THERE is no denying online dating apps have changed the way couples meet but could the pressure to ‘peacock’ be changing men’s grooming habits?
Beauty experts claim men are spending more money and time on preening themselves to get noticed in the online dating realm. They say ‘Tinder pressure’ has led to a new culture of ‘manpering’ and apparently, it is on the rise in WA.
Research by online beauty therapy booking service bookwell.com.au found 30 per cent of West Aussies believed men had become more ‘high maintenance’.
So, what does the beauty regime of a WA man look like? Well, for some, it is pretty similar to a woman’s. The survey found 29 per cent of men are dying their grey hair, 18 per cent are using anti-ageing lotions, 9 per cent have had laser treatment and 6 per cent go all out and use botox and dermal fillers.
And it doesn’t stop there. According to the research, 18 per cent of men use concealer or makeup to improve their appearance, 12 per cent use fake tan for a healthy glow and 18 per cent regularly get manicures and pedicures.
Exfoliating, waxing and plucking are now every day norms…
Absolute Cosmetic Medicine Managing Director Dr Glenn Murray said the taboo surrounding men and image enhancing procedures had started to lift, with men now making up 30 per cent of clients.
“The number of males that come to us has steadily increased over the years,” he said. Dr Murray said he had found social media had created an increased pressure for both males and females to look good, often making people “feel inadequate”.
The most popular non-surgical procedures for men are wrinkle relaxing injections in the forehead and around the eyes, fat dissolving injections for the double chin area and anti-sweating injections. Surgically, the clinic generally helps men with gynecomastia (man boobs) or fat reduction around the abdomen.
When it comes to image, there are particular trends which stand out among West Aussie men.
For hairstyles, the survey found the top styles included the beachy look, the shaved head, the mid-length cut with a fringe, the quiff and of course… the man bun. They also love a robust beard but when it comes to chest hair, the smooth operator comes in at number one.
But, are social dating websites playing a part in influencing the way men look after their appearance?
According to Murdoch University lecturer in social psychology Dr David Lewis – who researches the features that influence male and female mating decisions online and in the real-world – it is “plausible” but in a nuanced way that’s more subtle.
He says it all comes back to attraction.
“Women – in general – value cues to men’s status and ability to (successfully) take risks,” Dr Lewis explained.
He said when it came to the online dating world women looked for physical cues that, evolutionarily, would have been statistically linked to men’s genetic quality.
Dr Lewis described one type of these cues – testosterone-associated features, which range from muscles to facial hair – as “human versions of the peacock’s tail”.
So, to ‘peacock’ – sometimes without even being consciously aware – men are showcasing themselves in a way that highlights their manliness and status.
How? Well, they tend to choose photos of themselves taking part in extreme or adventure sports, fishing or dressed in a suit while holding a top-shelf drink at an upscale bar.
“We also see subtle attempts – no consciousness implied – to display additional cues within these photographs. For example, the images in which men are holding a large fish often conveniently display the man’s biceps and chest muscles. Or, in the photos from the bar, the men are surrounded by – and right in the centre – of a group of friends, thereby signalling social status,” Dr Lewis said.
Although, it’s not always that easy to get a girl to swipe right…
“For men’s profile pictures to convey both status and genetic quality, the pictures have to strike a very delicate balance between things like facial hair and a clean-cut look,” Dr Lewis said.
“Getting that balance just right might not be an easy task – and is one that a salon could potentially help with!”