Wednesday 26 November 2014

Who do women want to impress on a night out? Here's a clue...it's certainly not the men

Lorraine Courtney

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

Dita Von Teese requires three hours and a glass of bubbly to get ready, before going out. Getty Images

Walk down any city street on a Saturday night and you'll see them, a gaggle of girls all big hair, bottle-tanned flesh and fluttering lashes, catwalking along: the result of hours of bathroom time.

A recent study of 2,000 women showed they spend just 40 minutes getting ready to go out with their partner but a whopping one hour and three minutes to head out with the girls.

The study, by Malibu Rum, found 44pc of girls actually prefer the process of getting ready for a girly night over the night out itself. It also found that almost two-thirds of women readily admit they set out to wow their friends and said that they always compare their appearance to that of their friends.

They choose high glamour when going out with the girls but are more likely to pick a casual, dressed-down look if they're going on a date with their actual boyfriend.

Television programmes like 'Sex and the City' set impossible standards of touchy-feely, sharing, caring female friendship. But friendships between girls are not all sugar and spice. They never were.

People often fail to recognise the intense competition between women. It starts in the playground with snide comments about other girls' appearances, spreading rumours, giving each other the cold shoulder.

American author Susan Shapiro Barash writes in 'Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry', that female rivalry has intensified lately. She interviewed 500 women and found that 85pc of them admitted to being competitive with their female friends, be it about lifestyle, men, achievement, children, money or, most of all, looks.

Just think about the internal dialogue each time you meet one of your girlfriends. Why is she wearing those low-rise jeans that showcase her muffin top so obviously? Why is she showing off cleavage at three o clock? Why hasn't she had her roots done? And there's plenty of self-doubt in our observations too. She's skinnier than me. She looks younger than I do. Her skin is blemish-free. She's got such shiny hair.

Whenever we look in the mirror, we don't wonder what our boyfriend sees. We ask ourselves what she sees. Does she notice this year's extra three kilos and our shellac manicure? It's for our female friends that we wear our giant peplums and crop tops. Most men can't tell if an outfit is from SS14.

I've never heard a man complain about hairy legs but I epilate constantly in case other women spot my fuzzy calves.

We're continually trying to hold our own in a world where all women are judged on their appearance.

One of life's eternal mysteries is just why does it take us women so long to get ready for a night out? Dita Von Teese insists on three hours, a glass of champagne and Billie Holiday in the background. Teenage girls manage almost as long.

But the ritual is not just about looking good. It's about taking our time and feeling good too before hitting the urban jungle.

Meanwhile, what does a guy wear when he wants to get the girl? It doesn't really matter. Men are meant to have better things to do with their time, like watching football and saving the world.

Men naturally want to have the best possible chance with women. They would doubtless put more of an effort into dressing up if they thought women would be impressed. But we wouldn't.

We might sometimes complain that his idea of making an effort is putting on his cleanest boxers but there remains something a bit suspicious about a straight man who puts too much thought into his appearance. We'll choose scruffy over hipster every time.

Far too often we imagine that other women are our competition rather than our allies. Something that we must climb over, like a clunky garden gate.

We're conditioned into thinking this way, that we must compete, plot and overthrow the women who are ahead of us. Blame evolution.

Besides, attracting a man is too easy: dress like Jordan and act like a housewife from 'Mad Men'.

Irish Independent

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