Here are two apparently conflicting statements. I would like you to read both of them and decide which one is true:
- Heterosexual women are incredibly complex and almost impossible for men to understand.
- Heterosexual women all share an identical dream of the man they would like to be with.
Well done to anyone who said ‘neither’.
I don’t like dealing in absolutes. Unless we’re talking about pure mathematics, we’re pretty much bound to be wrong. All women are not X, and all men are not Y. Yes, we’re all pretty complex, but pretending that one particular gender is impossible to understand is like claiming we can never know what someone’s favourite colour is.
The only way you could go through life believing the opposite sex (or, indeed, any arbitrary subset of human beings) to be incomprehensible is if you refuse to ever speak to any of them.
So that’s number 1 dealt with. On to number 2 – the ‘ideal man’ scenario.
Every woman’s dream
Today the Sunday Times published a list entitled ‘Every woman’s dream‘ – a handy checklist for straight men on what sort of person they needed to be in order to proudly wear their ‘Mr Right’ badge. I should point out that the addition of words such as ‘straight’ and ‘heterosexual’ are mine, and added for clarity. According to this Sunday Times list, women who identify as anything other than ‘straight’ either don’t exist or were not consulted when their clearly thorough and painstaking research was conducted.
Here’s what the Sunday Times thinks ‘every woman’s dream’ man does:
“He has a well-developed protective instinct, as in the arm flung across the passenger seat in the event of a sudden stop.”
Protective? Or just a bit odd? If he was both protective and sensible he’d have checked that I was wearing a seatbelt in the first place. Moreover, I have survived for twenty nine years on this planet without men flinging their arms around me, shepherding me across the road, or cutting up my fish before I eat it lest I choke on a stray bone – I can protect myself fairly well, thanks.
“He can carry off fur trims, designer flip-flops, hair ties and hairbands, jewellery, cashmere hoodies and a man bag.”
There might be some women who dream of a man with a honed sense of fashion, but some of us couldn’t give a Fcuk. I’m happy if a boy is capable of putting his trousers on before we leave the house, and sensible enough to wear a coat if it looks like it might rain. And as for carrying a ‘man-bag’ – I despise the arbitrary inclusion of gender with this particular accessory. He does not eat with a ‘man-fork’ or wash in a special ‘man-bath’. My dream man just carries a ‘bag’.
“He is not scared to buy you underwear in M&S in an emergency – but will not step inside Farrow & Ball in any circs.”
I don’t know what Farrow & Ball is, but my dream man certainly doesn’t use the word ‘circs’.
“He considers the dustbins his department, but can also put flowers in a vase in a crisis.”
A man who considers the dustbins ‘his department’ is likely to be the sort of man who considers the hoovering to be ‘my department’, and is therefore probably an utter prick. My actual dream man considers all household chores to be a tedious waste of both of our time, but something we might as well do together to finish them quickly.
“He can buy presents without consulting his secretary/sister.”
Interesting. That’s true – my dream man is capable of doing that. But I wonder, dear readers, why the word ‘secretary’ was so casually thrown in here. Could it be possible that the author is assuming a) quite a few men have secretaries, because we are after all still living in the 1950s and b) all secretaries are women, hence why a man might turn to one in order to seek help with a gift?
In reality, men are perfectly capable of choosing gifts for people they know. Present-selection is a simple task, along the lines of ‘buying one’s own clothes’ and ‘paying the gas bill’ – it is not a rare skill possessed only by women and the crème de la crème of masculinity.
“He can look after three kids on his own.”
This, Sunday Times, is not ‘dream man’ material. This is ‘absolutely fucking basic’ material. If you have three children with someone and they are incapable of looking after them without you there to supervise, it’s not a shame: it’s an outright tragedy and one on which you should probably seek advice. Men are not bumbling, child-fearing buffoons – they are grown adults. And, like women, they produce and rear children.
“He drinks but never gets drunk.”
This dream man has a liver that surpasses our current expectations of human biology.
“He is open to yoga and meditation, Pilates and hypnotherapy…”
Because women are, naturally, obsessed with exercise techniques and borderline woo.
“He can do basic DIY and plumbing.”
Fair enough on this one, to be honest. My dream man can do this. But that’s because my dream man is a human, and I think it’s quite important that humans are capable of carrying out basic household tasks without crying in a corner.
“He finds strong women sexy.”
I’ll finish on this point, because it’s the most outrageously contradictory of the lot.
My own ‘dream man’, as it happens, does find strong women sexy. But then I’d bloody well hope he would because I am a strong woman, and if he didn’t find me sexy then he’d no more be my dream than he’d be a carton of cottage cheese. Clearly what this means is ‘your dream man should find you sexy’. A tautological statement if ever I heard one.
But if he finds strong women so sexy, why on earth is he insisting that the bins are ‘his department’? If he thinks I’m strong, he should realistically understand that I’m capable of emptying a dustbin without being permanently traumatised. I’ll be honest, Sunday Times, not only does the notion of a ‘dream man’ belong firmly in the dustbin that is ‘his department’, but the guy you’re describing sounds like an incomparable, inconsistent prick.