Japanese society prides itself on its high level of tact in dealing with delicate matters, and indeed, quite often in communication not offending the other party is given priority well above getting your point across. That said, when the system discretion breaks down, it really breaks down, and sometimes you’re faced with the linguistic paradox of candor that’s so cutting because the choice of words is so blunt.
Recently, a bit of a firestorm was set off in Japan by a male-oriented magazine spitting straight talk on what makes the ideal girl in extremely intricate detail.
The one-page feature started zipping around the Internet when a photo of it was tweeted by a woman with the user name Marie@Test Shuryo.
The Twitter user took issue with the lengthy list of specifications crammed onto the single sheet of paper. “Don’t you think this is asking for a bit too much?” asked Marie, whose Twitter page is, ironically, decorated with images of Justin Bieber, someone whose rise to fame has been largely due to maintaining an image carefully crafted to have as wide an appeal as possible within his target demographic.
Still, Marie definitely has a point in that the list delves into topics even we, with our extensive experience in the field of daydreaming about attractive females, hadn’t really given much thought to. Let’s take a look at the magazine’s spec sheet for the perfect girl.
1. A cute (as opposed to sexy) face, dimples when she smiles, and natural-looking makeup.
2. Long, black, slightly teased hair
3. Height: 160 centimeters (5 feet, 3 inches)
4. Weight: 48 kilograms (106 pounds)
The implication here seems to be that guys want a girl who’s under 50 kilograms, and who isn’t in danger of hitting that mark after a big dinner.
5. Breast size: C cups
C is the most common bust size in Japan, and while the numerous items on the list paint a demanding picture when taken as a whole, this individual point at least speaks to a certain enlightened attitude by men regarding female chest sizes.
6. Would rather tease others than be teased by them
Japanese flirting has co-opted the words sadism and masochism, tweaked their meanings, and now uses them to describe people’s personalities and communication styles more than their sexual fetishes. The magazine’s list says the ideal girl has an S-type personality, meaning that she’ll be more likely to playfully tease her boyfriend than vice-versa. We’re not sure if this is a chivalrous case of letting the lady have her way, or an instance of guys just being too lazy to come up with their own zingers.
7. Smells like soap
There are definitely a couple head scratchers on the list, but this is one we can understand right away. The number of guys who are really turned on by perfumes is a drop in the bucket compared to how many react favorably to a girl who just smell like, well, a clean girl.
8. A personality that runs hot and cold
Taking a term straight from anime fan lexicon, the next quality of an ideal girl is a tsundere personality. A combination of the terms tsun tsun (easily irritated) and dere dere (cloyingly sweet and affectionate), a proper tsundere is willing to go the extra mile to please the guy she likes. Just don’t ask her to admit she did it because she likes him, or anything.
9. Often says, “You dummy” (but in a sweet way)
Speaking of tsundere tendencies, the makers of the list have a soft spot for a gal who tosses the word baka/dummy around, but shows through her inflection that she’s charmed all the same.
10. Wears “cute” clothes
Again, cute, rather than sexy. Guys may like stealing a peek at a girl out in public wearing a mini skirt, but they don’t want their ideal girl giving a show to everyone she walks by on the street. On the other end of the spectrum, the rough and sporty look doesn’t seem to quite meet their expectations of femininity, leaving the middle ground of cute fashion as the happy medium.
11. Hobby: Cooking
In any country, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The list’s creators figure a girl who’s good in the kitchen is a girl who’s good to have in your life.
12. Favorite type of music: Rock
As with cute clothes, this seems like the result of a process of elimination. Successful pop musicians in Japan are almost always heavily dependent on their looks, and it’s not hard to imagine many guys feeling irritated, threatened, or some mixture of the two if their girlfriend was a huge fan of a group of pretty boy idols.
13. Favorite food: Green tea ice cream
We’re not sure if it’s because it shows she’s sophisticated and traditionally-minded, or if it’s just because the stuff tastes great and if she orders some you can steal a bite, but green tea ice cream got the nod here.
14. Gets good grades in arts and literature classes
Considering the obvious esteem Japan has for engineering, and how many men earn a living working in technical fields, we’re a little puzzled by this one, which we’re chalking it up to a simple case of opposites attracting.
15. Above average grades, but not at the top of the class
Specifically, “grades at the upper end of the middle of the pack.” It’s hard to see any rationale here other than wanting a girl who’s smart enough to carry on an engaging conversation, yet not so intelligent as to be intimidating or make the guy feel like he can’t measure up intellectually.
16. In the dance club at school
17. Dislikes exercising
Huh? How’s this fit with that whole dance club business?
18. Comes from a family of two children, with one younger brother
19. Has a toy poodle for a pet
20. Favorite manga: One Piece
Frankly, we think you should count yourself as lucky just for the fact that your girlfriend shares your passion for comics, without worrying about which exact series she likes.
21. Works part-time at a cafe
Bonus points if the cafe serves green tea ice cream, we’re guessing
22. Often uses the Mogu Mogu Brown stamp for LINE
Sure, the character’s cute and all, but once you start worrying about what kind of decorations your girlfriend adds to her social networking messages, you might be on the cusp of losing sight of what really matters in a relationship.
23. If you ask her what kind of guy she likes, she’ll say, “Someone who’s kind, like you”
Honestly, we’re not sure we could even remember all of those, let alone be bothered to check for each and every one of them. Still, if you’re starting from the unrealistic premise of designing a perfect person, it’s already too late to bring logic into the discussion by capping the number of allowable criteria.
It’s also worth keeping in mind the exact wording of the list’s title, in that it’s talking about ideal qualities, as opposed to required ones. Entertaining the idea that the girl of their dreams already exists somewhere out there is what gives some guys the courage to jump into the dating pool in the first place, after which their expectations become more flexible and realistic.
On the other hand, if any of you ladies happen to get rejected by a guy because you prefer mint chocolate ice cream to green tea, or have a goldfish instead of a poodle, don’t lose any sleep over it. Odds are you just dodged a bullet.