[Via Thinkstock Photos]
I’ve never been a particularly small person. Since I was a kid, I’ve always carted around a few extra pounds. I used to be fairly self-conscious about it, but could never muster the motivation to get off the couch and do anything about it. Now, I fear that motivation could be gone for good.
I say that because a recent study shows that 3 out of 4 British women prefer a man with a bit of a gut over a man with perfectly chiseled abs. I’m assuming (or hoping, at least) that this is true for women from all other countries as well. From The Daily Mail:
Three in four British women would choose a man with love handles over one sporting a six-pack.
That’s 23 million of us who find muscular men a turn off; 96% predict a date with an abs-obsessed bloke to be positively dreary.
These stats are the result of a study commissioned to mark the DVD release of Bad Neighbours, a film featuring numerous shirtless scenes of actors Seth Rogen (in the flab corner) and Zac Efron (in the abs).
Seth Rogen and Zac Efron [Via People]
Let’s be clear here: these results don’t mean women won’t be eyeing off Zac’s ‘V’ line: the muscular line running from the hip bone to the groin.
Did they audition chubby men for the highly anticipated film of Fifty Shades of Grey? I don’t think so.
We will ogle, we will fantasise.
And apparently you ladies aren’t the only one ogling Efron. Even Seth Rogen couldn’t keep his eyes off his rippling physique:
But when it comes to real life, we don’t want chiselled perfection in our bed.
The question is: why on earth not?
Why don’t women want some hot, buff, perfect-bodied man lying beside us?
The sad answer is this: we’re worried we won’t shape up.
Seventy-four percent of women in the survey said they’d feel self-conscious taking their clothes off in front of a perfectly toned man.
A he-man’s discipline highlights our lack of it, making us feel even more acutely self-conscious of our own body flaws than usual.
So while I’m pretty stoked that this study shows women are more interested in a man with a physique not unlike mine, the reasoning for it actually makes me feel for women who think they don’t shape up. I believe all women are beautiful, and as a man, I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand the pressures women put on themselves to look a certain way. I guess that’s a problem with society, though. It’s unfortunate that there’s so many shallow dudes out there who are more obsessed with the way women look than with what they have to say or what talents they have to share with the world.
It also bothers me that the pressures that society puts on women also affects their ability to enjoy a healthy sex life.
Michael Alvear, the author of ‘Not tonight dear, I feel fat’, says fifty percent of women admit they’ve put off sex – even when they’re in the mood – because they felt too fat.
‘Women put conditions on sex because of weight. You won’t do it without cover-up clothing. You only have sex with the lights out. You’ll only do positions that prevent your partner from looking at or touching certain parts of your body,’ he says.
‘Pretty soon your desire for any sex, conditional or not, goes away.’
We don’t just think our partners won’t desire us unless we are thin.
We don’t feel desirable unless we are thin.
There are many (many) things men can learn from women, but this is one area where women can learn from men.
When men look in the mirror, they look at the parts of themselves that they like.
The author of the article even went a little further and did some comparisons.
I showed four male friends the publicity stills of the ab-tastic Zac Efron and they all shrugged and said, ‘He looks good. But he’s paid to look like that. That’s his job.’
They made no comparison to themselves. There was no subconscious sucking in of their beer belly. No wistful glance at their not-so-bulging biceps.
When women look in the mirror, they hone in on the bits they don’t like.
Show us a picture of Cameron Diaz in a bikini and we think ‘Why don’t I look like that? I better not eat anything else for the rest of the day and hit the gym after work’.
It’s a continuing double standard that’s not working for anyone – men or women.
We should all be more Seth-like: learn to love our bellies and accept that wobbly bits are all part of being mere mortals.
Ladies, love your bodies. While you’re focusing on the parts that you don’t like, your man will be focusing on the parts he loves. Besides, most guys like a lady with a… Big Bottom.