Male Interests

Imagine for a moment what a Martian student would think if he took a trip to earth to research an essay on ‘Men – what are they and what makes them tick?‘ What do we look like from the outside? What conclusions might be reach about us as a whole?

He might drop in to a local newsagent before doing some observational field research to look at some of the things men are interested in reading about. A quick trawl through the shelves for men reveals a complex variety of subjects. Men, it would seem, are interested in sex, cars, sex, computers, sex, body building, more sex and clothes… and did I mention sex?

But dig a little deeper, and the magazines would tell him that the only reason that men are interested in cars, body building and clothes is so that they can have more… you guessed it… sex!

I’m not quite sure where computers fit in.

— Tim Thornborough, in chapter 2 of Man to Man… about God.

7 thoughts on “Male Interests

  1. Xaclty. Computers are for those who have understood they stand no chance to get the real thing.

  2. I doubt any of those topics hold the interest of anywhere near the majority of men (well obviously besides sex). I mean, body building? Have you not heard about the rising levels of obesity? And clothes? WTF? Since when are most men interested in clothes?

    About the only thing that quote got right is that men like sex, and that’s not very insightful.

  3. James: well, it certainly seems like a fairly accurate representation of the “Men’s Magazines” section at WH Smith in the UK. I don’t know what newsagents in your area are like.

  4. I don’t know. The very concept of a “newsagent” may be a cultural artifact. I don’t even know *exactly* what one is (unless it’s an nntp client for Windows 95 made in the late nineties by a company called Forte) — I assume it has something to do with newspapers? But who reads those these days? If I were evaluating a foreign culture, that’s not something I would ever think to look at, certainly not first. Actually the first thing I’d look at would almost certainly be the behavior of people in public places, probably starting on the street and progressing to shops and public buildings.

    I also find the concept of an entire “Men’s Magazines” _section_ to be inherently bizarre. Wouldn’t it pretty much just consist of Sports Illustrated? Men don’t, as a rule, read a lot of magazines, at least around here. Well I suppose there’s also Reader’s Digest, and field-of-endeavor publications (NEJM, Forbes, Leadership, … anything marketed toward people in a certain line of work), but those are generally pretty gender-agnostic. Other than Sports Illustrated, magazines geared toward a certain gender are generally geared toward women, at least around here.

    (Err, I suppose there are also the sorts of magazines that are not generally displayed on shelves. But you’d have to actively go looking and/or asking for those, because they’re not displayed on customer-visible shelves. Someone visiting from a foreign culture would not immediately see any direct evidence of their existence just by walking into a store and looking at the magazine rack.)

  5. Jonadab: Here’s a list of some of the magazines WHSmith stocks in its “Men’s Interests” section.

    I’m afraid those “sorts of magazines” are, at least in the UK, on the publicly-visible shelves, although sometimes in a sleeve which hides the bottom three quarters. :-((