Is the perfect day different for men and women?

A new study claims to have nailed down the average woman's fantasy day

Simon Kelner
Wednesday 24 October 2012 10:59
Comments

Lou Reed's idea of a perfect day sounded pretty good to me. Drinking sangria in the park, feeding the animals in the zoo, and maybe taking in a movie. Reed wrote his anthemic song 40 years, when life was a little less complicated than it is today, and our expectations were not quite as high. So what would a perfect day look like in 2012? Thanks to scientists writing in the Journal of Economic Psychology, we now know the answer. Or at least we know half the answer.

Researchers asked 900 women with an average age of 38 what daily activities they liked most, and how much time they spent doing them. Armed with this information, they were able to construct a fantasy day for the average woman. I am assuming they chose to research women's desires because the female of the species is a more finely calibrated, psychologically interesting, diversely engaged individual. According to the survey, a woman wants eight hours of sleep and 106 minutes of "intimate relations".

If asked, men would prefer it was the other way round.

And what about women wanting to spend 57 minutes talking on the phone? Haven't they heard of texting? Why talk to someone when you can have a perfectly good conversation – or even an argument – without expending all that energy actually talking?

In any case, my own personal research would indicate that, for a woman, 57 minutes represents only one phone call. "The most pleasurable activities are usually less enjoyable the longer they last and the more often we do them," assert the researchers. Up to a point, I'd say.

I have always maintained that one of the only benefits of getting older is that you know what you like and you don't like, and you might as well keep on doing the thing you like until you don't like it any more. And of course, even a perfectly balanced life – with a mix of private time, work and pleasure – would become boring after a while.

Variety seems to be the key for women – they want their day filled with 16 different pursuits – whereas men's idea of a ideal day would be less diverse in nature – maybe a few hours watching football, followed by a few hours talking about it.

As I have demonstrated, it is difficult not to stray into gender stereotypes faced with this type of research, but it does strike me that women's and men's desires are probably much closer aligned today than they were 40 years ago. Socialising, cooking, exercising, shopping - these have become much more gender-neutral activities. And way back when, I doubt anyone would put a good night's sleep at the top of their priorities.

These days, once you hit a certain age, it dominates one's thoughts. Hands up who's not tired most of the time? Perhaps we've missed the crucial line in Lou Reed's manifesto for the perfect day: "Problems All Left Alone".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in