- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2005

Women want the “man” back in “manly,” a Harris Interactive survey shows. The rough-and-ready attitude is in, women say, while the manicured “metrosexual” look is on the way out.

A full 61 percent of women surveyed said they would rather see a man’s hands rough and working hard than well-manicured, a slap in the face to the extreme-makeover, suave-guy crowd.

Ninety-two percent of women said dependability is a desirable characteristic in an ideal mate. Only 16 percent chose “fashionable,” and 62 percent chose “strong” as a desirable characteristic.

The Harris survey was commissioned by Dodge Trucks. The results, researchers say, are a testimony to the enduring power of sex roles on society.

“It just shows that there are some things that you can’t change and that, while feminism for a long time has been pushing us towards androgyny with little girls with trucks and guys with dolls, women tend to have feministic traits and guys the opposite,” says Carrie Lukas, director of policy with the Independent Women’s Forum. “If anything, it shows what feminism hasn’t been able to accomplish.”

The Harris survey was conducted among 1,003 men and 1,128 women 18 or older from across the United States. Among the findings:

• 75 percent of women said their ideal man buys his grooming products at a grocery store or drugstore, not a salon.

• 72 percent of women said their ideal man spends his free time doing home-improvement projects.

• 41 percent of women said their ideal man spends his time watching sports.

• 47 percent of women said their ideal man spends his money on electronics, compared with 9 percent who answered “designer clothes.”

• 90 percent of women said they prefer low-maintenance, easygoing guys.

If American women are interested in manly men, then why does Hollywood celebrate men who are in touch with their feelings and fashion?

“Peoples’ values that are reflected on TV often don’t translate into how people view the world,” Mrs. Lukas says. “Despite MTV and the New York City culture being hyped in mainstream media, it’s not how most American women view life and the opposite sex.”

Not all observers agree with the survey results.

“Women are looking for confident men, not manly men,” says David Wygant, relationship consultant and co-author of “Always Talk to Strangers.” “These manly men are arrogant. Women don’t want arrogant men.”

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