Primp my bride

A comic cliché that goes back at least to the early days of Dagwood and Blondie: The husband pacing impatiently while his wife takes her good sweet time getting ready for a night on the town.

As with so many clichés, this one’s got some basis in fact. Women have much more to do to get ready, which means men end up with more time to watch the clock and get ulcers.

Proof comes from Great Britain, where a survey finds that women spend three times longer getting ready for a night out. On average, the study found, women spend an hour and a half preparing for a night out, including taking a shower, doing their hair, applying makeup and polishing nails.

Over a lifetime, this adds up to 3,276 hours (or 136 DAYS) spent on primping and preening.

“The figures come as no surprise considering the pressure that today’s women are under just to make themselves look good,” said Heather Boden of the body wash brand Skinbliss, which commissioned the research.

Women are bombarded with images from advertising and media, telling them what constitutes beauty and what products they must buy right now to reach that pinnacle. They’re made to feel that they must invest time and effort into looking their best.

Men, on the other hand, assume they look fine, even when they are covered in actual soil.

If you don’t believe this double-standard exists, try this experiment. Put any woman in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. She immediately will examine her reflection for flaws. She will get depressed over every bump and wrinkle. She will sigh. She will decide her clothes are hopelessly out of fashion. She will decide to go shopping.

Put a man in front of the same mirror, and he’ll start flexing his biceps, saying to himself, “Looking good.” This is true whether the man is a fit young Adonis or a middle-aged bald guy with the physique of a toad.

(The British survey didn’t differentiate between single vs. married, but I’m guessing the answers were quite different. People who are “on the market” invest more time in looking and smelling their best, just in case they meet that special someone, whereas a married person can feel fully primped as long as he or she is not wearing fresh baby spit-up.)

A typical man can get ready for any occasion in the length of time it takes a woman to decide “does this purse go with these shoes?” Then the man is forced to sit around in his uncomfortable dress-up clothes, getting increasingly anxious, while the woman does her hair and her makeup and changes outfits seven times. By the time she is finally ready, the man has rumpled his clothes, consumed too many pre-party drinks and is fast asleep in front of the TV. He then must spring awake and tuck in his shirttail and smooth down the dagwoods in his hair and drive like a bat out of hell so they can reach the special occasion before all the food is gone.

Plus, the reeling, half-awake man must remember to tell the woman how beautiful she looks. If he knows what’s good for him.

Otherwise, he may find himself asking: Does this purse look good upside my head?

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