Are you a perfect woman?

Hugh Wilson
Woman(Getty Images)
A new study purports to show what women want in a ‘perfect man’. But what would the opposite research show? What traits make up a man’s perfect woman?
A recent study by clothing company Austin Reed analysed the tastes and preferences of 2,000 British women and came up with a list of 30 traits that made up the 'perfect man'.
It's a pretty curious list. According to Austin Reed's findings, the perfect man earns £48,000 a year and drives an Audi. He is six foot tall with short dark hair and loves shopping. He eats meat and watches football but rings his mum regularly.
Oh, and he can swim. Obviously. You can find the rest of the list here .
So given that this is a woman's view of the perfect man, what traits might make up the opposite list? What is a man's view of the perfect woman? We've trawled the evidence to take an educated guess at 20 traits men seek in a 'perfect' girlfriend.
Here's why we've chosen the traits we have, and the full list is at the bottom of the page.
Physical traits
This, I'm afraid, is the politically incorrect bit. According to psychologists Alan Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, authors of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, the average bloke wants, well, Barbie.
Note we say the 'average' bloke. It doesn't mean your bloke wants Barbie, or that many blokes aren't quite happy to date women who aren't of Barbie-like proportions. But evolutionary theory suggests that western men are, in general, hardwired to appreciate these traits. Think Jordan. Think Page 3. Think Wonderbras and hair dye.
Because Barbie basically means small waists, big boobs, long (preferably blond) hair and blue eyes.
Why are these traits appealing to men? Because they signify health and fertility. Shiny hair is an indicator of health (sick people's hair quickly loses its lustre), and Miller and Kanazawa reckon that, because hair grows slowly, long hair is a living, growing health record for the past two or three years.
Also, blond hair tends to get darker with age, so a male preference for blond may simply mirror a preference for younger women.
Small waists are also an indicator of fertility, because it's been shown that women with a low waist-to-hip ratio have an easier time conceiving. And the large breasts? This is a contentious one and is clearly not true of all men, but one psychologist thinks it's because larger, heavier boobs sag more with age.
In other words, they more clearly show how old you are, and therefore how fertile you're likely to be. Small boobs may mask your real age, and the uncomfortable truth is that men (subconsciously at least) want younger women with whom they have more chance of passing on their genes.
Remember, these preferences became hardwired at a time when life was much more precarious than it is now. A study of Finnish parish records from the 17th to 19th centuries by researcher at the University of Turku, found that men maximised their "evolutionary fitness" with women 14.6 years younger than themselves.
"Those men had the highest number of offspring surviving to adulthood," said Dr Samuli Helle, who led the study.
Other traits
That's the evolutionary perspective, and recent studies tend to agree. For example, a study carried out in 2008 found that, ideally, men would go for a physically fit size 12 who weighs around nine and a half stone.
If that sounds all too predictable, at least the men didn't go for a size zero, or even a size 10. Studies tend to show that men are not drawn to super-skinny models.
As a spokesman commented: "While the old adage 'Gentlemen prefer Blondes' still holds true today, it's interesting to note that in this world of size zeros and calorie counting, men are more interested in height than weight, and prefer a medium-build girl to a skinny girl."
According to the study, Miss Right should also be good in bed. No surprise there, but away from physical traits the research did spring a surprise or two.
For example, 54% of the respondents said they wouldn't date a woman who earned more than £25,000 a year. That probably means men want a woman who earns enough, but doesn't earn more than them. It's man's evolutionary role to be the main breadwinner, and it seems modern men are loath to give it up.
One American study, published last year, threw up another surprise. It found that more single men than women now want kids. So an ideal woman might be one who can definitely foresee a family some time in the future.
What men look for in a perfect woman
So that's some of the things men apparently look for in the 'perfect woman', and why these traits are so desirable. And here's what else they might want in this fantasy babe, culled from studies and scientific research. You can't hope to boast all these traits - and you probably wouldn't want to - but the list at least shines a light into the murky world of the male mind.
So, the perfect women ...
* Is of slim-to-average, but not skinny, build
* Is long haired
* Earns around £25,000 a year, or not more than her boyfriend
* Is younger than him
* Has a good sense of humour
* Is good in bed (by 'good' men principally mean enthusiastic)
* Wants children one day
* Is shorter than him, ideally 5ft.8in
* Is a non-smoker
* Likes pets
* Doesn't live with her parents
* Occasionally wears glasses
* Is optimistic
* Owns a car
* Has larger than average boobs
* Is a nurse or works in PR
* Has blue eyes
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