doesn't steal my stuffed animals in the middle of the night I might be willing to trade.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:00 AM on March 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


Yep, boy next door works for me. (Those are Jonathan Ross' legs?)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2015


Actually, with me, every time I've started to develop a kind of physical "type", invariably the guy I end up falling for next is almost the exact opposite:

* In high school I swooned over tall thin guys with black hair and dark eyes. But my first boyfriend was short and stocky with platinum blond hair and blue eyes. (We dated for a few months in college then broke up but stayed friends, and our friends all knew our history; my junior year, I mentioned that tall-thin-black-hair thing in a conversation amongst the gang, and someone actually looked from me, to him, and then back to me and pointed at him and asked "then what happened THERE?")

* For a while I had a sort of "type" going that was indeed sort of paunchy, with glasses and long crazy hair. Then the next guy I dated had 20/20 vision, a shaved head, and was hella ripped.

So I've kind of given up on saying I have a "type". However, I've long had a celebrity crush on David Tennant - who is, sure enough, tall and thin with dark hair and brown eyes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:05 AM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I find this impulse to find the appealing "ideal" by way of averaging many reported preferences really strange. Like, why not just accept that people like different things, and that's fine? I mean, would we talk about food preferences this way? To my mind, stories like this are part of a process of sexual normativity that is actually kind of yuck.
posted by erlking at 10:07 AM on March 24, 2015 [29 favorites]


Man, I'm not even into dudes and the fellow on the right looks more interesting to me. The left guy is this super muscular, super intense-looking guy--he looks like he stepped out of an action movie poster. The right guy is actually smiling (!), looks friendly, and generally looks like a normal human being who is inexplicably pleased to be standing around in his tighty-whities. That said, I have some questions about their methodology (did they control for facial expression?), and it's taking me an irritatingly long time to find any kind of published study. So far, all I can find is a Daily Mail piece. Does anyone know anything more about who was involved with this study besides the bit where Jacamo funded it?
posted by sciatrix at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Yep, boy next door works for me." Agree! I won't at all dismiss that I like relatively healthy and kind looking people who smile and show warmth in their expressions-- or that I am influenced by dorky/nerdy/punky andprobably even some degree of hipster trends--- but dorky and kind and loving is so much more attractive than tons of muscles/cold asshole routine that I've always actively thought, I never want to meet those guys, why are they so popular? I just guessed they must be popular with the sorts of girls/women they hang out with in the movies (or who aspire to be those girls who modify their bodies and appearance to match hollywood/magazines and think these qualities are more important than focusing on other things in life or things to judge others and themselves on highly), who are people I never felt I fit in with either so.. to each their own!
posted by xarnop at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


If nobody wants one of the Hemsworth boys, I'll take them.

Have you seen Chris Hemsworth insisting on carrying his newborn around? He's the whole package. Chris Pratt, too, because he's capable of being so loving.

I think if either of them wanted to gain the weight back, no woman would mind. It's pretty easy: lots of women love handsome men who are actually sweet and loving and caring. Not just nice, but sweet.

And brad Pitt has always been hot because he's sweet. Sweet and hot is always a winning combo.
posted by discopolo at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


Never get a man who has a better ass than you do. This can be a real easy bar to satisfy.
posted by jadepearl at 10:11 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


To my mind, stories like this are part of a process of sexual normativity that is actually kind of yuck.

I think this is an interesting point but I also think that in some cases, such as this one, they are actually an answer to the already ongoing process of sexual normativity. If they did something similar for women, I think I know what the image on the left would look like because I have a mental template for the "ideal woman". We have that for the "ideal man", too, as they bring up by mentioning certain examples like Brad Pitt. This normativity is already here and deeply ingrained in our culture. I think this is actually an answer to that kind of normativity because it says that the way to be attractive is not necessarily what everyone thinks it is; there's more variety than "looks like Brad Pitt". I'd actually really like to see something like this for women. Who knows, maybe it would look like me!

I was about to write here "It would not look like me" because I already know that, but the thing is that, hey, who knows? Maybe it would! I've already internalized that I am not attractive and don't fit into the acceptable model of how a woman "should" look, and anything that provides an alternative to the monolithic culturally accepted notion of what is attractive sounds great to me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2015


As a tall skinny dude low on the snuggable scale, I will apparently die alone. At least I can hog the covers with impunity in the meantime.
posted by echocollate at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, the not as attractive guy---if he's a jerk, he's going to look ugly real fast. Seth Rogen is attractive because he is a lovable dude who is also very loyal and loving to his wife. That's why he's attractive.
posted by discopolo at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's great news, unless those "huggable" guys only want to date models.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


As a tall skinny dude low on the snuggable scale, I will apparently die alone. At least I can hog the covers with impunity in the meantime.


That's the spirit! Snuggle those covers, they'll snuggle you right back!
posted by discopolo at 10:15 AM on March 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


David Willis's comic Shortpacked! covered this most memorably: "Welcome to the background radiation of my life."
posted by rorgy at 10:15 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I refuse to take any "perfect man" business seriously that doesn't mention Idris Elba as a strong contender.
posted by thivaia at 10:15 AM on March 24, 2015 [23 favorites]


Never get a man who has a better ass than you do.

I'm just going to sit here smiling slyly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on March 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


Where is the actual study? Anyone? This seems like nothing but marketing BS unless we can see the study.
posted by Justinian at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


The thing is, the hunk on the left is very sexy and yummy, but it'd be a pain in the ego to try and live up to being with him --- being around him all the time would make me feel fatter and plainer and less desirable myself.

On the other hand, the more normal dude on the right looks like somebody you could actually talk to and hold a real conversation; I could see Normal Dude mowing his elderly neighbor's lawn or helping out down at the local food bank. Handsome Hunk looks like he'd be too concerned about his manicure or perfect hair to consider other people.
posted by easily confused at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the best I ever saw this put was a tumbler comment, on a post featuring a picture of pudgy Chris Pratt and one of ripped Chris Pratt, side-by-side. The original comment was "can you believe these are the same guy??".

Below that, from a different user: (paraphrasing) "it's chris pratt--i don't care which one shows up, hubba hubba!"
posted by maxwelton at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


the "Prince Harry" hair is the dead giveaway that this is a flawed poll. No one finds Prince Harry's hair more attractive than someone else's. Brits are just fucking nuts about their bratty inbred royals.
posted by shmegegge at 10:18 AM on March 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


I mean, this reads like an Onion story. "Husband commissions study showing wife is ideal body type! While he may be initially attracted to stereotypical Victoria's Secret Models, it is wife's appearance which wins the day."
posted by Justinian at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


On the other hand, the more normal dude on the right looks like somebody you could actually talk to and hold a real conversation;

I see him being more of an ass because of his self esteem issues for not looking like the other guy. I see him bitching about how women don't like nice guys and women only want rich guys and bad guys and yeah, he's pretty angry with women. He uses phrases like "punch a baby."

Then he probably talks incessantly online about what attractive young woman gives him a boner.
posted by discopolo at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2015 [18 favorites]


It's worth noting that this study was done in the UK, and that different cultures may have picked different types - but I like muscle guys and would still find the guy on the left unattractive. His waist is too small - it looks almost dainty.
posted by corb at 10:24 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


heterosexual ladies prefer...Ben Cohen’s torso

The rest of him is quite nice as well.

I'd be really interested to see a comparison of how (if) the exact findings shift between countries.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:25 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that is the same guy. The only significant differences are a few pounds and a little grooming.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:26 AM on March 24, 2015


Ok, I'm calling it. There is no study. This is just a ridiculous advertisement people are taking seriously.
posted by Justinian at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


Reminds me of the Hugh Jackman in Men's Fitness vs. Hugh Jackman in Good Housekeeping tumblr post.

"Cool clean friendly non-aggressive man who will cook a food for u" is pretty damn appealing.
posted by rewil at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yeah! More hunks for me! I'll take the one with Renaldo's legs if you all don't mind.

Though to be honest ("the study is not without it's flaws") the guy on the right is still more 'idealized' than most of us. 'Cause seriously: Ben Cohen's torso is not exactly average.
posted by kanewai at 10:34 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing is, the hunk on the left is very sexy and yummy, but it'd be a pain in the ego to try and live up to being with him --- being around him all the time would make me feel fatter and plainer and less desirable myself.

The downside though, is that your future wife will look at those pictures of you with these women she sees as much more attractive than herself and say "Why are you ever with me anyway?".

The face she makes when you say "well, you're not a constantly insecure and insane drama queen who sleeps with my friends and steals my CDs" indicates that she doesn't really believe you, but then she hasn't filed the divorce papers yet, so there is that.

Which isn't to say that all conventionally beautiful women are insane - just the ones I was able to date while I was a young 20-something schmuck. The dangers of universalizing your experience.

Anyway - as my HS reunions have amply demonstrated, there is almost no telling who is gonna be still hot at 30 and 40 and 50 and conversely, who will age very well. Eventually, everyone is going to end up hairy and wrinkly and saggy, so... If you marry for looks, you're an idiot.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, I have a little bit.

little bit here, little bit there, little bit on top of that, little bit behind it. All wrapped up in a little bit, with a little bit more piled on top, just because.

I used to have a little bit. I still do, but I used to, too.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:40 AM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


No one finds Prince Harry's hair more attractive than someone else's. Brits are just fucking nuts about their bratty inbred royals.

Au contraire, mon hater-of-red-hair. I'm American, completely detached from U.K. royalty, and Prince Harry's hair makes me want him to butter my crumpet, like, as soon as humanly possible.
posted by argonauta at 10:42 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Perfect man definitely a white guy, says study, Nazis
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on March 24, 2015 [42 favorites]


I didn't find the "idealized man" remotely attractive until I hit about 35. Now I'm 41 and you should seriously lock up your Chrises.
posted by padraigin at 10:43 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


No one finds Prince Harry's hair more attractive than someone else's. Brits are just fucking nuts about their bratty inbred royals.

Uh, I haven't heard a whole lot of "sploosh" regarding his even-more-royal brother's hair.

(Conclusion: Bratty > Inbred)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:44 AM on March 24, 2015


I dunno, I'm a straight dude and I'm pretty sure the perfect man is, in fact, Jason Momoa.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


Or Idris Elba.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don't want to brag, people, but I commissioned a study and as it turns out the ideal man is me.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on March 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


If I was the last person on earth, I'd be setting the standard.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:59 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


This does indeed seem to be just marketing. Here the spokesperson for the research is listed and there is contact info here for anybody who wants to see if they'll send you a pdf of the report that has the methodology. Good luck.

N Brown - the company that owns Jacamo and others and gets termed "The clothing company for plus-sized fashion-lovers" - it's profits are down at the moment and could use a boost.
posted by cashman at 11:00 AM on March 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


The fact that all the comments aren't just quotes from the article and ".... ladies" shows that Metafilter is way more mature than me.
posted by DigDoug at 11:01 AM on March 24, 2015


Can a study come out showing that women actually prefer men who try to wear a pair of Levis and t-shirt from Target in all non-work situation?
posted by Area Man at 11:07 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


How come CG dude #1 looks like really buff Bears QB Jay Cutler?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:14 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually avoid men that I find perfectly attractive, because I have come to know that if I, personally, am attracted to the man, something is wrong with him. At best, he's married or gay. At worst, he's -- well, I already wrote a long comment about running after Jian Ghomeshi when I was in college. I was like one of those blonde girls running after Gaston.

It's been ages since I had a "type" that other people would recognize as a type. My last remaining celebrity crush is Ron Perlman. I like a man who looks like he's lived a life, which is to say, each man on his own terms.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:21 AM on March 24, 2015


I like a man who looks like he's lived a life

What's your take on Nick Nolte?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


That he's best voiced by Mike Nelson.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:25 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder how much of the preference for the less-hardbody, less super-hawt dude is borne of preconceptions about attractive guys? I think there are not a few women who assume a conventionally attractive guy with a hot body is going to have a shitty personality and will be more likely to judge her on her own attractiveness.
posted by schroedinger at 11:30 AM on March 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


A really ripped dude is telling you his priorities. "I care a lot about my appearance, I spend a lot of time and money at the gym, and I possibly have some deep-seated insecurities that drive me. It's also possible that I will look down on you for not being equally ripped/athletic. All my friends will be gymrats also, and we will spend a lot of time talking about protein powders and how ripped we want to get." And if that's what you like/can deal with, then good.

It's kind of like someone with full-body tattoos, including face, and/or extensive piercings. Those things come at a cost of time and money and speak to what's important to that person (and what's not). They are significant deviations from the norm that are mostly going to attract women or men who either want the "thrill" of dating someone like that or are like that themselves.

Which is all to the good, but your average person is going to seek out something a little more comfortable and less extreme.
posted by emjaybee at 11:33 AM on March 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


The warm firm arms of Jason Momoa are both comfortable AND extreme
posted by nathancaswell at 11:36 AM on March 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


Although, some really ripped dudes are like that only accidentally, because they're into martial arts or whatever. I think it would be really unfair to shut them down on the basis of preconceived notions.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:43 AM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was never bothered about muscles. I used to be pretty turned off by them to be honest, but my current SO has visible muscles and I won't lie, I love them.
posted by shesbenevolent at 11:48 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


No one finds Prince Harry's hair more attractive than someone else's. Brits are just fucking nuts about their bratty inbred royals.

Are you British? Have you met any British people? I'm offended by your comment.
posted by shesbenevolent at 11:49 AM on March 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


As long as we're cutting and pasting, I just realized Prince Harry is basically Ralph Malph with Christopher Meloni's face Photoshopped onto him.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:56 AM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


A really ripped dude is telling you his priorities. "I care a lot about my appearance, I spend a lot of time and money at the gym, and I possibly have some deep-seated insecurities that drive me. It's also possible that I will look down on you for not being equally ripped/athletic. All my friends will be gymrats also, and we will spend a lot of time talking about protein powders and how ripped we want to get." And if that's what you like/can deal with, then good.

Yeah, sure, I know guys like that, but I think they are more in the minority. I don't even know if they date; I can't imagine any man or woman having the patience with someone like this.

However, I know a lot of military couples (always military) where the guy has a Chris Pratt-at-his-peak level of hotness, and his wife has a much more normal body (hips, thighs, and curves). And I see this across ethnic groups. As a gay man I'm fascinated (and envious) - in my world those super ripped and hunky guys date guys who look exactly like them.
posted by kanewai at 12:12 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Since I don't look like either of these 'perfect dudes' (dammit!) I'm glad that this authoritative voice is from something called "HelloGiggles".
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:13 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love reading this thread! It only needs a flashing red light and it will be a baggage claim carousel.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:16 PM on March 24, 2015 [24 favorites]


However, I know a lot of military couples (always military) where the guy has a Chris Pratt-at-his-peak level of hotness, and his wife has a much more normal body (hips, thighs, and curves).

Back in the days when I could do a 1.5 x bodyweight deadlift, I used to poke around the bodybuilding.com forums for tips. A lot of the men (when they didn't fear and abhor fat of any kind) expressed a preference for hyper-normative female bodies. I think they respected their female fellow hardcore lifters (i.e. the ones who spent a good amount of time building delts and lats, not the bikini competitor types), but I'm not sure they necessarily wanted to date them.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Although, some really ripped dudes are like that only accidentally, because they're into martial arts or whatever. I think it would be really unfair to shut them down on the basis of preconceived notions.

Seconding that; the "hella ripped" guy I mentioned dating was profoundly sweet. Messed up in that "I'm having my quarter-life crisis" way, but sweet. And I've recently reconnected with him (platonically - he is married and now lives on the exact opposite side of the planet) and he's still thus.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good news! Women don't want the guy who doesn't look anything like you - they want the other guy who doesn't look anything like you.
posted by naju at 12:23 PM on March 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


If nobody wants one of the Hemsworth boys, I'll take them.

I will fight you
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just can't imagine that my answer to a survey would be anything like what I actually do. There are definitely men I find handsome. But at the end of the day what counts is the brains, regardless of the looks.
posted by mumimor at 1:15 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


But at the end of the day what counts is the brains, regardless of the looks.

Truth. Brains, and kindness, and of course, a GSOH (which, typically, in addition to a talent for one-liners means laughing at my jokes). I really couldn't care less what they look like.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:41 PM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Man, to me they both look like creepy Frankendudes put together by mismashing a bunch of different people's bodyparts - at best, they look like they should come with matching sets of paper doll man clothes.

Dude on the right looks more approachable, dude on the left seems to be sneering, that's really the only thing I can use to make the decision.

Muscles are fun to touch. I would totally get some football players naked just to like, lady-handle their arms and chest, even though I typically don't find them attractive.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That sounds pretty back slappingly self congratulatory. I don't think it's true for most people and I don't think there's anything wrong with caring about looks.

I like Harvey Kilobit's comment about a flashing red BAGGAGE CLAIM carousel.
posted by Justinian at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Woops, I was responding to CDS. Should have quoted.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on March 24, 2015


I don't think it's true for most people and I don't think there's anything wrong with caring about looks.

Agreed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:56 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


? I don't think there's anything wrong with paying attention to looks, either. I'm just saying that it doesn't usually factor into in my hormonal calculus, vibe matters more and it's not always (or even usually) been connected with what you might call measures of conventional attractiveness. Can't say I know what goes into it.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:10 PM on March 24, 2015


I'm going to be honest I used to focus on personality but I ended up in relationships with people I didn't want to have sex with and we became best friends living together. Now I'm with someone who is emotionally amazing and incredibly sexy. I need both and I wasted a lot of time focusing only on people I should have been just friends with.
posted by shesbenevolent at 2:15 PM on March 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


"vibe matters more"

thats why i got the eccentric rotating masses implanted in my cock
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seriously? No Chris Hemsworth? These findings are extremely suspect.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:24 PM on March 24, 2015


I don't think there's anything wrong with caring about looks - I think that individuals vary in how much looks matter to them. What does grind my gears is the implication that women aren't supposed to care about looks - and that is still a very prevalent attitude among men and women alike. Women are supposed to be pure-hearted and high-minded and care about a man's personality, and his heart as big as all outdoors! Looks are so shallow! All women really need are cuddles and warm fuzzies!

Meanwhile men are supposed to be oh-so-visual, Because Science (aka evolutionary psychology). It seems to me that these memes are recipe for so much relationship misery. And so many posts to the green to the effect of, "My husband/fiance/father of my child/boyfriend is such a great person, so caring, so loving, so perfect! Except that I'm not attracted to him! Sex has become a chore! What do I do?" I wish the solution wasn't DTMFA so much as "Think twice before getting involved in the first place unless sex is not important to both of you." Not everyone is visual, and not everyone places importance on looks. But it's sad to read about people (especially women) who think they are terrible, shallow people for wanting to be actually attracted to their partners. (Whatever the value of attraction is. And, obviously, not everyone values sex or physical attraction!)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:25 PM on March 24, 2015 [23 favorites]


Seriously? No Chris Hemsworth? These findings are extremely suspect.

Liam's hotter. But then I like guys who are tall and dark.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:28 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just feel like this weird sentiment out there that a guy who cares too much about his looks is not sexy, is the flipside of the sentiment that women should care a lot about their looks, or else.

I find my husband very sexy and he doesn't really look anything like either guy (though probably closer to the guy on the left). He's too skinny in the upper body to really look like a movie star and he really doesn't have any flab at all, so he doesn't look a bit like the guy on the right. He basically eats whatever he wants (like half a jar of strawberry jam yesterday), and he always has six-pack abs, muscular thighs and a great butt. That's just his body type -- it doesn't really say anything about what he's like, or whether I can carry on an intelligent conversation with him. And it certainly doesn't say anything about the kind of women he prefers, which, thankfully, tends to be pretty well-padded. I do sometimes feel bad that he can eat whatever he wants, while I have to watch what I eat, but he doesn't like about 90% of most desserts so that makes things easier. I actually feel like I see a fair number of skinny guys with more curvy women as partners, like the military couples that kanewai mentions.
posted by peacheater at 2:28 PM on March 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


And so many posts to the green to the effect of, "My husband/fiance/father of my child/boyfriend is such a great person, so caring, so loving, so perfect! Except that I'm not attracted to him! Sex has become a chore! What do I do?" I wish the solution wasn't DTMFA so much as "Think twice before getting involved in the first place unless sex is not important to both of you." Not everyone is visual, and not everyone places importance on looks. But it's sad to read about people (especially women) who think they are terrible, shallow people for wanting to be actually attracted to their partners.

I would favorite this a thousand times if I could. I always read those questions and imagine how devastated I'd be if I found that my wife hadn't actually been attracted to me, didn't enjoy the sex, and had married me because I was so nice and stable (like the dull boyfriend who gets dumped by the heroine in a romantic comedy.)
posted by Area Man at 2:39 PM on March 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


In the study, most men (62 percent!) hypothesized that women would prefer Justin Bieber’s hair, Gerard Butler’s face, Hugh Jackman’s arms, David Gandy’s torso, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s legs.

and...

...only heterosexual men and women were accounted for...

Are we sure on that last point, because I mean based on the preference they stated I MEAN COME ON.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:41 PM on March 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always read those questions and imagine how devastated I'd be if I found that my wife hadn't actually been attracted to me, didn't enjoy the sex, and had married me because I was so nice and stable (like the dull boyfriend who gets dumped by the heroine in a romantic comedy.)

I'd be devastated if I had a partner and found out that he wasn't at all attracted to me and was with me because I was "nice" or something, too. It's no picnic to be the partner in this scenario either. "My spouse/partner thinks I'm unattractive" is not something anyone wants to hear.

There are partnerships where sex does not factor in, and if everyone is honest and above-board with that, fine. But with sexual partnerships - "my partner is not attracted to me" is one of the most devastating things someone can hear.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:48 PM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


My perfect partner is someone who farts less than me but still farts so I don't feel too bad.
posted by srboisvert at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


So this study reminds me of something that turned up on Tumblr a while back about Hugh Jackman, who is well-liked by both men and women. When Jackman is covering a magazine for men, he looks like this, but put him on the cover of a magazine for women and he looks like this. I guess the people who planned that second cover are down with the huggability thesis.
posted by immlass at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2015


There is no ideal. There is no perfect. It's all subjective. Really.

As others have said, it"s all marketing.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:42 PM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Never get a man who has a better ass than you do.

I'm just going to sit here smiling slyly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on March 24
[8 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I see what you did there Empress!
Epically Eponysterical !!!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:01 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every "type" I've ever fallen for has managed to relieve me of my fondness for that type. I'm pretty sure it's just a molecular screening system for winnowing out the chaff until you meet the perfect someone who is as randomly thrown together as you are.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:32 PM on March 24, 2015


A really ripped dude is telling you his priorities. "I care a lot about my appearance, I spend a lot of time and money at the gym, and I possibly have some deep-seated insecurities that drive me.

Yeah, basically this boils down to "Those guys are high maintenance and probably expect me to be as perfect as they are, so I'll go for the guy with a bit of a belly like I also have."

My perfect partner is someone who farts less than me but still farts so I don't feel too bad.


Or that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:43 PM on March 24, 2015


Wasn't it already scientifically established that women tend to go for the beefy dude with more testosterone facial markings when their primary subconscious motivation is to mate, but tend to go for a softer look in men when their primary subconscious motivation is looking for a father for their children? There were a couple of studies on this a while back.
posted by rancher at 6:12 PM on March 24, 2015


Maybe don't make judgments about people's personalities based on their bodies.
posted by erlking at 6:16 PM on March 24, 2015 [6 favorites]



Wasn't it already scientifically established that women tend to go for the beefy dude with more testosterone facial markings when their primary subconscious motivation is to mate, but tend to go for a softer look in men when their primary subconscious motivation is looking for a father for their children? There were a couple of studies on this a while back.


Those sound like evo psych bullshit studies.
posted by zutalors! at 6:21 PM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I care about looks a fair bit, but it's probably telling that I just typoed "looks" as "books" automatically.
posted by solarion at 7:29 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well of course we should judge people based on how big their personal library is. We aren't animals.
posted by Justinian at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


@Rosie M. Banks - there's nothing pure-minded or regressive about experiencing a (very physical!) attraction to a person for less-physical reasons. E.g., charisma and confidence count for a lot.

I notice and can appreciate beauty in men - it just doesn't seem to make as big of an impact re boneability as other things. (I've been done in by a voice, more than once.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:43 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


In general, I am in favor of less monogamy if it means fewer tortured letters about how you love someone because they are wonderful, but they don't want to bone, and you wish you could just find someone else to bone, but you can't because that would make you an asshole, but also, you are suffering a lot for lack of sex.

I mean, it seems like if setups could be more flexible, there could be less agony all around.

Haha who am I kidding, we're people. We'd agonize over any setup we had.

"Dear Prudence, although I love my cuddle-partner AND my fuck-partner is pretty good, I am still feeling like there's something missing...."
posted by emjaybee at 9:20 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


> So, according to almost every movie ever, we’re supposed to be most attracted to

...the lead actor in the movie, who is literally paid to maintain that physique for the pleasure of the audience.

Wait, lemme start over. So, according to stories filmed for our entertainment, the male character is most attractive to the character playing their romantic interest because...uh, the script says so.

What does all this have to do with actual people in their real lives again?
posted by desuetude at 10:26 PM on March 24, 2015


I notice and can appreciate beauty in men - it just doesn't seem to make as big of an impact re boneability as other things. (I've been done in by a voice, more than once.)

There's more to boneability than looks from the male perspective too but I think there's almost a weird pressure not to admit it sometimes.
posted by atoxyl at 1:23 AM on March 25, 2015


Surely we've all had the experience of drooling over someone right up until they open their mouth. Or the opposite, of seeing someone and finding them unremarkable until you start hanging out and finding out you've got killer chemistry.
posted by Braeburn at 3:42 AM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


A really ripped dude is telling you his priorities. "I care a lot about my appearance, I spend a lot of time and money at the gym, and I possibly have some deep-seated insecurities that drive me. It's also possible that I will look down on you for not being equally ripped/athletic. All my friends will be gymrats also, and we will spend a lot of time talking about protein powders and how ripped we want to get." And if that's what you like/can deal with, then good.

Wow, OK. So is a fat person projecting these priorities: "I only care about stuffing my face with sweets, I have no interest in my health, and I have deep-seated insecurities about my body that lead me to overeat. I will sabotage your efforts to be healthy and be jealous whenever you're around anyone who's thinner than I am. All my friends will be fat too, and we will spend a lot of time eating cupcakes and complaining about skinny people."

No? Oh, then maybe you shouldn't be fucking judging people's personalities based on their bodies.
posted by schroedinger at 5:46 AM on March 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


Bet both of 'em are six footers though.
posted by pseudocode at 5:55 AM on March 25, 2015


Surely we've all had the experience of drooling over someone right up until they open their mouth.

Or how about really liking someone who is beautiful, kind, smart, funny, etc., but just not feeling that physical, chemical attraction? I remember that happening in my 20s with a particular woman. We spent tons of time together, talked easily and at length, loved each other as friends (and said so), and had absolutely no romantic or sexual chemistry.
posted by Area Man at 6:21 AM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


schroedinger: I think you misread my comment. Being overweight (however a person defines it) is usually not a matter of effort on someone's part. Being extremely well-muscled is. The two are not the same and so please don't assume I am trying to hate on people for their body type.

Human bodies don't naturally come with six-packs and extremely large muscles. Or with tattoos or body modifications. So if someone has those things, they are telling you something about what's important to them and what they make time for. That's all I was saying. I was not saying those priorities are bad, just that, when you are randomly looking around and deciding if someone is attractive, that's something you might take into account. In the same way you might notice what they wear, how they do their hair, or what book they are reading or whatever. And make assumptions about them based on those things.

You might think making any assumptions about someone based on their appearance is wrong, but I'm pretty sure you do it too. And any assumptions could be wrong, of course, but we are talking about "looking at an image and deciding if someone is attractive" so I think it's appropriate here.
posted by emjaybee at 7:43 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Being overweight (however a person defines it) is usually not a matter of effort on someone's part. Being extremely well-muscled is. The two are not the same and so please don't assume I am trying to hate on people for their body type. . . . Human bodies don't naturally come with six-packs and extremely large muscles. Or with tattoos or body modifications. So if someone has those things, they are telling you something about what's important to them and what they make time for.

Human beings don't "naturally" come 50lbs overweight either. I could make the exact same argument that an overweight person's body is telling us what's important and what they make time for--and then attach the same judgements to those choices. In fact, people do this every day and that kind of shitty arrogance is derided on Metafilter for good reason.

Yes, often those body types are a direct result of their hobby or passion. So you're taking that and turning it into a commentary on who they are as a person. That is as unfair as me pointing to an overweight chef and claiming an enjoyment for cooking sumptuous meals is a commentary about their relationship with food and feelings of self-worth.
posted by schroedinger at 8:04 AM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


You might think making any assumptions about someone based on their appearance is wrong, but I'm pretty sure you do it too. And any assumptions could be wrong, of course, but we are talking about "looking at an image and deciding if someone is attractive" so I think it's appropriate here.

So it's cool for someone to say "I don't like overweight people because I assume they're lazy and insecure"?
posted by schroedinger at 8:05 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, I'm calling it. There is no study. This is just a ridiculous advertisement people are taking seriously.

Come on now, surely you're not questioning the fact-checking standards or peer review process of HelloGiggles.com?
posted by neat graffitist at 8:14 AM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't think emjaybee was talking about judgement in terms of not liking people, schroedinger, I think they were saying it's just a possible indicator of compatibility of lifestyle preferences. Compatibility is important - the active people I know tend to prefer to spend their weekends doing active things with others who also enjoy active things. The people I know who like to chill out, like to do that with others who also like to chill out.

(As far as the naturalness of bodies, given that 66% of North Americans are overweight or obese according to BMI, I think it's fair to say that having a bit of a belly is the default and probably speaks to having a more typical lifestyle. Fewer people just have a six-pack without making some kind of commitment that way.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:34 AM on March 25, 2015


I'd think that any man who looks as if he spends 2 hours in the gym every day looks like a man who is not doing something more interesting for those 2 hours. And just about anything else would make you into a more interesting, if softer, man.
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:56 AM on March 25, 2015


Well, that is unfair, it doesn't take 2 hours a day. It can take just three 45-60 minute sessions a week.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:58 AM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think emjaybee was talking about judgement in terms of not liking people, schroedinger, I think they were saying it's just a possible indicator of compatibility of lifestyle preferences.

I mean, they straight-up said that a muscular person is possibly insecure, shallow, and will spend all their time talking about getting ripped and protein powders. If one were to make parallel assumptions about fat people they'd be getting a pile-on right now. But it's totally cool to assume having muscles makes you a shallow idiot, so gross generalizations are OK?

Look, if you don't like what a muscular person looks like, that's fine. But don't follow up with this snide implication about how elevated you are above that kind of base riff-raff with their "bicep curls" and "protein powders", and how you couldn't possibly relate to someone who engages in that sort of plebian behavior. It is as off-putting as a person who says "I'm not attracted to fat people" and then goes on to talk about how they are "possibly" self-hating and dislike being active and eat too much junk food.
posted by schroedinger at 10:22 AM on March 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


A lot of people also work out a lot because of the mental health benefits. I work out 5-6 days a week and my mood is much, much better than when I was putting in 2-3 days a week. I get a lot of compliments on how I look but for me, I'm really grateful I found something that would keep me out of the antidepressant sampling cycles. I mean, I'm also really happy about the way I look and how strong and fit I am, but that's secondary.

Still, working on fitness and the way you look and feel because it's something that you like and want to work on is fine. It also doesn't mean you're dumb or uncultured about life or super shallow. It's possible to work on nutrition and fitness and also be a kind person who reads the Economist.
posted by zutalors! at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


You're right, zutalors!, it doesn't, it almost always adds to enjoyment of life and self. (It certainly added to mine, and fitness does similar things for me.) And I agree, schroedinger, writing people who lift off as meatheads is offensive and based on incorrect assumptions. That said, most people I know who are into fitness would probably be happier in relationships with others who prioritize it, too, and probably the same is true of people with more sedentary lifestyles.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:45 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Zutalors - exercise has made a huge difference to my mental health as well (bonus: my skin glows!). I also look at exercise - especially weight-bearing exercise - as a way to stay out of a nursing home when I'm older. Exercise helps prevent osteoporosis , prevents falling, and strength training, in particular, helps stave off all kinds of "old age conditions." For me it's an issue of health rather than vanity, though I'd be lying if I didn't admit the side effects of looking toned and trim are great, too.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:51 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, my doctor looks at my working out six times a week and is like, great, more people should do that, it's about the right amount and will help you keep off lots of health issues later in life.

Personally that's part of why I like fitness in a partner - it's important to keep as healthy as possible not just for yourself but for your family, current and future. My dad has taken terrible care of his health and my mother has to do a lot for him. Some of those things are unavoidable and sure everyone gets old, but it's not that simple - I've seen people who keep fit well into their 50s, 60s, 70s - they may not look hot or whatever anymore but they have much fuller lives than people who didn't make an effort.
posted by zutalors! at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Schroedinger, I get what you're saying, but I don't want to derail the thread, so feel free to memail me if you want to discuss some more.
posted by emjaybee at 12:07 PM on March 25, 2015


I'd think that any man who looks as if he spends 2 hours in the gym every day looks like a man who is not doing something more interesting for those 2 hours. And just about anything else would make you into a more interesting, if softer, man.


Yeah, someone who spends 2 hours a day stalking people on social media in between curating their jailbait collection and venting on hate forums is so much more interesting than someone who dedicates that time working towards a long-term goal of self-improvement.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 12:48 AM on March 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Roll out The Barrel":
I long, and even lust, for something that is nearly unattainable these days: the lug with a barrel chest.

Now by “lug” I don’t mean a thick-necked dumbbell like Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) in Raymond Chandler’s “Murder, My Sweet,” or the mouth-breathing defensive tackle who can’t count to nine, or the thick, sick atrocity exhibitions of Tom Leykus or Tom Arnold. I mean the leading-man, barrel-chested lug as objet d’amour.

The very thought fills me with the intoxicating eroticism of pie crust, beef and a sweaty Burt Lancaster in a white short-sleeved T-shirt. Examples of the lug? Robert Mitchum, William Holden (especially in “Picnic,” where more attention was paid to his chest than to Kim Novak’s), Dana Andrews, Cornel Wilde, Sterling Hayden, Aldo Ray and thick Brit Oliver Reed, who made all those nuns go batty in “The Devils.”

And of course O’Brien, whose Frank Bigelow in the 1950 film “D.O.A.” was blasted by his secretary: “You’re just like any other man, only a little more so.” He was more. More steak, more potatoes and less working out.

Unhealthy? Who cares? O’Brien, like all the other barrel chests, was a lusty, warm, passionate beast. They were men who’d let you sit on their laps and bury your face in their rumpled ties without making you feel like you had some pathetic daddy complex — even if you did. They had meat on their bones, and you could practically knead it through their shirts. They were bigger, so you seemed smaller. They ate, so you ate. Gwyneth Paltrow? Mitchum would tell her to swallow a few doughnuts. These guys were tough and steely on the inside (though they had their moments — think of Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity” getting misty over Barbara Stanwyck’s anklet) and softer on the outside, literally.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:24 AM on March 26, 2015


I'd think that any man who looks as if he spends 2 hours in the gym every day looks like a man who is not doing something more interesting for those 2 hours. And just about anything else would make you into a more interesting, if softer, man.


Yeah, someone who spends 2 hours a day stalking people on social media in between curating their jailbait collection and venting on hate forums is so much more interesting than someone who dedicates that time working towards a long-term goal of self-improvement.


Gross. I hope those aren't the only choices for male companionship, or do the goods ones really get snatched up early like my mom warned me they would?
posted by discopolo at 2:14 PM on March 26, 2015



Since I don't look like either of these 'perfect dudes' (dammit!) I'm glad that this authoritative voice is from something called "HelloGiggles


That's a site Zooey Deschanel invested in or cofounded, and, it's basically a very woman-positive site.

Just a tip: Don't be snarky and condescending, especially if you don't know what you're talking about. Most women don't like having you belittle stuff that is for women and by women, and some of us think men and women equate feminine or cute with "stupid" is not a sign of intelligence---just a cheap and offensive shot.

In short, I'm betting Chris Pratt doesn't imply things his wife or female colleagues like as being dumb or stupid. He's always been very respectful towards them, in interviews and in gag reels.
posted by discopolo at 2:23 PM on March 26, 2015


C'mon, calling something "HelloGiggles" is pretty much a declaration that it's light entertainment. I don't take the perfect man ratings from AvastChuckles or WassupYukYuks or YahooNews seriously either.
posted by klangklangston at 3:02 PM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


HelloGiggles is a positive online community for women (although men are always welcome!) covering DIY and crafting projects, beauty, friendship, sex & relationships, pop culture, pets, television & movies, nostalgia, fandom, tips on savvy and stylish living meant to inspire a smile.

So, in other words...light entertainment. It's not belittling women to recognize that. We're talking about a cute human-interest article about on a "study" commissioned by a men's clothing company.
posted by desuetude at 2:05 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, in other words...light entertainment. It's not belittling women to recognize that.

It kinda is if you're automatically defining a website as light entertainment just because it's targetted at women and covers stereotypically-feminine spheres such as "friendship, sex & relationships", and so on. The particular piece is definitely lighthearted, and the study is indeed marketing puff. That doesn't mean we ought belittle HelloGiggles as unimportant or not serious, particularly in light of publications of women all too often being dismissed unjustly with such reasoning.
posted by thegears at 3:54 PM on March 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


If they want to be taken seriously maybe "HelloGiggles" wasn't a particularly wise choice of name.
posted by Justinian at 5:45 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno "Yahoo" is a kinda silly name but they are taken pretty seriously.
posted by zutalors! at 9:29 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do people these days even know Yahoo is an acronym?
posted by Justinian at 2:35 AM on March 28, 2015


I dunno "Yahoo" is a kinda silly name but they are taken pretty seriously.

Maybe not the best example these days...
posted by neat graffitist at 6:33 AM on March 28, 2015


"I dunno "Yahoo" is a kinda silly name but they are taken pretty seriously."

??? By whom?

"Do people these days even know Yahoo is an acronym?"

Backronym, though.
posted by klangklangston at 12:52 PM on March 28, 2015


True enough. But one which was created at the same time as the acronym rather than as a later retcon so I think its still fair to call it an acronym.
posted by Justinian at 2:09 PM on March 28, 2015


But at the end of the day what counts is the brains, regardless of the looks.

Kindness and sweetness counts more. And I think that makes someone enormously attractive.

When my ex suddenly turned into a crazy, ragey, awful person, he just started to look completely ugly to me. He physically didnt look the same to me and my attraction to him died as his new evil behavior replaced a person who once had been sweet to me.

And I'd date a less intelligent, kind hearted guy over a self absorbed genius any day of the week.
posted by discopolo at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


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