Tag Archives: socked

“Men spend a lot of time grooming!” says company selling grooming tips, and socks

Straight out of the ‘lazily subvert a lazy stereotype’ drawer, we have the revelation in the Daily Mail that nowadays it’s those male types who are most obsessed with their looks:

HE’s the fairest of them all! Men now spend longer on grooming and getting ready than women

British men are no longer able to berate their female partners over how long they take to get ready for a night out – as they’re more likely to be hogging the bathroom themselves.

Recent figures reveal that men are spend longer on their daily grooming routine than females by styling their hair with driers and straighteners and deliberating over their outfit choice.

According to a survey by socked.co.uk, the average man can spend up to 75 minutes every day washing, shaving and styling themselves. This compares with the 70 minutes that women spend on their beauty regime.

Source: Daily Mail, 25 January 2013

 

Let’s deal first of all with the hideously-couched language: ‘the average man can spend up to 75 minutes each day’. Which really only says ‘men are unlikely to spend more than 75 minutes per day, but may spend any amount of time less than that’. Which really only says absolutely nothing at all.

What’s more, given the nature of these studies, the questions we’re asking, who we’ve chosen to ask and the exact way we’ve chosen to ask them is key – particularly when the outcomes are self-reported, with men being asked to guess how long their average daily grooming regime takes. It’s fair to say there’s good cause to take any results – and subsequent sensationalist headlines – with enough salt as to give your cardiologist nightmares.

While we’re on the subject of taking results with a pillar of salt, it’s worth noting the source of the data:

The website that provides a sock subscription for ‘discerning gentleman’ quizzed 1250 men aged 18-50 on their grooming habits.

I sincerely hope I can’t be alone in refusing to allow the Daily Mail to throw out terms like ‘a sock subscription’ as if this is an actual thing which happens in the actual world we live in. Of the vast, multitudinous glut of sock subscription services out there, which one are we dealing with?

Mark Hall from socked.co.uk welcomed the news as good for mankind.

He said: ‘This is superb news for the British gentleman. At last they’re paying more attention to their personal image, and mankind will be all the better for it.

‘Once men start to take care of themselves, they also start caring for the people and things around them. They turn from mere ‘men’ into ‘gentlemen’.’

Leaving aside the outdated and irritatingly reductive notion that men need to be ‘gentlemen’ (with the many associated implied judgements on behaviour that comes with this), it’s fair to say there’s a major commercial imperative behind the story. It isn’t hard to see how a company founded on offering grooming tips to men and encouraging attention to aesthetic detail – right down to the socks – would be interested in convincing men of the value of grooming.

“Chivalrous behaviour is dying out!” says website promoting chivalrous behaviour, and socks

Men, these days, just don’t care as much about having to live up to high standards of their forefathers. No, I don’t mean the treatment of women as inferior beings, but the really important things – like holding open a door. As the¬†Telegraph reported it:

Traditional acts of chivalry frowned upon as ‘suspicious’

Traditional acts of chivalry are being frowned upon because “standards have slipped” and a noble gesture is seen as suspicious, according to researchers.

A survey claims most women are striving for independence do not expect token acts of kindness like giving up a seat on a packed bus or carrying shopping bags.

The figures collated suggest that a breakthrough in equality but are disappointing for many bemoaning the lack of good manners regardless of gender.

Source: The Telegraph, 14 January 2013

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While a day later, the Daily Mail got in on the act:

Men’s chivalrous acts now make women suspicious as they have become so rare, study suggests

Women are suspicious of kind men who open doors for them or offer a coat on a cold day because of a decline in good manners, research has suggested.

Traditional acts of chivalry once thought to be polite and noble are frowned upon in the 21st century because they are so rare.

That means the ‘knight in shining armour’ persona is an unwanted fantasy now that women strive to be strong and independent.

Source: Daily Mail, 15 January 2013

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The line we’re being fed here, then, is pretty garbled: men aren’t the knights in shining armour they used to be, which is bad, but women get suspicious when men do act all chivalrous, so it’s good that men apparently are no longer very chivalrous? If that alone isn’t enough to demonstrate that this isn’t real research, but instead nonsense PR, then the game becomes abundantly clear in paragraph four of the Telegraph article:

Mark Hall, Gentleman Creation Officer for Socked.co.uk, said: “Men’s standards have slipped so far over recent years that any offer of chivalry from a gentleman knocks a woman off their guard and is viewed with outright suspicion.

Who is this Hall chap, he of the utterly ludicrous job title? He works for Socked.co.uk – a website which claims to offer men tips on etiquette, as well as selling socks, all predicated on the single thin gimmick of old-fashioned manners and gentlementality. Which is precisely why they created a nonsense poll to make it seem like the world is lacking in examples of the old-fashioned idea of what a gentleman should be.

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