WHAT WOMEN WANT
THE WEEK|December 29, 2019
WHAT WOMEN WANT
TWENTY YEARS AGO, WOMEN WANTED MACHO MEN. NOW, THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT HAVE BECOME MUCH FUZZIER
ANJULY MATHAI

IN THE YEAR 2000, the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai had just released, and the actor had become the mascot of a new kind of ‘machoness’ for a multitude of Indian women. According to Roshan himself, he got 30,000 proposals after the film released. Apparently, women garlanded his portrait at Kali temples and pleaded with bemused priests to marry them to his photograph.

“Has India finally found the elusive, mythical NEW MAN, and is his surname Roshan?” Shobhaa De asked in the opening story of our cover package, In Search of the Sexy Man (April 30, 2000). “Is Hrithik the sole reason why countless callow fellows from Kanpur to Kanyakumari have suddenly started going to the local akhadas and toning up those tired abs?” De attributed the “Hrithik Roshan magic” to a combination of “strutting, swaggering masculinity” and a “heart-breaking vulnerability”.

THE WEEK also commissioned a survey by TN Sofre Mode in which 72 per cent of the 1,300 men and women polled agreed that ‘macho’ was the true meaning of manhood. Sixty-five per cent of the female respondents wanted to marry a macho man and 71 per cent of the men polled wanted to be seen as macho. So what exactly did being macho entail? Seventy-three per cent of the respondents found a macho man to be very friendly and outgoing, 67 per cent found them to be bold and courageous and 87 per cent found them to be caring and gentle. Or, as actor and model Milind Soman put it: “A macho man is one with complete manliness in looks, speech and expression.”

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December 29, 2019