Why women think that David Gandy is the sexiest man alive
As the Dolce & Gabbana model returns to our TV screens, Chrissie Russell looks at the different types of men that make ladies swoon
We all know the ad -- a devastatingly attractive man and woman are adrift in a tiny dinghy floating on a perfect bright blue sea.
The man, tanned with piercing blue eyes and wearing white pants so tight they would make your eyes water, wraps the girl in a passionate embrace while Italian opera blasts over the soundtrack as a perfume bottle appears in the screen corner.
Well, it's back.
Dolce & Gabbana this month launched a new ad for their fragrance, Light Blue, which returns to the boat theme. The girl has changed, she's blonde this time, but the divine man, and his tiny pants, has remained the same, much to the delight of women everywhere.
The man is David Gandy, the world's most successful male model, who has plunged into the spotlight three years ago when head honchos at D&G realised what most women could have told them a long time ago, that there's something very marketable about a man who is tall, dark and handsome.
Bizarrely, when the Essex-born model, who is 6ft 3in and boasts a 41-inch chest, broke into the industry nine years ago, he was considered too big.
"Very early on I went to a casting for Dior and they asked me to try on a suit," he says. "I couldn't even get one leg into the trousers, let alone put the jacket on. All the models were standing around going 'hey, who's the big guy?'"
Not so now. Whilst the women's catwalks may have been slow to embrace a larger, healthier look, Gandy's post-gym, lean, muscular look has been echoed on runways around the world and made him the world's top male model and one of the most in-demand faces for luxury brands the globe over.
You'll not catch him in skinny jeans; he's a fan of tailoring. What's more, he's smart -- Gandy's university educated and has just launched his own style venture with Apple.
He's self-deprecating and laughingly refers to himself as "white pants man" and he reckons he has no interest in bagging a supermodel unless she can make him laugh, saying: "I've worked with the most beautiful women in the world and if they're not humble and don't have a sense of humour, then they don't appeal to me."
In short, he's the perfect man.
There will always be a man who can universally make women go weak at the knees and by and large they reflect the fact that most women want men to be men.
We may dabble in androgyny (Brian Molko from Placebo), the skinny-jean wearers (Pete Doherty) and the baby faces (Zac Efron), but more often it's a pair of strong arms, a bit of chest chair and a pair of twinkling eyes that will make the ladies come over all funny.
Since Clark Gable's raw sex appeal of the 1930s, it's been overtly male characters like Paul Newman, James Dean and Sean Connery that have been Hollywood's hottest pin-ups.
Dating expert Paula Hall, an adviser for online matching site Parship.ie, says our attraction to rugged, confident men is likely tied up with our innate animal desire to find a healthy mate.
She says: "Women instinctively know that genetic compatibility will give them the reproductive advantage of strong healthy babies and the best chance of him staying around long enough to help care for them."
But this doesn't account for the fact that sometimes even less hunky types can induce a little weakness in the knees.
Actress Miley Cyrus reckons her ideal man is a teenage variation of weedy Coldplay's Chris Martin while singer Ke$ha confesses: "My ideal man would be fat with a beard. I love fat men -- real men." And let's not forget, Sex and the City where Charlotte finds lasting happiness with a short, fat, hairy bald man.
This, Paula says, is down to the unpredictable nature of attraction and the understanding that women don't necessarily want to end up married to the fantasy.
She says: "It's hard to define the sort of guy that makes women go weak at the knees because it's often tied up with that elusive term 'chemistry'.
"There's a common denominator of the strong handsome type with clear attentive eyes, a brilliant smile and charming conversation, but every woman will have their own theme."
It's interesting that when it comes to the practicalities of dating, women shy away from specifying a "devastatingly hansome hunk".
According to online dating service Parship.ie, the categories most women rank as important in a potential suitor are honesty (94%), fidelity (85%) and openness (83%) with 71% specifying sex appeal and just 48% demanding good looks. By comparison, just 12% of Irish singles say they'd be turned off by baldness, back hair (25%) or a flabby gut (21%c).
As much as the perfect man is great to imagine, being with the reality is less than ideal. Imagine the stress of dating one of the world's most coveted men -- the horror of feeling inadequate and paranoia of wondering if a more attractive rival will lure him away.
Maybe Ke$ha's right -- the real men are the keepers.
"Often the harsh reality is that the man who makes us go weak at the knees isn't the same type of man who we can live happily ever after with," says Paula. "But true compatibility goes much deeper."