Hit & Run

Scientific Polls Finally Answers Freud's Plea: What Do Women Want?


According to a story in the Washington Times, it's time to dump those quiche futures. Citing a Harris Interactive poll, "manly men" are kicking ass like hardhats working over a bunch of hippie protesters on Wall Street (scroll down).

To wit:

A full 61 percent of women surveyed said they would rather see a man's hands rough and working hard than well-manicured, a slap in the face to the extreme-makeover, suave-guy crowd.

Ninety-two percent of women said dependability is a desirable characteristic in an ideal mate. Only 16 percent chose "fashionable," and 62 percent chose "strong" as a desirable characteristic.

This poll--or at least the Times' reading of it--stinks worse than a Hungry Man dinner covered in Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Note, for instance, the implied opposition between "dependability" and "fashionable," as if a metrosexual (some of my best friends are, btw) is too busy moussing his hair and watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to take out the trash.

Then there's the use of F. Carolyn Graglia as a definitive voice of wisdom:

"…a good husband is one who is strong, dependable, is going to accept the burdens which he is going to bear in the workplace," she says. "And he doesn't have to buy his own shampoo, because I do all the shopping. He doesn't have to do anything but go out to work and win the bread."

Wash Times story here.

And sorry boys, she's taken (by late '90s campus speech cause celebre Lino Graglia). Cathy Young reviewed Graglia's unintentionally hilarious book Domestic Tranquility, which makes June Cleaver look like Gloria Steinem, a few years back in Reason, noting:

This tome, which can be kindly described as eccentric, may not seem worth discussing--except for the glowing blurbs from William Kristol ("stunningly bold and deep") and Danielle Crittenden of The Women's Quarterly, who praises Graglia as "a courageous thinker." Well, I suppose it does take courage to argue that it's not good for women to think too much, or to suggest that female genital mutilation is just a slightly too "draconian" way to achieve the worthy goal of curbing female sexual assertiveness and affirming male mastery in sex.

That piece is here.

None of this is to suggest that some women don't want "manly men" who don't know where the shampoo aisle is in the supermarket. Or that some men don't want, what, girly girls? as spouses. But the strange emphasis on rough-hewn male paws on the part of many conservatives--who are not exactly known to exude studliness as a species--is strange, as is the conflation of "manly" with "dependable". And that's not to mention the implication that hygeine beyond the basics should call forth a Mr. Roper response.