Does Anyone Care About 6-Pack Abs?

Recently, I was discussing the rules of attraction with my fiance. He mentioned a friend that was so self-conscious about his hair that he never dated and was too shy to talk to girls.

“But girls don’t really care about hair,” I said.

“Sure they do.”

“No, they don’t. We don’t care that much about appearance. You want to be attracted to your partner, but I don’t know any woman who married her husband because he was so hot.”

My fiance seemed a bit flummoxed by this proclamation, but I stand by it. Yes, we hetero ladies notice hot men, and we may have the occasional fantasy about, oh, I don’t know, a soccer player or something. But in my experience, for the most part, looks play a very small role in who we seriously date. And for that matter, looks play less of a role in sexual attraction than, say, a good sense of humor, or skills in the sack.

So I’m a little surprised by this recent article in the New York Times about men who are relentlessly pursuing six-pack abs. Not only do I not give a shit about six-pack abs, nor do most women I know, but I would say that the personality traits belied by a strong desire for six-pack abs are far less attractive than any kind of belly could ever be. In other words, the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t add up.

Yet the NYT reports that “From 2000 to 2009, the number of men in the United States undergoing abdominoplasty (tummy tucks) more than doubled, to 4,670,” and that more men are trying gels that purport to tighten the skin on their bellies.

I wish I could tell them all that it’s really not worth it. No lady that I know wants a man who’s more obsessed with his appearance than she is — if he’s that vain about himself, he’s that vain about us. And then how could we ever forgo bathing for a week?

No thank you.

Share This Post:
    • Eileen

      You know, six-pack abs are very attractive in pictures, but I think if I were actually having sex with a person who possessed them, I’d be too self-conscious about my not-perfectly-flat-and-toned tummy to relax and enjoy it. And that wouldn’t be fun for anyone.

      If Cristiano Ronaldo wants to test this theory, however, I won’t turn him down.

    • Caroline

      I kinda like my men defined but still cuddly looking–which is how I imagine Gerard Butler. It’s the best of both worlds.
      I’d rather have someone I can actually talk to and laugh with than a guy who looks fantastic. You can only spend so much time drooling after a guy everyday, eventually you have to move onto other things.

    • avecjambon

      Durr, maybe they’re doing it for themselves? Not everything men do is an attempt to get a woman’s attention.

      Abs are gross though. Some definition’s nice, but not that weird, sausage-under-skin thing some guys get.

    • Soos

      But, my husband has those. They’re just – hidden.

    • Lindsay Hartman

      Completely agree. Abs are not that big of a deal. And men who care enough to get them never seem to be looking for the same kind of relationship that I am. Obviously, this is a huge generalization, but it’s just worked out that way in my experience.

    • CurlySarah29

      Six-pack abs are just a bonus, if you have a nice guy who you feel loved by. Sure, we’d all love our guy to look like they played in the World Cup, but honestly, as long as someone treats us right and we are attracted to them for who they are, it’s just an added plus if they have a six-pack.

    • Heather

      Meh, guys with six-packs (or ANY muscle definition) who get them due to involvement in sports or dancing or other martial arts or ANY physical activity are divine. Body builders? Not so much. And you can tell the difference between pretty easily.

      That said, I certainly didn’t marry my husband for his (lack of) muscle definition. Most girls I know in serious relationships aren’t dating men with it and none of them who ARE are only doing it because of it.

    • nolalola27

      They matter in the clubs. And that’s who they’re working out for – the chicks/dudes in the clubs they want to pick up.

      It doesn’t matter to me that my man has a spare tire & is balding, I find him insanely hot because of who he is and how he makes me feel. But those gym rats aren’t working out for me. They’re working out for the club scene.

      • Stephanie

        Agreed completely. Six packs are something to shoot for if your primarily goal is a slew of one night stands. Guys looking for a long term relationship are better of at the library than the gym, in my opinion. Smarten yourself up, bulk up on character, reliability, and humor. A fit bod doesn’t hurt, but, as is obvious by every happy relationship I’ve seen (mine included), girls would rather be with an average looking guy with a fabulous personality. Looks fade, personality’s much closer to forever.

    • lotusflwr

      I could never understand a guy who worked out enough to get a six-pack. Guys who are ripped and have gorgeous faces are nice to look at, sure. Guys who are ripped but look ordinary (or worse, fugly like Carrot Top) creep me out. Guys that are normal, groom themselves, wear clean clothes that suit them, smell nice and are funny are the ones that I would actually pursue!

    • gotplaid

      To me, a six-pack indicates he spends more time in the gym than on the relationship. Pass. I like my men built like yetis.

    • Clint – Crude Fitness

      Maybe I’m the only guy writing on this article, but that’s ok ;)

      I don’t think you can argue that guys are aiming for a six-pack to purely pickup, some are doing it for their own personal achievement (like me) and who have ALREADY picked up. And achieving such a low body fat is no mean-feat i can tell you that.
      That being said, my missus loves me no matter what I look like. Sure, she met me ‘fit’, but i’m also balding pretty badly (which was a concern for me), but that hasn’t dissuaded her at all ;)

      In regards to getting abs surgically done however, that is pathetic and is no result of training or solid diet control.

      Nice post by the way, it’s nice to se that aesthetics aren’t the be all and end all for all the girls out there ;)

    • Kelly

      I do not like 6-packs at all. They are just creepy. And I agree with those ladies who said – totally outside of actual aesthetics (in which 6-packs still lose with me), I think the kind of guy who is so preoccupied with having them tends not to be the kind of guy I mesh well with anyway.

    • Lolcat

      >If Cristiano Ronaldo wants to test this theory, however, I won’t turn him down.

      So six pack abs is kinda nice bonus ))) Actually I’m not much into man who have bellies like pregnant or look like pile of lard. Only in case of cannibalism it’s quite appropriate.

    • LinD

      As an exercise science/nutrition major, I highly recommend a post-workout supplement to get muscle building and recovery, and here’s what I recommend to get flat out ripped.

    • A guy

      As a guy I think that most women see it as a bonus on top of a great personality and other desirable traits, some of the answers here suggest that as well. But, depending on your woman, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trying to get and maintain a six-pack. She may very well appreciate your efforts to look good for her in the end, at least that’s my experience. I have a girlfriend who always told me “you already look great” when I told her I wanted to work out more, and she didn’t really comprehend my work out and diet regime, in fact she acted weird from time to time and she felt somewhat conscious about her own body.

      After some time, when she saw the results and conversations where I made her understand I’m only interested in looking perfect for her and no one else she has gotten quite fond of it. She really likes the results, letting me know that by touching my stomach or by pulling off my shirt, cheekily saying something like “you know, it’s compulsory to be shirtless here”. She has even challenged me to strip on her best friends birthday, a woman she met in college about the same age.

    • Don

      Of course if you are unattractive and you don’t know what exercise is ,you are not going to like 6 packs.Let me tell you something 6 packs are showing because you are eating healthy and you work out ,healthy=attractive ,attractive =healthy offspring.

      Although women won’t admit that they care about physical attractiveness,they do and they try to get the best possible just like men.

      • Nate

        What world are you living on? Plenty of big guys have smoking hot ass wives, and the ones with 6 packs have thick girls. Everyone has a difference preference. I know dudes with 6 packs and the only reason they have them is genetic, they can’t even run a mile. I think your pretty shallow. By the way, women like men. Period point blank. They need a man who can protect and provide not just stand in the corner looking pretty.

      • Super Game Dev

        Totally agree with Don. I
        started eating healthy and gradually adding workouts 6 months ago. Not only my abs are showing up nowadays, I am feeling more confident everyday. I am feeling
        confident cos I know I could run faster and longer every week. I am feeling more confident cos I know I could do more pushups every week. Does getting a
        more refined abs help? HELL YEAH.

        Every F day !!

        I just don’t see why there
        are actually some articles putting down on men who want abs. It is a worthy
        goal. Just like any other goals in life.

    • wvb

      I am a girl but what i am saying is on behalf of guys.Of course abs aren’t one of the ‘necessities’ of life but you can always want to have it.I think it is a little vain for women to think that men workout or build bodies or look fit only to please them.Men do it to achieve their own goals or to put up with their own expectations or that’s what i think men should do anyway.Six packs show that a man takes care of his body, is healthy and determined and strong and fit.It can never be a negative thing if not totally positive.And exercising is one of the healthiest practice on earth.
      So men should do it for themselves and not to please women.Looks aren’t that important is what i totally agree on.But to say working hard towards the six-pack achievement is ‘not worth it’ is wrong.Working out or following a strict diet is always worth it in order to get a chiseled and lean figure.So i would advice guys to do whatever they want with their body only to satisfy their own goals and not to impress women.Women will like you for who you are but working out or staying fit is always very attractive.It gives you self confidence.