Kate Livingstone: Great smile, nice eyes, good calves

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I was going to start this column by saying – “A friend of mine has been talked into joining one of these dating sites”.

But I have decided not to fib, so I should say that I have been talked into it.

Well, I say talked, I should really say bullied or hounded into it.

And I have to say I’m glad I did - what great fun I have been having.

In saying that, I haven’t actually met anyone yet, oh no, I have been having way too much fun reading what people have to say about themselves and, more interestingly, what they are looking for.

Some men are very specific.

They want a 25-year-old who works in hospitality who is under nine stone and is between 5’3’’ and 5’4’’.

Others are unsure: they don’t mind if someone is living with their parents or if they have been divorced five times.

However, it seems some are still attracted in the simple things - a great smile, nice eyes and attractive calves.

Yes, calves.

Now I’m not talking about men who are interested in a lady farmer and are overly concerned about the quality of her young cows.

No, seemingly good calves muscles are an important part of your physique.

I suppose it’s maybe a little less obvious than a man saying he’s looking for a woman with good legs, but it’s still an interesting concept.

Good calves were an asset in a time before online dating was thought about.

Henry VIII, for example, loved his calves. Strong calves, he believed, were a sign of a strong man and even a man’s virility.

As a young man, Henry was athletic, a frequent tennis player and horseman, and admired his own leg muscles.

As you may have guessed, the notorious Henry is one of my favourite historical figures, although I agree his treatment of women, particularly his wives, can and should be frowned upon.

Anyway, it’s interesting that this one muscle, once a sign of a man’s power, is now a feature they look for in a potential partner.

So, I decided to take a straw poll, and asked around the office, targeting my male colleagues.

“Have you ever looked at a women’s calves with any great interest?” I asked.

“Not knowingly,” said one perplexed guy.

“Why do you ask?” asked another.

“Just for an article I’m doing for the Herald,”

“If men say that’s what they want, maybe they just don’t want to appear shallow.”

Mmm, think I prefer Henry’s reasoning.