By now, you’ve probably seen the promo for Married At First Sight’s upcoming season.
You know, the one where “picky” husband Michael quickly rattles of a list of qualities he does and doesn’t want in a potential partner.
“Small ears, good teeth, physically active and likes to train… eats healthy. Generally I’d like a girl that’s shorter than me,” Michael tells the interviewer.
It’s a confusing and sometimes contradictory list – he wants a woman who “doesn’t have to worry about makeup”, but when she does put foundation on looks “perfect”.
The 30-year-old also is not willing to move for love, shared that being a mother was a dealbreaker and specified that his partner must be “under 60kg”. Charming.
Sure you could laugh him off like Married at First Sight’s producers, who no doubt know the outrage (and viewers) they’ll attract by casting “Australia’s pickiest man” in the show’s fourth series.
But Michael’s list of demands speaks less to his individual tastes and more to a wider problem.
How many times have you heard a man say he doesn’t want a “fake”-looking girlfriend? It’s something my male friends agree they don’t want in a potential partner.
Being “fake” seems to be as undesirable a trait as being “a bitch” or “crazy”, yet when you ask a man like Michael to define what a “fake” woman looks like, he’ll usually stumble.
That’s because some men have developed a warped sense of what “natural” beauty looks like (and seemingly missed the lesson that true beauty comes from within).
Michael wants someone with “natural beauty” who doesn’t have fake nails or hair extensions because he “hates” the “pretentious, fake look”. (Unless the fakery refers to a woman’s chest, that is – “fake boobs don’t worry me in the least”.)
The MAFS contestant doesn't seem to realise that many of the women who fit society's rigid ideas of "beautiful" wear makeup... and a lot have hair extensions, too.
Michael isn't going to find what he's looking for. Not because beautiful girls who prefer to not wear makeup don't exist, but because even the "hottest" of them won't fit Michael's ideal of what a woman's face without makeup should look like.
Men like Michael think they want natural beauty, until they realise what that actually looks like.
In the clip, a quartet of One Direction-esque young men serenade Schumer's character, telling her "girl, you don't need makeup".
However, when Schumer removes her makeup and the band members see her bare face they change their tune quickly.
"Girl, I want to get real with you… I regret telling you not to wear makeup… it’s like I tore up a shag carpet assuming there was hardwood floor underneath," one tells her.
The boys sing they can’t go out with a "ghost" and that she needs to put "natural-looking makeup" back on.
Schumer points out their expectations don't match reality — and why would it, when our perceptions of reality are so warped?
The "beautiful" woman we're exposed to in movies, television and advertising is usually wearing makeup or has been so heavily airbrushed she might as well be. Often, it's both.
That's why magazines love to print articles featuring "stars without makeup" - they are so rarely seen this way, it piques our curiosity. We pick up the magazine because we want to be reassured models and actress really are human beings who have dark circles, wrinkles, redness and pimple scars under their makeup, just like the rest of us.
Judging by his idea of the 'perfect' women, I suspect Michael might be disappointed when he realises this.
I just hope his reality TV show wife has a thick skin for critical comments about her appearance.