The perfect male face

In the interests of equality, I’ve researched what scientists* say are the perfect male facial characteristics, so, gentlemen, how do you measure up? How do you feel about the way men are presented in the media?

Women want it all

The ideal male face combines some contradictory characteristics (are you surprised boys?). Take the highly sculpted cheekbones and firm jaw of Clint Eastwood and add in the boyish, vulnerable, big eyes, small nose and pouty lips of a young Paul McCartney and you have it.

Difficult to visualise and could be quite horrific to imagine, so they helpfully identified some men that successfully combined the maximum characteristics that are supposed to appeal to women of all ages, cultures and ethnicities.

Apparently there are significant differences in tastes regarding body size and shape and grooming, but in a man’s face, what gets a woman’s pulses going on first sight, is this macho/vulnerable combo.

The guys that have got “It”

The researchers managed to finesse this feature combination so it can be measured by millimetres either way. A nose that’s just a smidge too big or too wide can blow it. The ideal faces selected in the research included Robert Redford – big blue eyes, smallish nose and manly chin and jaw, Mel Gibson, little boy blue eyes, square jaw, O J Simpson and Tom Selleck. (Note to self: a bigot, a murderer and a gay icon, when will we women ever learn?) So, it seems size matters after all and not in the way we might have thought.

Actors, that have their admirers, lost out on their universal appeal mainly due to having big noses, like poor old Al Pacino. I wonder what the research would have made of Owen ‘nose like a penis’ Wilson and Aidan ‘beaky’ Brodie?

* Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, University of Louisville

What women think is sexy

There was another experiment with both men and women using altered photographs of the same people to test people’s reactions when certain features were altered. The results confirmed that there seems to be a universal check list amongst women for what constitutes a sexy male face.


Weak jaw line

Chubby cheeks

Small eyes

Undefined nose

Low cheekbones

Thin lips


Defined jaw line

Slim cheeks

Large eyes

Defined nose

High cheekbones

Fuller lips

These studies were based on ‘fleeting glance’ attraction rather than taking into account all the other things us women get picky about (K individual and pretty random), so as a man, I wouldn’t go rushing to the plastic surgeon just yet.

There’s always one…

I, on the other hand, and, I expect most of the women reading this, will have our own views on this research. If any man had even the merest whiff of Paul McCartney’s features, I’d have a can of mace and a rape alarm ready and as for Mel, OJ and Tom – no thanks, not if they were the last men on earth etc. But then, I rather like big noses and I find Aidan Brodie VERY sexy. I wonder which of my cave-woman instincts he’s appealing to?


(c) caroline wilde 2012

8 thoughts on “The perfect male face

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