In pondering recently what makes a truly great first date, I was also led to contemplate what’s appealing in a boy in general (that’s what it took to think about it, because I obviously don’t spend train journeys; tube journeys; time waiting in the queue at the post office and any other idle moment I get contemplating hot boys. Oh no no).
And, not wanting to give you just my opinions on the matter, I did a little crowdsourcing amongst the girls, to make sure what I think is scrummy isn’t skewed and idiosyncratic, but representative of at least a whole three women… So, should you be determined to make your dalliance fall irretrievably in lust, here are a few things it won’t hurt to have:
- The ability to laugh at yourself. Yeah, we like successful men, powerful men, ambitious and driven men. But we don’t like successful, powerful, ambitious and driven men who believe their own hype. We’d far rather spend the night giggling and joking around in a dingy pub, or sharing takeaway on the sofa if the alternative is Philip Green.
- Lovely hands (I did think it might just be me, and that I’d developed some kind of crazy hand fetish, but it’s not. JournoGal and Best Mate have both backed me up on this one). There’s something wonderful about a man’s hands - and all the more so if they’re well-kept. You don’t need to visit a manicurist (in fact, please don’t visit a manicurist) - just don’t bite your nails. And if you can sneak the occasional dollop of your housemate’s expensive hand cream, so much the better.
- A sense of tactility. At the right time and place, obviously: there’s a difference between being tactile and just being gropey, and we don’t want to be felt up under the table at Sunday lunch with Ma and Pa (well, actually, sometimes we do. But do it subtly). A quick squeeze of the shoulders whilst you’re behind us on the escalator; an arm thrown round the shoulders when you’re walking along next to us; a hand on the waist and a quick peck to the forehead when you pass through the kitchen: all good. All very, very good.
- A great aftershave. I know, I’ve said it before, but this can’t be overstated - and anyway, it’s not just me: this was a unanimous choice. I quote: Best Mate: “Decent aftershave is irresistible. A really good one can stop a girl in the street.” You heard it here first.
- A lovely gravelly voice. A hot accent has never hurt anyone either (I’m a big fan of (in no particular order) gentle Irish; lilting Scotch; a hint of South African or a nice, crisp RP), but that’s a bonus. If you’re a bit squeaky in the vocal department, take up smoking and whisky drinking. Ignore what the NHS says - it’s hot. Exhibit A: Don Draper.
- Stubble. Yes, we bitch and moan about the rash it gives us (mainly because it makes you harder to hide from our mothers and gossipy bosses), but we don’t mean it. It makes you look hot. And anyway, that’s what Liz Arden’s 8 hour cream was made for.
- The ability to give good hug. We love our girlfriends. We love the hours we spend with them, nattering about the flaws in the Kimberley process, or the finer points of morality in Blair giving his book profits to the RBL (ok, ok - or True Blood and shoes. Whatever). But they can’t give big, all-consuming, wrap-you-up-like-you-might-stop-breathing, everything’s-going-to-be-okay bear hugs. Hug us right, and we might just never let you go.
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