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Guest post - My Boyfriend!

Hi - I have kicked Becky off the blog today, because I figured my beauty advice is much better!

It’s been a while since Becky started her blog, and I have been mentioned a few times. Now an admission - I am not beautiful - in fact she described me as looking like an old wrinkled boot the other night. The last beauty product I used was soap, and not just any old soap, Tesco Value Soap (or was it Wilkinsons? - brand awareness does not feature much in my mind.)

I am therefore completely unqualified to talk about beauty products. I have observed three things
a) they cost a lot
b) they come in pretty packaging
and c) Becky spends more time writing about them than she does reading my latest research!

Given all that, I thought I might have something of interest to say to beauty bloggers. If I manage to get past Becky’s scrutiny you will read this on her blog, and I must stress it’s just one blokes opinion, but I think it may interest a few people.

I’m a straight guy, and while I know some beauty bloggers are, my lack of enthusiasm for cosmetics gives me an outsiders perspective. So first up, I think beauty blogging is really interesting, as is lifestyle and fashion blogging. I occasionally read Becky’s posts here (to see if they mention me) and have followed a few bb types on Twitter.

Secondly, I’m pretty much convinced that a lot of women’s magazines make women feel bad about themselves, and think the only answers lie in buying expensive products.

Thirdly, I think buying expensive things to pamper yourself is nice, and my ‘feminist’ critique of the beauty thing does not mean I think people should stop, anymore than my general feeling obesity is unfortunate does not mean I think people should give up on ice cream and luxury chocolates. It is good to be happy, and have nice things, and help others get nice things.

What I want to write about is how men perceive women and beauty. I’m ancient, and have known a lot of women, and have heard an awful lot of men talk about women. I have also tried to study it, a bit.
Now I fully recognise that women do not wear make up etc for men, 99% of the time, but for themselves. Still for that other 1%, and because the male gaze follows you everywhere, here are my thoughts!

So what do men like in women in my experience, looks wise?

The biggest single effect on your perceived beauty comes from your expression, as far as I can work out. Girls who are smiling, laugh a lot, and seem happy are always judged as more attractive in psychological experiments. Smiling at a cute guy will have more effect than anything else, or so I am told, in how he rates your looks. Later, personality and stuff will take over - but for first impressions, smile. This has the advantage that you can be depressed, even clinically depressed, run down, look like hell and just crawled out of a skip, but smile and joke about it and guys will think you are cute.

Secondly, height seems to matter. Now don’t panic - even if 4’2" there are LOADS of men who go for petite women. LOADS. A lot of them are very tall too for some reason. It’s all relative - but sadly heels will make you more attractive to the average bloke it seems. Or so studies say - my girlfriends have ranged from well over 6’ to 5’ I think, and I can’t see a type. Still, adding an inch to your height with not completely flat shoes might work when dating.

Third, men like big eyes. No idea why. So eye makeup that makes your eyes look big, or interesting, that is good.

Now usually women think men are obsessed with boobs/legs/bums. And we are - but far less so than many other features. I don’t recall more than twice in all the decades I’ve hung around with men who are discretely eyeing up women any of them mentioning these attributes to me and their mates. Maybe I hang around with a funny bunch - mainly uni students and geeks - but direct comments on a woman’s figure is rare.  

So what do we notice? Hair. Long and natural, pink and spiky, wavy or styled, men make a lot of judgements about who a women is on her hair. If you have clean healthy hair, men will notice. Dunno why. I doubt they will examine you (or notice) a little dandruff - but they will look at your hair.

After that your face. When it comes to make up, less is usually more, but as someone who hung out in the goth clubs of the 80’s, that is far from a universal rule. Choose a style that expresses who you are *today* and go for it - and the same goes for clothes.

Now it matter not if you are Size 6 or Size 26+ to a lot of men (and all men have their preferences - based on my observations size 12 seems to be the slight edge on preferred figure among guys I know, but it varies wildly.) Men don’t care about your weight a zillionth as much as you do. Well some complete arses might - but you really don’t want to argue with them.  What matters more is “are you healthy?"

Physical health is the thing humans look for in a partner. Now if you have a long term illness, or disability, that does not matter a jot I think. In fact it might make you more interesting, and rouse a guy’s protective instincts. What matters is purely superficial - do you appear healthy on the outside? This is where all the beauty stuff can pay off - conceal obvious blemishes, apply subtle foundation, and make self look and feel pretty.  When we say someone is “fit" I know the phrase is a contraction of the 90’s “f2f" but it really does tell us a lot.  Evolution means we try and select outwardly healthy partners - but healthy does not mean skinny/muscular whatever. Intelligence, kindness and wit are all forms of social health - and even the very very physically ill can score highly. However this is what your beauty products are for - making you look healthy and happy (which few of us are all the time, after all). Recent research has shown obese people may be healthy - your physical shape is not a good indicator of health. ("Idea" weight BMI people have lower life expectancy than those heading towards overweight I think.)

Anyway I’m a big fan of the 60’s band Jefferson Airplane. One of their songs which I think is actually pretty poor, and one of my least favourites has a lovely refrain though “You’re just as pretty as you feel inside".
Now Jefferson Airplane would not lie to you - and we now get to confidence. Recently a few of my friends were looking at an issue of Glamour - I hasten to add we were not looking at a “glamour magazine" but at Glamour magazine - and they had a piece on “What makes all women look better naked." We could not actually find the article in question - rarely can find the stories on the covers of these magazines which seem to be trade catalogues full of adverts to us men - but we guessed what it might be. I suggested “vodka?" and my friends scorned this. They eventually decided - confidence. (One suggested “hold up stockings", but this was ruled out by us as not naked!) It was Tom I think who said confidence. I was the only dissenter.
You see I think some men at least are scared by assertive confident women when it comes to first impressions. We like intelligent, strong women - but I think shyness, awkwardness, even geekiness and quiet types can be really attractive too. One Direction seem to hint at this in their That’s What Makes You Beautiful song - and I am ashamed to admit I know a One Direction song at my incredible age! (I know it from Just Dance 4.)

When I first met Bec she was pretty low, and recovering from a serious physical illness. Yet she was clearly (to me) beautiful. She certainly did not have much confidence back then.

The real key though is blokes like women who are themselves, and comfortable with it. You can be as outrageous as Cyndi Lauper, as slinky as Elvira, or as bang on fashion as all those people Bec talks about that I have never heard of it and it matters not a jot, so long as you are you. Cultivate an individual style, and go for it…

I could write a lot on clothes, but this is not a fashion blog, and so I’ll shut up now. Still if by some miracle anyone did read this far, comment (rudely probably!) and I will cheerfully answer questions, but better still ask your male mates and compare what my mates think with them. And yes I know Comso etc have run this article a zillion times, but I never get beyond the “How to have sensational orgasms with 5 household objects" type articles without falling over laughing.

Hey, I’m old and cynical. But at least I can say now I wrote for a beauty blog?

cj
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