50 reasons you have sex. 5 ways to shred your abs. There’s nothing that bumps online traffic or magazine readership like a list. And a survey is the ultimate list: it’s a list of details about you! Why wouldn’t you want to read it?
And it seems this is prime time for surveys, with a raft of them floating by right now.
Ask a Stupid Question
The biggest new survey comes from Askmen.com, the gadgets-gossip-and-girls site. But the survey is also the most confusing: all we’re told is “50,000 of our readers were surveyed,” but not how (annoying “want to take a survey” banner? Dude with clipboard on street corner?), or why the “Dating & Sex” and “Lifestyle” questions were separated into Americans, Brits, Canucks and Aussies, but the “Men in 2009” questions seemed either to be US-only or likely confusing to the Queen’s subjects (“Does fantasy football factor into your love for the NFL?”).
Nevertheless, some fun was to be had:
- When the AskMen readers aren’t clicking obsessively on photos of Megan Fox, they’re traditionalists: almost 70% believing a guy should pay for most or all dates, almost 80% believing they “try to be romantic” at least “somewhat often,” and over 70% believing in marriage.
- Or maybe they’re not: 89% have no problem with gays in the military, over four-fifths of them believe a man should live with a woman before marriage, and three-quarters of them would like to have a threesome.
- A worldwide average of 54% of men would dump their girlfriend if she became fat.
- About a third of guys believe their sense of humor is their “main weapon to attract women.” (Aussies seem to be more realistic about this: only 26% think they’re that funny.)
- A whopping two-thirds of these men believe they have a soul mate. Out there, somewhere. Please, dudes, don’t sing about it.
- Everyone agrees that Italians are the sharpest-dressed men. However, opinion after that diverges: Americans believe they come in second, the British believe they do, Canadians believe they do, and Aussies think it’s them.
- 69 percent say they watch what they eat, apparently thinking the question meant “do you look at food before it enters your mouth?”
- Men’s irrational obsession with abdominals is quantified, with a solid majority believing it’s the body part women admire most. Chest and arms don’t even come close.
- If they could get away with it, a quarter of men would punch their boss in the face, and more than half would punch a colleague.
- 31% say the economic crisis encouraged them to save more money than they used to, but they actually haven’t done it yet.
- In “Which male public figure are you tired of hearing about,” a staggering 25% voted for either Zac Efron or Robert Pattinson. Staggering because 25% of men admitted knowing either Zac Efron or Robert Pattinson.
Boob Tube, Still Hanging On
The folks at eMarketer have their finger on the pulse of those to whom products can be sold. And the best way to sell them to guys is still to advertise on TV, so expect more awesome Keystone Light ads. How do they know? More male Internet users favor watching TV (18%) than using the Internet (17%). Younger folks prefer video games and the elderly prefer the Internet – it’s those middle-aged folks who skew the average back towards TV. eMarketer’s detailed like that.
And contrast the male results with the female results and we can see why it’s harder to relate: after Internet and TV, women like books. The guys? Video games. Meaning? The guy who can quote Chuck Klosterman is way more in than the one babbling about “fragging.”
It’s a Secret
Sometimes, however, a survey taker hopes to get people to buy their stuff, giving a mere taste in a press release. Cornell University’s recent study on “Favorite Dating Foods” is just that: they’re happy to tell you that daters prefer “neat and easy-to-eat foods” over “foods considered pungent or causing bad breath,” but salad and vegetables were the only foods mentioned by name. And having only that to think about is the mental equivalent of actually eating only salad and vegetables.
To sum up: don’t stink, don’t be sloppy and look healthy. Did we need a survey for that?
If we’ve learned anything today, it’s probably that if there’s something to be measured, someone will try to measure it…then they’ll try to sell it. In the end, it often doesn’t tell us much – especially if, like Cornell, they try to hoard the data.
Just for God’s sake, move out of the house.
The Great Male Survey [Askmen.com]
Favorite Leisure Activities [eMarketer]
Health and wellness top date food list: Survey [Foodanddrinkeurope.com]
Young men living at home with parents are more violent [PhysOrg.com]