Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse

It’s Valentine’s Day when, tradition dictates, we ponder the eternal questions around love and romance: How big a gesture do we need to make to demonstrate the depth of our feelings, should a card be anonymous, and are petrol station bouquets ever acceptable?

I’m joking but, for many man, this is one of the few occasions in the year that they attempt to understand the female psyche, so this seemed like a good day to take a look at Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse.

An examination of how women have seen men down the ages, it looks at how everything from poetry to hair length has influenced what women look for in a man. From Byron to boy bands, from Elvis to Fifty Shades of Grey and everything in between.

Why are some women drawn to square-jawed alpha males while others prefer quieter more gentle types? Would the women who went weak-kneed at Brando have found Justine Bieber equally alluring?

Packed with numerous cultural references which will spark your own memories and opinions, this  this an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

It’s certainly not a guide for romance-hungry males, but any men who seriously want to understand what makes women tick will find this a useful starting point.

Feminism still has a long way to go in many areas of life, but one thing that comes across loud and clear is that, when it comes to forming relationships women have more choice than ever before.

Dyhouse, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Sussex writes with the rigour of an academic, but this is no dull scholarly tome. But you’d probably guess that from the cover alone.

Heartthrobs (Amazon)

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