Hello, gorgeous

Somebody took the trouble to conduct an international poll asking men whether they thought they were hotties.

Demur? Brush the question away with a coy 'really, how would I know'? No way. At least not in Greece, Russia and South Africa, where a resounding 81%, 80% and 78% are pretty sure they are hot. Very sure. 'Am I sexy? Hell yeah. Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?'

It's not a male trait generally. Averaging the 12 countries polled, men aren’t strutting too much: less than half (49%) think they're too sexy for their shirts. The cocksure Greeks, Russians and South Africans are balanced by modest men in Malaysia, China and France, who – charmingly – don’t think they’re particularly good-looking.

All of which raises questions, in my mind, around self-image: is confidence in your own gorgeousness a self-fulfilling prophecy; or is it simply a delusion that no-one shares? We’ve seen the grotesque results of too many interventions – surgical or steroid-based – on the part of people who’re obsessed with bizarre extremes of self-image (though body dysmorphic disorder is, of course, not the same thing as over-confidence).

But we also know for a fact that looks count in the real world in the sense that good-looking, tall, confident people get better jobs, earn more money, and generally have an easier time of it than their less fortunate fellows. So Malaysians, Chinese and Frenchmen who try to make it in Greece, Russia or South Africa need to get with the confidence programme.

As we head into the final straight before the holidays, I have this to say: there is one form of confidence that emphatically works against you, and that’s the kind you find halfway through your second martini. There are very few charming drunks. Most of us get messy.

And so – at least unless you’re sure you’re among friends – be safe through the party season. Don’t drink enough to make inappropriate people look attractive. Don’t believe everything Greek, Russian or South African men tell you. Be kind to Malaysian, Chinese, and French men. And don’t drink and drive.

(Heather Parker, Health24, December 2008)

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