Is it just me? Or do men look much better than women in the great outdoors? asks LIBBY PURVES 

Is it just me? Or do men look much better than women in the great outdoors? asks LIBBY PURVES

  • Libby Purves claims men look better than women when embracing the outdoors
  • She says men look like they’ve stepped out of a Hollywood action film  
  • She believes very few women unless they are young achieve an alluring look

There are some things even feminism cannot fix. I think this every summer, staring into a mirror on our little boat and catching sight of what looks like a botched experiment by Dr Frankenstein. Then I look around at male relatives and, after the same sail (or hike or scramble), they look rather fabulous.

Young men with a ruffled, soldierly dash to them, the rain taking no appeal away from their Hugh Grant-esque locks; older ones with silver hair contrasting handsomely with a mahogany tan, or sporting a rakish hat over the bald bit.

They’re just as tired and weather-beaten, but they look like something out of a Hollywood action film, while we females look like wet hens: hair limp, mascara long gone, any tan stopping at the line of the scarf, while weatherproof layers create an unerotic silhouette.

Libby Purves questions the difference in appearance between men and women when embracing outdoor activities such as hiking or sailing (file image)

As a veteran sailing lady sadly said to me, ‘Men! Why is it that in a gale their eyes look bluer and jaws firmer, while we’re fit for landfill?’

After all, magazines and travel brochures are full of glorious women lounging on foredecks, posing prettily with ropes or grinning triumphantly on crags.

Their hair floats on the breeze (or a wind machine), their eyes are wide with happiness and three tons of expertly applied liner and shading, and their waterproofs cling alluringly.

They are styled. Very few women who have just climbed a crag actually look like that. Unless they are very young, with amazing hair and the kind of irresistible bone structure that — as Raymond Chandler once said — would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

And there are not many real women like that. Which is why it is so galling that outdoorsy men look, let’s face it, absolutely great. Sickening.