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Do Kenyan women care about men’s body sizes?

Men are said to be visual creatures who, while they are attracted to fertile-looking curvy women on one hand, complain when they feel the woman has let herself go and become too fat.

We sought to find out if women feel the same way about men’s body sizes and asked four women whether a man’s body size has an effect on his attractiveness, and whether his weight affects their happiness in a relationship.

THE WOMEN:

Dorothy, late 20s, call centre operator:

“I prefer a man who lies between skinny and athletic, but a chubby man is also fine if I am impressed by his character. A man can be chubby but healthy; so as long as his cholesterol and other aspects of his health are not affected by his size there is no problem.

If my man gains too much weight it would affect what he is capable of doing so I would talk to him about losing the weight, but if he has a potbelly it just has to go.”

Florence Waeni, mid 30s, editor at a publishing firm:

“Men think that charm and money are all it takes to attract women, but we also look at the physical. A man who is overweight is not healthy and if my man gained too much weight I would encourage him to lose it by cooking healthier meals and ensuring he eats smaller portions. If that does not work, I would probably give in and accept who he has become. I can stand a potbelly as long as it is not the kind that swallows the belt.”

Leah Kibandi, mid 20s, customer-care officer:

“A man does not necessarily have to look like William Levi but it pays to maintain a good size. We are told to focus on values rather than the physical, but I have to like what I see first. Of course, if he gains weight after we are already married, I can’t decide I don’t like him anymore so I would encourage him to exercise without hurting his ego.”

Joycelyn Mwangi, early 30s, event manager:

“Weight matters because it has an effect on flexibility, fitness and overall health. I like a man who still looks presentable and fit even as he ages. If my man adds weight because I have cooked for him that is fine, but there is a certain line he shouldn’t cross because he would no longer be attractive and that might strain our relationship slightly. If he does I would use all means to make him work out.”

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Dorothy: You know how they say good things come in small packages? It is true. I have dated a skinny man before and I can assure you they are full of surprises. They may look weak and limp but they are very energetic and active.

Florence: I would not date him because I like a fleshy man. His size makes him look like he is not settled, and is just starting out in a career. I would only consider dating him if he has a good character.

Leah: I would only date this man if he was taller than me when I am in heels and if he has good character. Otherwise it would feel like dating my small brother. I look stronger than him and I would feel no sense of security being with him.

In fact, I would feel like I need to protect him. However, the good thing about a thin man is the possibility that after you cook for him he will gain weight and get to an attractive size.

Joycelyn: I would not notice this man because he is too thin and there is nothing striking about him. He needs some meat on his bones, but I would date him if he was tall and if he successfully makes a good impression.

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Dorothy: He looks like an inactive but chubby teddy bear and is very cushiony so I would probably date him, especially if I was drawn to his character. But if his weight is a health issue I would try to get him to work out.

Florence: I would not date him because I need someone who does not struggle to move around and one whom I won’t end up doing everything for. He looks like a lazy man who has a source of income that (allows him to laze around), and probably likes eating.

Leah: I would never date this man. When I look at him I see a fat woman complete with hips and I would be embarrassed to be seen with him in public. I’m the one who is supposed to have hips. He would probably look gross in a formal pair of trousers as it would get lifted at the crotch and put me off. He is prone to lifestyle diseases and can only be a friend.

Joycelyn: I would not be happy dating this man because he has no body structure and does not look masculine. I would not be happy dating him because if you see us walking together from behind you would have a hard time picking out who the man is. Such men look very lazy, eat junk and have a don’t-care attitude.

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Dorothy: I would date him because he is extremely fit and athletic just like I am so we would have something in common. A guy with his body type is likely to be energetic and adventurous because with such a body you can do just about anything.

Florence: This man probably believes image is everything and takes extra good care of himself. He is probably a bouncer or works in a gym, but I would only date him for fun because he would probably go out and look for another woman if he felt I was not good enough.

Leah: He has a nice muscular body but he looks like an attention-seeking show-off who probably works in a security firm. He seems like the type of man who pays attention to detail and spends a lot of time in the gym or playing rugby. I would date him because he looks masculine, healthy and strong.

Joycelyn: He looks like a joker, a wanna-be and a player who does not know what he wants from life. He is the kind of man who wants to make an impression and works hard to maintain a six-pack.

In my 20s I would have been attracted to this guy but now I would rather an average-sized man with brains rather than brawny man. But I would not mind a hug from him. If I dated him it would be with reservations because I think I would be fighting with other women over him.

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Dorothy: I would not date an average size man because everything about him is likely to be average. He is neither fun nor boring to be with and probably has an average job and average life and that is not a fun person to be with.
Florence:

This man looks like the kind who takes good care of himself and is particular about what he eats. My impression is that he is the kind of man who takes care of his business, family and work and so he is dateable.

Leah: I would date this man because his size makes him look like a tender, gentle man who would not allow himself to balloon.

Joycelyn: I would date him because he is noticeable, does not look like a child and has a masculine physique and an aura of security and maturity about him. He looks like he can get the job done, thinks fast and is able to mobilise people to do things.

Nation

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