The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Goodbye new men, hello rough and ready

London, April 17: The age of the 'new' man could finally be over ' women want their men to have more masculine characteristics.

Mr Right, it seems, is dependable rather than fashionable, spends more time working on the house than on himself, and is more likely to buy his cosmetics at a corner shop than a salon.

Ninety per cent of the women questioned said that their ideal man was low-maintenance and easy-going.

Almost three-quarters said that they preferred a man who spent his spare time doing jobs around the house.

Nearly half (47 per cent) said that the ideal man spent his money on electrical gadgets rather than cosmetics, and almost as many (41 per cent) said that their Mr Right was a sports fan. Only nine per cent believed that their man spent his money on designer clothes.

The poll's findings might make uncomfortable reading for actors such as Jude Law, Orlando Bloom and Hugh Grant, all at the vanguard of 'metrosexuality'. Their emphasis on high fashion and personal grooming ' sending the sale of male beauty products rocketing ' is now considered a turn-off.

Rather than sarong-wearing stars such as David Beckham, it seems that some women prefer the charms of a new breed of rough-and-ready heart-throbs epitomised by the likes of Clive Owen, Daniel Craig and Colin Farrell.

The Harris interactive survey of 1,128 American women, carried out for Dodge Trucks, has been welcomed on this side of the Atlantic.

Margi Conklin, the editor of New Woman magazine said that the film Closer, which starred Law and Owen, had effectively separated the men from the boys. 'There was no contest between the two men in that film. Jude is very pretty but I think women prefer Clive because he is raw and sexy.

'Jude is slender ' he'd be a size 10 if he were a woman. Clive by contrast is a bear of a man. Women want to feel safe and looked after. It is wonderful and arresting to see a man who could pick you up and walk you over the threshold if you married him.'

Conklin insisted that a man who is obsessed with his looks is going to be obsessed with those of his lady ' something of a turn-off.

Kathy Lette, the best-selling novelist, also welcomes the findings. She said that metrosexual man had been a media myth with about as much basis in fact as the nonexistent new man. 'I think a lot of men called themselves metrosexual because they thought it would get them a more intelligent bonk,' she said.

'The bottom line is that women want a man who is not competing with them for mirror space. They don't want a man who has love bites on his mirror.'

So is it goodbye to grooming and hello hairy' Esther Rantzen, the broadcaster, doesn't think so. For her, bathing and beauty go hand-in-hand.

'Perfection lies in compromise. You don't want a man who spends longer than you in the beauty parlour ' but on the other hand, he must take regular baths and smell good.

'I go for real men like Robert Redford, but I have a feeling that his macho look and locks owe quite a lot to fake tan and a hair dryer.'

Ian Denson, the managing director of the leading London hair salon Nicky Clarke, agrees. Having worked with both Law and Owen on the set of Closer he is convinced that men are working on their looks regardless of whether they are trying to achieve a metro or macho appearance.

'There are a huge amount of men's grooming products out there,' he said.

'We have a lot of men who come into the salon who do want to be groomed. Some are metro, some macho, but they all are using grooming to achieve their look. Even today's macho men have an element of grooming behind them.'

Isla Blair, a doyenne of the British stage and the wife of Julian Glover ' who is starring in the West End production The Dresser ' believes that there is more to macho than a bit of designer stubble.

'No matter how macho and tough you look on the outside, on the inside you need someone who is kind and funny. A man is only macho if he is gentle too. Insensitive and boorish ' that's not macho at all.'

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