By: Hugh Wilson
Most people think so, but there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary…
Hot pants, mini skirts, exposed midriffs, side boobs…Mmmm.
Erm, ahem, splutter. Apologies. No, you haven’t interrupted one of our regular afternoon naps.
No, we’ve been pondering this male fantasy list of female fashions for perfectly sound scientific reasons.
Because the latest study says men don’t go for flesh baring females at all.
Can it be true? We spend longer than strictly necessary searching for an answer.
Men like demure
According to the new research which polled 2,205 single British men, each aged 18 or over, poor old Rihanna wouldn’t have much of a chance with the average British bloke (we bet she’s gutted). And if Kylie approached us in the kind of mini skirt that showed her famously pert bottom to best effect many of us would compliment her on a fine body of work but suggest she keep her other body more modestly under wraps.
At least, that’s what you might conclude from a study by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, which found that while 31% of British men liked a revealing dresser, 54% of us preferred a woman in “classy” attire.
And what do they mean by classy? Well, according to the poll, 45% of us prefer a woman in the sort of styles popularised by the demure Duchess of Cambridge (though not in those French magazine photos).
In other words, we like women to leave, well, pretty much everything to our imaginations. Who on earth would have thought that?!
It’s all about respect
Apparently, and here the study wanders onto slightly dodgy ground, it’s all about respect.
More than half of those polled said they’d respect a woman more if she dressed in a reserved way, while just a quarter said it depended on the woman in question. Just 22% said they’d respect a woman who wore revealing outfits.
That might be because women who flash acres of flesh make us a little bit nervous. The poll also revealed that 38% of men admitted to feeling intimidated by women in overly revealing clothes.
George Charles of VoucherCodesPro.co.uk said: ‘We were interested in discovering whether or not men were more likely to approach women who wore a specific style of clothing and whether this impacted their decisions to give out their number.
“Surprisingly, more men preferred to approach women who were wearing reserved and classy attire rather than a revealing outfit.”
The perfect (out)fit
Perhaps surprisingly, science has something to say about this too, and it backs up the prim and proper approach – well, a bit.
It was previously thought that men like to be able to see as much of a woman’s skin as possible, because the more flesh on show, the more accurately they could (subconsciously) judge her youth and therefore her fertility.
Long legs, a slim waist and large breasts can also be biological indicators of fertility, which may explain the mini skirt, crop top and push up bra.
But attraction is more complex than that, even among sexually driven young people, as a study by researchers from Leeds University discovered.
In the study, female researchers discreetly observed women from a balcony overlooking the dance floor of one of the city’s biggest nightclubs.
And what they found was that women baring quite a lot of flesh were approached most often by men. In fact, women who revealed around 40% of their bodies attracted twice as many men as those who covered up.
In other words, the study doesn’t back up the idea that long skirts and demure tops are what men like best, or at least it suggests they’re not what the young men who frequent northern nightclubs like best.
But nor did the study confirm the idea that the more revealing the better for women trying to find a boyfriend. Because the popularity of women (in terms of how often they were approached by men) began to fall off after the 40% mark. The more flesh they showed beyond that, the less popular they became.
So even among young men in a nightclub, there is such a thing as a too revealing outfit. It’s probably fair to say that the rest of the male population would be, if anything, more conservative.
Too much of a good thing
So why do men, who it’s generally thought can’t get enough naked female flesh, balk at real women who dress too revealingly?
It could be that while female flesh is always alluring, too much on public display sends mixed messages to men who want to be titillated, but not share that titillation with lots of other men.
Or, as psychologist Dr Colin Hendrie, who led the study, said at the time: “Any more than 40 per cent and the signal changes from ‘allure’ to one indicating general availability and future infidelity.
“Show some leg, show some arm, but not any more than that.”
So there may be some truth in the idea that men are turned off, or at least intimidated, by the Rihannas of the world. In truth, men are a mass of contradictions on the subject. Though ostensibly we like to see as much flesh as possible, in potential partners it seems there really is a point where we can get too much of a good thing.