Are you trying to swoon women with your great washboard abs? Not so fast, Mister! You may be on the entirely wrong track!
What Women Want
“Six-pack” or “washboard” abs, visible abdominal muscles, are probably the No. 1 thing most men getting into bodybuilding and fitness strive for, closely followed by huge muscles in general. And why? To impress women, of course! But do women really love men with a six-pack and big muscles?
You may safe yourself the trouble of laboriously trying to get your body fat percentage low enough, if getting female glances is your reason for trying it. Not only is your mid-section covered with clothing most of the time, anyway, but clearly visible “washboard” abs actually aren’t that high on women’s judgment scales.
Already in 1981 a study had participants look at pictures of males and grade their attractivity. And what came out as being the most crucial factor in determining what a good-looking male body is? Not the six-pack, it was broad shoulders. Or, more accurately, broad shoulders and a slim waist, giving the male body a v-shape. Since then more research confirmed these findings and in 2003 another study gave us even the waist-to-shoulder ratio judged most attractive: 0.6.
Anthropologist David Givens summarizes this in his book about human courtship, Love Signals, with the help of Michelangelo’s David:
His wide shoulders, narrow waist, and essential wedge shape suggest strength without the intimidation of a larger Hercules, Atlas or Incredible Hulk frame. David’s abdominal muscles show the softer definition women prefer to the harder washboard abs featured in men’s magazines. David’s is the quintessential masculine shape, lean and strong – yet neither too lean nor too strong for comfort.
A woman’s comment on Digg about a Times of India article with the same subject confirms this:
I would rather take chubby over a six-pack. Something about how the abs look when they’re defined like that creep me out.
And if you search around the Internet for more female opinions on this, you will be surprised how many women have similar sentiments. But rarely do any complain about a man with broad shoulders.
The whole “a six-pack is the biggest sign of male attractiveness” thing is a fairly recent invention we have to thank the advertising industry for.
Thirty years ago it were mainly women who had their attractiveness dictated by advertisers, but in the last decades men became a target as well. But the looks of male models don’t quite represent anymore what women judge as handsome, just like the looks expected of female fashion models at some point stopped to represent what men really see as most attractive – the majority of men find the typical underweight model of today less attractive than a woman of normal weight.
If you therefore try to get that six-pack just to impress a woman, you may want to rethink it. If she isn’t a fitness fanatic herself, it most likely will impress her a lot less than you think.
If you would like to calculate your own waist-to-shoulder ratio, please see this article.
Picture courtesy of David Gaya.