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I propose that the following are facts, in the same broad sense that "most dogs are bigger than most cats" is a fact:

  1. Exaggerated forms of the physical features that differentiate women from men are attractive.
  2. To the human eye/brain, darker objects appear smaller than brighter objects of the same size.

Fact #1 is a well-accepted anthropological observation; even T-rex has noticed. The world over, people are attracted to the things that make the opposite sex opposite — men like women with wide hips, smooth skin, and shapely breasts; women like men with broad shoulders, square jaws, and tall stature. Take these attributes to the extreme, and you get Jessica Rabbit and Superman, who cannot be fully described without use of the word sexy.

Fact #2 is something I learned from a statistician whose two biggest pieces of advice on making good graphs were "Never use pie charts", and "Use hue, not tone." For science-y reasons, bright objects look bigger than they really are, so a graph that places objects of significantly different tones alongside each other for comparison will be consistently misleading for the viewer. Stare at this image for a moment if you're sceptical.

So, as a man who has always been self-conscious about his thick thighs, wide hips, and narrow shoulders, I decided to follow a simple rule: wear dark trousers and light shirts. I know it sounds ridiculously obvious, but it took years of worrying about my body shape before I figured it out. If there's a part of your anatomy you would like to minimise, do like Mick and paint it black, baby.

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