Yes, it is 2015, and this is the headline: Blondes fade from favour. What? Yes, that old saw again – but this time with a different punchline. Gentlemen now prefer brunettes, apparently. According to the latest survey by the dating website match.com, to be the “perfect woman” you have to have the following: blue eyes, a tattoo and an enjoyment of swimming. Of course you do; that list ticks all of the boxes, when you think about it. Blue eyes – a bit rarer than brown, but a lot less scary than green. The tattoo that reveals you have a racy, sexy dark sider and that you are daring. A bit of a hellraiser, perhaps. But there’s a sporty side, too; swimming – wow, you are wholesome, healthy and (crucially) thin. And the brunette – we never say brown – locks suggest a bit of a serious side too, bookish even. Bar the fact that the perfect woman is also apparently gainfully employed as a doctor (this indicates a caring quality, apparently), this description could describe Yvette Cooper, although I fear that even the perfect woman can’t hold a candle to men, with grey beards, in vests.
Actually, in the interests of equality, the perfect man is also described. For anyone who is still interested, the perfect man is an executive with brown hair who sports a “dad bod”, which I think means that he is a bit out of shape. Step forward Samantha (with the ankle tattoo) and David Cameron (with the moobs).
For all of us who have found perfection in a balding man, a woman with blonde hair, or no hair, or in a wheelchair, or deaf – we must all just happily skip into the unloved file named “diversity”. As much as public institutions and private companies alike have begun rightly to acknowledge that we come in all shapes and sizes, and now seek to reflect this on management boards, executive teams and the like, we are still constantly presented with aspirational images of ourselves culled from a Ladybird Janet and John book. Of course, we all know that a survey provided by a dating site is bound to be a nonsense. But everyone who reads the resulting newspaper stories will nervously measure themselves and then their partner up against it.
Is your partner earning the “perfect” amount? Chaps, brace yourself; that’s somewhere between £50,000 and £100,000 a year, while women, hilariously, are still considered to have potential whether they bring in JK Rowling-style bonus cheques or absolutely nothing at all.
Do they have the “right” job? Is their hair the right colour? No wonder why people whose looks, background or employment challenges the norm as presented by match.com or Hello! magazine might feel they are always required to explain themselves. What is depressing is, when it comes to describing our “ideals”, how little we have really moved on from the 1960s. Bar choice of hair colour in the headline, this survey could have leapt straight from the archives. What happened to that popular culture revolution, gender liberation, mass education and the proliferation of media? That’s if you take it all seriously, of course. This highly unscientific approach measured against a set of seriously silly parameters (dogs; tattoos; doctors – really?) appears to have been compiled by people ticking or crossing images they were shown on a screen. It sounds rather like another dating website, where you approve or disapprove of people you simply on how they picture up.
And if you’re judging people by how they look rather than the brain cells beneath that brown or blonde barnet (even though you know its politically incorrect), well, that’s a dangerous precedent to set. What about when people are positioning themselves not as a romantic partner but as a potential work colleague? That, by itself, is a whole other story.Reuse content