Any of you who know me, or who know the blog, will already know that I believe that the biggest issues facing women, stem from women themselves. We are mean, judgmental, cruel and competitive to name but a few traits and we disguise our bullying as cuddles. (That's not to say we aren't awesome and great the rest of the time of course!) The whole point of Pretty Normal Me is to encourage women to be kind to each other with this in mind.
I've always actually thought that men were the least of our worries, to my understanding I thought that the majority of them are so genuinely grateful at the thought of a naked woman that they don't really care for or notice the cellulite. In fact, in certain instances I thought that they actively encouraged it, what are boobs if not just big balls of fat after all?
But maybe I've been hanging out with a special breed of man, the nice ones exclusively, because I got the fright of my life last week on holiday after a spending a few days with a man who was so obsessed by a woman's appearance that he couldn't seem to see beyond it.
Now don't get me wrong, he's a lovely guy, kind and fun and near as damn it part of the family, but he did open my eyes to a side of men which I really hadn't been exposed to before. And that came as a huge shock, as I have lots of male friends and I don't know any who would criticise a woman's weight, rule her out for one feature or actually just be that judgemental at all, in front of me at least.
But as I heard the man in question being backed up by an older guy, I started thinking about it and it occurred to me that it might be possible that the blokes save the savagery for when I'm not around. In front of me, perhaps they are gentlemanly and sweet and behind my back they're letchy and weird and rude? Talking to this one particular man, that seemed to be the case. Apparently he just says things that other men are scared to. Apparently, he is the voice that all men have inside their heads, the one that they wished they used.
But is that true? Deep down are all men so shallow that they want nothing less than the perfect woman? The perfect woman by the way, to this man at least, is blonde, fit, with good boobs, a nice curved bum and pins (legs) 'to die for', something that I told him is not entirely realistic and doesn't necessarily equate to the perfect woman. Non-plussed, he continued by (drunkenly) telling me that this is what the 'majority of men' want.
Now I need to reiterate that this is actually, a genuinely nice man that I am talking about and so, although I haven't painted him well, you're going to need to put the pitchforks down and trust me that he's not the enemy here, he's just a fool following his willy.
Because yes, thanks to our society and the 'lad culture' that men live in, this 'perfect' woman that he searches for so desperately, is the dream. Presented with the opportunity all men would, I suspect, jump at the chance of a night with Scarlett Johansson, except those ones that are of course, in really happy relationships.
And that's just it. The national average for the UK woman is a size 16. And lots of us are in very happy relationships with men that totally adore us, wobbly bits and all.
I didn't actually get around to asking this chap what personality traits he would look for in a woman but knowing him as I do, I would hazard a guess that he would need someone kind, caring, funny and really interesting. The same traits that most of us are looking for in another person.
The difference is of course that most people fall in love with a person for a combination of reasons. We may fall into lust with a person based solely on their appearance, but that is about as far as it will go, because there always needs to be something deeper. And that is why, I suspect, this 'voice' stays in most men's heads, because they have learnt what it is that is truly important and they have worked out that what they need and what they want is more than just skin deep.
I don't know how commonplace men like these are, but if you do happen to know one of them, one who can't help but to leer and to judge women in front of you, don't necessarily rule him out as a friend or take what he is saying as a direct insult to you although it may well feel insulting. Of course it is, and it feels horrid when women who are seemingly thinner and more beautiful than you are being criticised for being 'too' anything, but as long as your friendship isn't romantic, remember that he doesn't mean YOU. Of course if you know said man in a romantic sense and he is still behaving like this, then it's probably time to get out now.
Men like these, in the wrong hands, can be nothing short of dangerous, particularly in the company of an insecure girl, but I hope and I think that they are a dying breed. I am sure that one day, the man that inspired me to write this article, will fall in love with someone who perhaps isn't 'perfect'. He's in his early 30s now and so whilst I am astounded that it has taken this long, I don't doubt that one day it will happen, he does deserve that and I'm sure his perspective will change when he falls out of lust and into love.
Most men these days, of the younger generations particularly, have huge respect for women, thanks often to their strong, hard working mothers who in many cases have raised them alone. I don't think that the dinosaurs describing a 'chick's' legs as 'chunky' are here to stay, but in the meantime we need to do what we can to bat them down.
For our own good we also need to remember that these men aren't REAL. This isn't real. You get most of them on one side for a proper conversation and you will realise very quickly that this is all a facade, that deep down this sexism isn't them. No, it's not nice to be around and no, it shouldn't be encouraged. But rather than taking it out on the individual we need to look at the society that allows them to feel that they can treat women this way.
Despite the latest McDonalds advert showing four men sitting around drinking coffee and talking about whether they've ever actually been in love and the Lad Bible dropping their 'Cleavage Tuesday' segment, lad culture is still seemingly more about 'pussay' than it is about 'feelings' and so really, what chance do young men have? When that changes, as will they.
We mustn't tarnish all men with the same brush, because this isn't nearly as common as it once was. No matter what they think that they want, when real men fall in love, appearances become dramatically less important and they love you, for all of you. And we really only want the real men anyway, so that works out rather well.