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Open Mike           April 2000

Welcome to Open Mike

Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
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Survey Says:

The importance of physical appearance in a relationship
Results from our April 2000 Three-Minute Survey

A majority of respondents, men and women alike, agreed that physical appearance is very important to a healthy long-term relationship. And close to everyone agreed that it's at least somewhat important.

However, when we began to decompose the idea of physical appearance into 'hygiene,' 'body' and 'dress,' different views emerged.

Hygiene is a virtual no-brainer. It was considered a very important factor in a partner by an overwhelming majority, and most everyone was satisfied with their partner's cleanliness. Most women were confident that their partner is very satisfied with their hygiene, but men weren't so sure: 30% thought their partners were less than fully satisfied. Almost every respondent agreed that their partner's hygiene level hasn't changed since their relationship began.

Responses to the Body questions (i.e., weight, trim, etc.) were less straightforward. Both men and women considered it a somewhat or very important factor in their partners, though it became less important for older women. Women also showed significant dissatisfaction with their men's bodies: more than half were not entirely happy. Men, who expressed complete satisfaction with their partner's bodies, also felt confident that they were similarly regarded - a delusion perhaps? Most tellingly, almost half of women respondents indicated that their partner's bodies have worsened, while men felt that their women's bodies hadn't changed at all.

In the question of "dress" (neatness, fashionable v. unfashionable, etc.), men were generally more demanding than women, but they were also more satisfied with their partners. Women tended to be less satisfied with their men, but almost a quarter indicated that their men's dress appearance had actually improved over time (perhaps the men are trying to make up for their deteriorating bodies...?).

Of course, all the answers, all the expressed satisfaction levels, are entirely relative. What for one man passes as very satisfactory hygiene, could fail miserably in the eyes of a woman. The bottom line is that our readers ascribe a significant importance to physical appearance, whatever their individual standards of acceptability may be, and for the most part, they're all quite satisfied with what they've got.

Note: Numeric results are not quoted, so as to preclude the appearance that this is anything else other than an entirely non-scientific survey.

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