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Do abs matter to women?
Men’s abs. How much do we really care about them? With the recent release of Magic Mike XXL, women are eagerly flocking to the theater, possessed by the desire to gaze at gyrating, chiseled men who are possessed by the desire to arouse—ahem, entertain—all heterosexual women. An intellectual query must be engaged: How important are chiseled abdominal muscles to MMXXL’s successful formula?
Probably the best, most scientific method of gauging this question is to isolate some abdominals and recontexualize them. A great place to find isolated abs is the popular dating site OkCupid—I conducted a worldwide search for days, hand-picking the most ab-dominant profiles.
Strangely, I found that static, isolated torsos did not make any of my sex organs tingle, unlike my experience with Magic Mike XXL. I realized that more important than the abs was who the abs were attached to: men who not only showcased impressive dance skills, but engaged in deep thoughts and feelings. Since OkCupid does not have a “dance showcase” profile feature, I decided to analyze the most intimate and accessible of OkC’s profile prompts: “I spend a lot of time thinking about.”
Perhaps here I’d find a man who thinks, like Magic Mike, that God is a woman. Or maybe I’d luck upon a man, like Big Dick Richie, who longs to perfect his art by staying true to himself while arousing women. I was determined to locate a man who loved to show off his stomach and also projected more than one dimension of his sense of self. It wouldn’t be that hard, would it?
Would it surprise you to learn that most dating profiles which feature a photo of a man’s abdominal area do not have much other content? I can’t even count how many profiles didn’t make the cut because they failed to answer at least this prompt. (I’d initially wanted to also include answers to “The most private thing I’m willing to admit” prompt, but these ab men simply did not want to go there). My choices narrowed down pretty easily. Here are my findings.
Short, simple, and to the point. These abs are posed in such a way as to indicate he might not be a terrible dancer. In the very least, they spend a lot of time thinking about you (and me!), just like Mike, Big Dick, Tito, Tarzan, and Ken.
MMXXL grade: B
These abs (is he sucking in?) aren’t selfish – in addition to contemplating personal food and vacation goals, they’re also rightly concerned with climate change. This belies a depth which may not be totally unworthy of your engagement! Maybe those abs will come in handy when half of the planet is dead and those of us who remain are vying for resources.
MMXXL grade: B-
Look, ladies, these abs, in true MMXXL fashion, just want to mix you drinks, cook you dinner, and think about you—what more do you need? Added bonus: The pants underneath the abs seem to fit nicely which means he may not be totally unaware how to dress himself, something that Magic and his Mikes know how to do well.
MMXXL grade: A-
These abs mean business. You can tell by the setup in the background that these abs produce some sort of audio content—content that would surely be “on-the-air” if not for the corporate control of radio. It’s a damn shame that there’s no other outlet for music in 2015.
Because of the slight possibility that he dances (music!), I’ve bumped his MMXXL grade to a B-
These tanned, nearly orange abs have piqued my curiosity. They are seeking validation while also contemplating a controversial, tough, and conservative British woman. If these Iron Lady-loving iron abs messaged me, I might be inclined to pry.
MMXXL grade: B
Some abs are really into aphorisms. The mind connected to these abs has conceived of standing in this pool, the right arm up and posed behind the head and the body has achieved standing in this pool, the right arm up and posed behind the head.
A dancer in MMXXL might strike a similar pose, so he gets a B+
These ambitious abs have already changed the world by introducing it to this heavily curtained bath tub and a phone roughly the size of two abs, but this sentiment is trite and vague.
MMXXL grade: C
I wonder if this is what passes for humor in the abdominal sphere. It’s hard to tell, but one thing’s for sure: A wild pack of dogs controlling a major city would inhibit both growth and health.
On the off chance that this man is funny, I give him a MMXXL grade of B-
By far, these abs were the most loquacious abs I encountered during my worldwide search. Please take a moment to marvel at how self-aware these abs are. The first couple of bullet points alone! Following that, these abs have insightful thoughts on morality, gender, and roosters/cocks, an idea for improving the OkCupid experience, and a musing on the messaging differential among men and women. Be still my ABducted heart.
MMXXL grade: A
More abs that care about the planet. That’s great and all, but the room this photo is taken in puts me off. It’s dark and messy and looks like a basement or laboratory or garage—a place where one, especially a lady, could easily conceive of being murdered.
These abs know what’s up. They’re hip to the trend, but aware that it’s silly. More than anything, these abs illustrate that this man’s comfortable with his body, one of the most attractive traits of a MMXXL dancer. And he thinks about ice cream! You know who also thinks about ice cream? Tito. (Well, he wants to open a yogurt food truck and dances an ice cream/candy-based routine so close enough.) Also me.
Proof that I also think about ice cream:
MMXXL grade: A+
There we have it. Abs do not make the man, and they do not make us want the man. If they’re attached to a man who can think beyond surface-level concerns, make us laugh, and/or has dance skills, then we might be willing to pay at least $10.25 to spend some time in a darkened room with him.
Photo via SketchPort/Coprosaurus Riff
Jené Gutierrez is a reporter whose work focuses on feminism, politics, and internet culture.