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July 11, 2014

Why Do You Like A Man In Uniform?

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I was travelling to work on Tuesday - for the first time in months - and found myself watching a Joburg Metro Police Department officer waving his white-gloved arms through the air as he directed traffic. I began to wonder why on Earth a man in uniform is so appealing to a woman.

In my opinion, uniforms not only look, but are, uncomfortable. Remember how much you disliked your school uniform? Exactly. The fabric is inevitably scratchy because it is either starched to retain its shape - otherwise everyone will look different after the first time they wash - or naturally stiff.

But what exactly is the allure? We even feel a certain attraction to men dressed up in the trademark uniform of business - the suit - and weddings - the tuxedo.

It has a lot to do with the psychological impression that one can get from what someone is wearing. Have a soft spot for check shirts? You may believe it's a sign of compassion and being down-to-earth. Prefer a man with skinny jeans? It may be that you like to see a man who's confident with his body. Get the giggles for a man with a uniform? Uniforms are usually worn by people considered diligent and  hardworking. Particularly if you throw in a bunch of men wearing military uniforms, other associations come up as well, including heroic and brave.


This may appeal to our patriarchally-defined natures of needing protection, and who better to do so that a man trained in the art of heroism and war?

I also think it also has a lot to do with social conventions that have been passed down through our parents and through literature over the last century or so, and, sadly, it has to do with money. If a man was not rich by birth, he could be relatively well-off by making his way up the ranks in the military and receiving steady pay from the government for his service. This happened often in Jane Austen's books, and though it wouldn't really apply today, us little women have been trained to see men in uniform as being a sure thing when it came to money - unless, of course, the men in question gambled it all away...

What superficial creatures we are! Do you enjoy seeing a man in uniform? If you do, why do you think so?

{Image credit: Wikimedia Commons\Alexander Cohen\Google Art Project}

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