Shock news: men spend more money than women getting ready for first time sex
It's tough being a woman: you're expected to be primped, preened and Barbie-smooth any time you so much as show off an ankle, else the body police will run up and draw huge red circles of shame around the offending areas. So I was shocked to see that men actually spend more time, money and effort on getting themselves in tip top condition ahead of first time sex.
(NB: when I say first time sex, I'm referring to the first time you have sex with a new partner, not first time EVER sex. In those case the money is normally spent on WKD Blue and chewing gum.)
The new research commissioned by MSN found that the average British man spends £46.79 ahead of first-time passion, while British women spend £41.84. £46.79?! What are they spending it on?! Surely they're just expected to roll on a slick of deodorant, brush their teeth and put on some clean pants? Even their underwear is simpler than ours: it's a one piece, made of cotton. There's no need for clever German engineering for lifting, hoisting and plumping. There's no pretty (but ultimately chafing) lace, slippery impractical silk or fiddly hooks and pulleys for attaching stockings. Men have it easy compared to us. They don't have to go through the pain and indignity of a full-body wax (which leaves the waxer with a more intimate knowledge of your body than your beau ever will) or coating their skin with sweet-smelling grease to leave it perfume and baby-soft. So what are they spending the money on?
Well, this, according to the study. Or at least these are the top ten things a man is most likely to do before he has sex with a new partner:
1. Shave his face
2. Get a hair cut
3. Tidy his room
4. Trim his pubic hair
5. Buy new underwear
6. Buy new cologne
7. Buy a new outfit
8. Buy new bed linen
9. Have a back wax
10. Have a facial
Us women, in comparison, are more likely to do the following:
1. Remove hair from their legs
2. Buy new bed linen
3. Buy new lingerie
4. Have a standard bikini wax*
6. Buy a new outfit
8. Buy new perfume
9. Eyebrow treatment (e.g. waxing, threading and/or tinting)
10. Have a Brazilian/Hollywood wax*
*Assuming it's one or the other, not both. No one is that hairy.
So what does this tell us about men? Well, for a start, that they lie in surveys – I've slept under waaaaayyy too many sets of crispy bed sheets to believe they're all rushing out to John Lewis to stock up on Egyptian cotton, and as for facials… Are we really expected to believe that's tenth on their priority lists? But it also tells us they're just as insecure as us women when it comes to getting their kit off for the first time. As MSN.co.uk relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr says, “It’s fascinating that men are spending more on pre-date preparation than women… Men are increasingly feeling the pressure to impress their dates.
“It might also seem surprising in times of recession that the average Brit bloke spends nearly £50 simply getting ready for a ‘hot date’, with women not too far behind. But there is enormous competition out there and so psychologically it makes a singleton feel ready to put their best foot forward.”
In fact, the survey found that spending all this money made most men feel more confident baring all, while almost a quarter confessed to feeling pressured by society to go the extra grooming mile before undressing.
"Spending time, effort and money on personal grooming for someone else's benefit is a sign of respect."
While it's sad that some men are feeling pressured to deforest before their big dates – no one should feel obliged to do anything - it's also nice that men are finally making the effort. Women have been taught for far too long that they have to look pornstar-perfect to even get a second glance, while men just have to sniff-test a t-shirt and rock up. It's nice that things are finally evening up a bit and that in return for our impossibly smooth limbs, we can expect decent linen and to run our nails down their backs without danger of getting tangled in a hairy forest or flushing out small woodland creatures.
Forget walking over hot coals, a man who has battled with a pot of hot wax is a real keeper. Spending time, effort and money on personal grooming for someone else's benefit is a sign of respect. It shows that you are worth making an effort for. Plus, he'll be more appreciative of your efforts if he's gone that extra mile himself. And on the flipside… He'll be equally as understanding when you let your routine slip a little, as no-one can keep up with the 'first time sex' body facade for more than a couple of months before the (face) mask slips and you reveal yourself in all your natural stubbly glory.
So what does this mean for us women? Well, for a start, we might need to re-think the economics of dating: previously, the unspoken agreement was a man should shell out more on a date because you would have spent a fortune on a new outfit, shoes, hair removal and other beautification rituals. Maybe we should start picking up the cheque a little more? Or maybe we should all give each other a bit of a break, or at least agree that the facials are a liittttllleeeee too much.
Are you surprised by the findings? In your experience, have men spent a lot before the first night of fun?
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- No! They just spray some aftershave and that's it!
- Hmm - maybe, the sheets did look freshly cleaned
- Yes! Men make more of an effort than women