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Why Women Want

Why Women Want

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New survey shows what women want - while ladies prefer macho men, they want to marry pretty boys, writes Deirdre Reynolds

Stubbly hunks like Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell might be our perfect partner between the sheets but, when it comes to setting up home, women have declared a ban on macho men.

Scientists claim to have discovered just what it is women want when it comes to marriage. And far from the stereotypical image of a square-jawed stud with a washboard stomach, it seems the perfect man is almost as pretty as his missus.

Psychologists asked 400 men and women to rate the faces of men who were digitally altered to look both manly and girly. And guys, it's time to put down the weights and reach for the moisturiser instead

Participants were asked to predict personality traits such as dominance, ambition, wealth and whether the subject would be faithful or make a good parent. And while would-be wives reckon muscle-bound men are fine for a fling, they think pretty boys make the best marriage material.

Bee-stung lips and doe-eyes like cherub-faced chef Jamie Oliver or blond hair and baby-blues like Ronan Keating's scream 'Marry me' to women looking to settle down, according to the study. Conversely, women trust Tarzan types about as far as they can throw them.

"This research shows the high amount of agreement between women about what they see, personality wise, when asked to 'judge a book by its cover'," lead author and psychology lecturer Lynda Boothroyd said.

"They may well use that impression of someone to decide whether or not to engage with that person. That decision-making process all depends on what a woman is looking for in a relationship at that time of her life."

Call us shallow, but the research revealed that most girls gauge a man's long-term potential by what's on the outside first. And, unscientific as it may sound, they favour feminine features such as full lips, wide-eyes and soft eyebrows - seeing them as synonymous with warmth, faithfulness and fatherhood. Meanwhile, larger noses and sizeable jaws virtually deem a bloke a write-off for a wedding.

Dublin-based psychologist Marie Slevin agrees that while flighty young ladies are busy scanning the bar for fit blokes, those looking to settle down focus in on guys who would look comfortable strapped to a papoose.

And girls get even more ruthless in the dating department when their biological clocks are on the verge of spontaneous combustion. "When you're looking for a husband, you definitely look for a different type of man," Marie explained. "On the surface, women like the assertive, good-looking male. But when it actually comes to choosing a life partner, they're more likely to go for someone who they think is going to be a good father. I think that's especially true as women start to get a bit older."

While Neanderthal Man was rated or slated on his ability to skin an animal, these days women are looking for a man who's handy with a Hoover. As modern wives swap nappies for laptops, they demand a hubbie who helps around the house too. So rugged stars like Russell Crowe and George Clooney might make us go wobbly at the knees, but it's girly boys such as Orlando Bloom, Ashton Kutcher and Johnny Depp who tug at our heartstrings.


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