Monday, June 25, 2007

Survey Says!

I am not an evolutionary biologist. I am definitely not remotely scientific. I was an English major with a minor in Speech. I don’t even know how a toaster works. But intrigued by the recent Tall Dark and Handsome results from the Beau Ideal post, I set off on a scientific exploration to discover why TD & H rules.

After wandering like Moses through the Internet (even coming unfortunately upon what was evidently a Neo-Nazi site), I’m still not sure. But here are some interesting facts:

According to National Geographic, female lions prefer their males to have dark manes. Dark-maned lions are hotter. And I don’t mean cute. They actually suffer from heat stress, but they’re tougher and stronger---they can take it. Female lions think they’re cool.

A Polish study showed that taller men had more children. Women liked them for the hard-wired evolutionary biological characteristics: tall=good health, social status, protection and strength. Tall men cannot be easily dominated by smaller men. Tell that to Napoleon, who, I understand was not really so awfully short. “The Little Corporal” was just an affectionate appellation; it didn’t mean Boney was short. He was, at 5’6”, actually taller than the average Frenchman (and yes, I know some say he was 5’2”, but there’s some kind of measurement mix-up according to Ask Yahoo, my source).

So, there you have it. Most of us like tall, dark and handsome men, and have since we were cavewomen. But I wouldn’t turn away a tall, fair and handsome guy---he’s got feelings, too.

Thanks to all of you for your participation in my "research,"not only how you like your men to look but how you like this blog to look! I'm a creature of habit, so it's back to "normal." But tomorrow is another day.

Do you know any myths you’d like to bust? Want to share a scientific fact? Enlighten me.

History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon. ~ Napoleon


Atherley said...

Here's a funny historical fact about Bonaparte: his legs were too short for horseback riding. He was seen frequently to fall off his mount. Of course, there's also the historical truth that he was just an inexpressively bad rider.

By the way, please listen up, you fans of the wonderfully TDH Ioan G. (whose last name I can never manage to spell correctly in Welsh, though I know it becomes "Griffith" in English): The great William Wilberforce, who IG portrayed in the film Amazing Grace, was only 5 feet tall!

A lot of other historical figures were abbreviated in the height zone, too, but I can't remember offhand who they all were. Except for Keats, who was only five-one.

Stephanie J said...

Alrighty, so I missed your blog about TDHH's but I shall post some interesting info here since it somewhat pertains to your question! I cannot seem to find the article, but I remember reading an article about common characteristic that have been shared by many/most of Hollywood's leading men throughout film history. Apparently many famous men have had relatively large heads (double meaning??!), strong jawlines, cleft chins, deep-set eyes, and they are almost always above 6'. Interesting, eh?

Hellie Sinclair said...

*LOL* OMG, Maggie, where do you find these facts? Lionesses like Lions with darker hair... *laughing* And I'm sure they don't prefer them bald either...

This is my favorite quote about Napoleon (though I think he may have a point about history): "I don't know why, but the little bastard scares me" (as said by one of his generals.)

I loved Ioan Gruffudd in Amazing Grace. *swoons* Fortunately...everyone was short back then. Although I'm curious why we're so tall now. Does every generation gain a couple inches or something? Would my children, should I have any, be like 5'9 or better then?

Hellie Sinclair said...

P.S. I have heard people with big heads tend to be more "photogenic"...women too.

Terri Osburn said...

That explains it! I have a little head. I used to be fascinated with Napoleon and Josephine. Read a book about their life together that contained their actual love letters.

I thought it was interesting to see the progression of the corruption. It is true that saying about "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". I realize I'm probably a bit off but you get my point. He never set out to rule the world. It just sort of happened. *g*

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Hellion, someone explained Vanna White's mysterious allure on TV---she has a big head. Terrio, I'm sure your head is every bit as big as it needs to be. *g*

Steph, very interesting facts about leading men. I think Cesar Romero even made a movie called Tall Dark and Handsome. And you're never too late here! What does your ideal man look like? Dish.

Anne, how do you know so much? I should send you on my pilgrimage for TDH facts. Ioan Gruffudd is one of the few stars that does anything for me, although I cannot make myself sit through either of the Fantastic Four movies (he's got an American accent in them anyway---bummer). Love, love, love the Horatio Hornblower series.

lacey kaye said...

I like 'em tall, dark and handsome, too. Nice.

Stephanie J said...

Hmm...he must have opposite features such as blonde hair and brown eyes or dark hair and blue eyes. Green can go with either ;) Tall? Check! Beyond that I'm open!!!! (Well, I would prefer nice triceps...)

AprilsMom said...

Hi, Maggie! I have a question about height that I hope someone can answer. Several years ago, I toured an antebellum plantation. In the foyer, against a wall, was a hall table with a mirror that stretched from under the table to a shelf just above the floor. (No mirror above the table.) The guide told us that ladies used that mirror to check how muddy/dusty their skirts were when they came inside. She laughed at me when I tried to see in the mirror--at 5'8" I had to back up several feet and bend over. She said most ladies of the time period were 4'6" to 5'2" and most men were 5' to 5'6". I know most people were shorter then, but THAT much shorter? Have often wondered, fact or myth?

BTW, what IS that corsetted gentleman doing? And why does he have gum on his backside? *g*

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

LOL, Aprilsmom. We decided yesterday he's talking on his cellphone, altho I think maybe's he's got a comb for his extreme sideburns. There must have been some device for the valet to put on his foot...where is clothing expert Kalen Hughes when you need her? I shall go forth and look at height---I'll draw the line at digging up our ancestors--- but I suspect we've all grown considerably in the past century. Some people attribute it to improved diets---others see something more sinister with chemicals and food additives. I feel pretty mutant anyway.

Lacey, join the crowd!

Steph, I am a brown-eyed blonde and people were always shocked for some reason. I do love a dark haired guy with hazel (my husband and son) or blue eyes tho. You have very good taste. :)

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

There are actually anthropometric historians who study height/weight. Here's a snippet from The Height Gap by Burkhard Bolger posted on Article City.

***Around the time of the Civil War, Americans’ heights predictably decreased: Union soldiers dropped from sixty-eight to sixty-seven inches in the mid-eighteen-hundreds, and similar patterns held for West Point cadets, Amherst students, and free blacks in Maryland and Virginia. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, the country seemed set to regain its eminence. The economy was expanding at a dramatic rate, and public-hygiene campaigns were sweeping the cities clean at last: for the first time in American history, urbanites began to outgrow farmers.

Then something strange happened. While heights in Europe continued to climb, Komlos said, “the U.S. just went flat.” In the First World War, the average American soldier was still two inches taller than the average German. But sometime around 1955 the situation began to reverse. The Germans and other Europeans went on to grow an extra two centimetres a decade, and some Asian populations several times more, yet Americans haven’t grown taller in fifty years. By now, even the Japanese—once the shortest industrialized people on earth—have nearly caught up with us, and Northern Europeans are three inches taller and rising.

The average American man is only five feet nine and a half—less than an inch taller than the average soldier during the Revolutionary War. Women, meanwhile, seem to be getting smaller. According to the National Center for Health Statistics—which conducts periodic surveys of as many as thirty-five thousand Americans—women born in the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties average just under five feet five. Those born a decade later are a third of an inch shorter.***

And Europeans, particularly the Dutch, are getting much taller. The av. height of a man from the Netherlands is 6'1"---but I bet they're blond!

Terri Osburn said...

I've always had dark brown hair and really blue eyes. My dad is the same way except his hair is almost black. I've had people ask me how I got dark hair and blue eyes and it always surprises me. I never knew that was unique.

PS: I get the small head from my dad too. He could wear my hats!

AprilsMom said...

Thanks for looking all that up, Maggie! I love "knowing" versus speculating. BTW, why didn't Career Day in school ever include anthropometric historians? I wonder at all the other jobs out there that elicit the reaction, "Someone actully PAYS you to do that?" :)

AprilsMom said...

It's a good thing someone doesn't "actually" pay me for spelling, isn't it? *g*