Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Good men, girly men?

High School Musical star Zac Efron (L) and Sean Connery as James Bond (R). Photos / Supplied
High School Musical star Zac Efron (L) and Sean Connery as James Bond (R). Photos / Supplied

"Taking the pill for past 40 years 'has put women off masculine men" screams the headline in the UK's Daily Mail.

There's evidence, according to this report, to suggest that when women are more fertile, they are attracted to masculine men and those with 'dissimilar' genetics, while when they are not fertile they like the caring, sharing type of man with boyish features.

The millions of women currently taking the contraceptive pill worldwide do not have fertile days, and are therefore - the theory goes - rejecting Neanderthal man as a potential mate at an alarming rate.

Conversely, it has also been shown that a woman is more attractive to men during her fertile time, and so, if she's never fertile, she is 'restricting' her ability to be attractive to the type of man that also wants a real "opposite" as a mate.

Result: men and women really are becoming more alike.

It would be amazing to think the contraceptive pill had that much of an impact on our evolution as a species (though of course it's had a monumental effect on our social life and culture).

But perhaps there are other factors at play?

One might be that women got sick of boorish he-males and realised, thanks to the feminist movement, that they could assert themselves.

Therefore, the Sean Connery type, which might have seemed dashing, daring and attractively bossy in times of yore now seems hopelessly condescending.

Another factor that I reckon might have had an impact on who women choose as mates is that of marrying when older.

When we are young we do go for the dangerous bad-boy types, the James Deans, the Johnny Depps (when he was a bad-ass).

But as older women marry and mate, we know in our hearts that those types are wholly unsuitable as husbands, for one, but as fathers as well.

If a huge number of women are settling down in their 30s, getting married at an even later date, and choosing more "evolved" men to make babies with, this might just have some impact on the study results.

There seems no doubt that the type of man now considered sexy is more "pretty" - Brad Pitt, Zac Efron (who the hell is he anyhow? I'm too old), and that sleepy-eyed guy from the Vampire movie are, in fact, pretty boys.

But could that be because gay men have a huge influence on fashion and artistic/cultural trends and have left  - ironically - little space for the overly masculine, overly gruff versions of male sexiness?

Who knows.

The problem I see women having is they want the 'masculine' package, but when it comes to helping out with child-rearing (see, I did get to it at some stage) they really want Supernanny, Martha Stewart, Mrs Mop and Coco the Clown (for the kids, obviously) wrapped in a man's skin.

If the poor sods have all that, as well as an acute sense for 'listening to what happened during my day', 'paying me lots of attention' and 'offering to give me a sensual massage - and nothing more', so much the better.

Wrapped up in a Brad Pitt or George Clooney exterior? Perfect.

Not too much of a tall order, is it? Guys? Guys??

- Dita De Boni

Pictured above: High School Musical star Zac Efron (L) and Sean Connery as James Bond (R). Photos / Supplied

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Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

Read more by Dita De Boni

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