Why do women find men in uniform so attractive?

I hope it's ok to copy this photo from http://newyorkdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2008/05/men-in-uniform.html
I hope it's ok to copy this photo from http://newyorkdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2008/05/men-in-uniform.html

Who says a tuxedo isn't a uniform?

well, ok: any excuse for a photo of Denzel Washington.
well, ok: any excuse for a photo of Denzel Washington.

I do like a man in uniform--

Why does the sight of a clean-cut man in a dress uniform look appealing? (I'm sure we can all agree that no one really likes to see a man in combat gear -- unless he's coming home safely, that is.) There is something about the presence of a man in uniform that implies several factors to which women respond favorably (whether consciously or unconsciously).

It took me a couple of decades, however, to get over the dislike that immediately arose in me when I saw any military types at all (and since I taught university courses for about six or seven years at the Marine Corps Air Station and on Parris Island Recruit Depot, both Beaufort, SC -- before I got tenure, that is, and could teach solely on the home campus -- it was a problem for me).

I grew up in Belfast, "Norn Irn" (Northern Ireland, for those of you who need all those other pesky consonants and vowels); frankly, all I saw for years in the city were British soldiers in flak jackets. None of them looked friendly, never mind attractive. They had little reason to look friendly, by the way. They were all about 19 years old, and probably scared shitless that they were going to be picked off by a sniper or blown up without a second's warning. I always felt sorry for the guy at the back of the patrol who had to walk backwards and scan the rooftops, street level, and pay attention to where he was going all at once.

For some years the army searched pedestrians as they entered the central fenced off shopping precinct of the city (before the police, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, took over this duty). They were not gentle or good humored. The women soldiers who frisked us caught us roughly by the back of the collar and worked down from there.

Handbag contents were also opened and examined -- all packages and cartons had to be open for inspection, including tampons and cigarette packets. This search took place in a shelter with a roof but no walls. No one enjoyed any of it, and any attempt I ever made at smiling or talking to the soldiers was ignored. Now, I understand why. Then, I resented everything about them.

One day a young soldier pointed his rifle at me and stared hard into my eyes. I have no idea why he did this. I was in a car at the time, in the passenger seat, on my way to school. One night a car curb-crawled behind me for a block and a half as I walked home from the pub. I was about to duck up into someone's driveway, as I was sure it was going to be another drive-by shooting and that the bullets were just about to pin me to the wall. It was two policemen (the police did not wear caps or indeed headgear of any kind when they were driving, as it made for too easy a target for snipers). They asked me why I was in such a hurry. To get the fuck away from the car following me, I said, somewhat tersely. We were all caught in that mutual fear and distrust that comes from, say, learning not to kick an empty can in the street, in case it exploded.

So I didn't much care for men in uniforms for a long time. They represented an ugly imposition. Ask any young teenage girl in Afghanistan if she finds men in uniform attractive. Bet she'll say no. But meanwhile, back in the States, young men are learning how to look attractive in the military. . . here are some of the reasons I think women like a guy in a uniform -- let me know if you can think of more reasons, or if I'm too far off the mark:

  1. A man in a uniform knows how to look after himself. (Who wants to be some guy's mother?)
  2. A man in a uniform knows how to bathe, shave, and dress himself (I'm not saying the rest of you don't . . .).
  3. A dress uniform is flattering to the male figure (Ooh-YAH!).
  4. An officer is a gentleman (or at least has really good tablemanners).
  5. The whole demeanor of a man in dress blues, or whites, or whatever is confident and dependable. Very Sexy.
  6. Since a man in uniform knows all about responsibility and duty, he could well be counted on to take out the garbage. Theoretically, at least.
  7. Any military unit that has had to serve in a combat zone anywhere in the world (yep--even in Norn Irn) comes back changed. These men (if not too deeply disturbed by their experiences) (and my heart goes out to all vets of any combat anywhere who go home broken, either physically or mentally) know the value of a sunset. Or a sunrise.
  8. Other uniforms, not just military, work just as well, if the training behind the spit and polish is as extensive. Who is more welcome at an accident scene that a paramedic or a fireman? Women know that they will be rescued by these substitutions for knights in shining armor.

Well. Am I far wrong? I'd love to hear other opinions on the matter. (Incidentally, since coming to the States, I've dated a couple of Marines. And yes, they were both gentlemen.)

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Comments 41 comments

christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

My husband has been in both the Marines and then the Army and I do have to say the Marine uniform tops my list. It's hard to look bad in one don't you think?

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

Call me biased -- but yes, the Marines do look good. And I've seen thousands and thousands of them!

Leta S 7 years ago

UM, well, I'm biased too--the boyfriend is a former army officer, knows how to dress, excellent discipline (attractive to me) and knows how to cook and clean among other things!

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

There ya go! Isn't it great when men don't need to slouch, when they know how to plan a meal, and when there is an equal sharing of the chores in domestic life?

needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland

Yikes!!! Looking for the nearest army recruitment center...

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

LOL! But you have humor -- another characteristic that women are drawn to -- now: there's a topic for another hub, eh? The top ten reasons why women like a man with a sense of humor. . . .

kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA

I studied abroad in St. Petersburg in college and all the girls in my group were in heaven over the smartly turned out young men in uniform running around all over the place. I don't even like military-types, in general, but damned if they don't make me drool like a teenager with a crush. :)

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

There ya go! It's contagious!

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

While I find men in uniform attractive, I'm also drawn to men in construction, firefighters, police and even truck drivers.  I once stopped at a construction site in the middle of winter and brought the men coffee and donuts.  It was a random act of kindness.  It was greatly appreciated and they flashed me the most dazzling smiles.  I went to work happy that day :)

My late mother met my father when he was in the army.  She was working at the base as a waitress.  After she married, her and her sister opened a small coffee shop in our town and she met many servicemen there as well, as the train ran right through our town. Needless to say, that didn't last long as my father was jealous.  She also had photos of her single days spent with her friends, male and female. A lot of the guys were in uniform, all very handsome.

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

Oh, Trish -- what a great idea -- I think I'll try to do the coffee and donut thang whenever I can. Neat! And firefighters are so manly, too.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

I highly recommend it! :)

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi, men in uniform do look good! LOL But I've never dated one so that's as far as I can say! :-)

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

nice hub

MotherHubber profile image

MotherHubber 7 years ago from Southern California

I just LOVE a man in uniform. An Officer and a Gentleman. A Few Good Men. Top Gun. You name the movie, and I will show up, popcorn in one hand, drool bucket in the other.

Of course, I married a computer engineer. Sigh. True love doesn't always come gift wrapped exactly the way we would like, does it????

I loved this hub! :-)

MotherHubber profile image

MotherHubber 7 years ago from Southern California

P.S. This article has been "Stumbled" upon. :-) It's now in the "Stumbleupon" system.

PPS. You had me cracking up at the picture of Denzel. That is something I would have done!!! LOL T!

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

Thanks for stumbling, Mother Hubber!

Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

I take out the garbage - is that good enough?

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

lol -- dream on!

Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

No worries

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

Uniforms, clean shaven and short hair. I can't resist that combo!! :)

Bacawind profile image

Bacawind 7 years ago from Colorado

You SO hit the mark! I favor your opinion on the type of person that comes from having worn a uniform, not necessarily the uniform itself.

Speaking as a woman, about men in uniform, your point on someone who's been (or is in) a uniform does know how to take care of himself, dress, shave, take out the trash. They can cook, or can figure out a way to get food. Oh, a man that sits there and asks for food!? Geez! I agree, I am NOT your mother, you are NOT a child! Figure it out!

This is where our opinions differ, in that if a man has only worn a suit or tuxedo, he may starve to death before figuring out how a can opener works. Not all, but the suit doesn't cut it for me like the uniform.

Sufidreamer could pass for my husband's little brother. My value is not as much in the appearance, as in the personality. I love long hair (and facial hair) on a man, taking out the trash is a good start.

Between my husband and kids, there is 14 years of Army, National Guard, and Reserve. And counting, two are enlisted, one in Afghanistan now. Yes, they all appreciate a sunset, and their whole attitude towards life is more pleasant than most civilians.

Our son who leaves for college within the month, will stand in front of me chewing food, mumbling that he is hungry! Oh, Please!

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor Author

Oh Bacawind, this one certainly seems to have struck a chord with you! Thank you so much for your great comment.

ftwells profile image

ftwells 6 years ago

My dad was in the British Navy when my mother met and feel in love with him. She loved her man in uniform. For some reason men always do look better in uniform. Go figure. I really feel this is the reason our female beagle is in love with (constantly whining as well as barking after) the mailman. She goes crazy when he pets her!

Combat Engineer 6 years ago

As a retired Marine at the tender age of 45, I have yet to meet the woman of my dreams or even one that will do! Why I ask you, would I want a woman who does not have the will, training, or inclination to deserve what you seek in a military man? My uniform is not sex toy, It represents everything I have earned and the stewardship I must maintain. If any of you women out there have had your crucible, wear jeans and an evening gown equally well, then maybe you can be one of the "few and the proud"! There are other men in uniform who are more able to manage something less, They work at your airport and their known as baggage handlers.

cc 6 years ago

oh please, combat engineer. All these women saying how sexy your uniform is and how it represents a lot of good qualities to them and you're whining?? Would you prefer your uniform was a turn-off? I had a fling with a Marine officer once and he was a gentleman - more than you sound to be.

PK 6 years ago

Combat Engineer, it would be my honor to serve you as you served the nation.

Combat Engineer 6 years ago

This is for C.C., Please take caution in your assumptions behind the keyboard and screen. I have reviewed your comment and it is regretful that you had no more than a fling with a fellow Marine. I have whined twice in my life, once when wounded, and when the only woman I ever loved left due to incompatibility with the Corps and its way of life. The attributes of dicipline,cleanliness,and all of the necessary essentials of which women find appealing can be a tough burden to bear in a military community. If you were my woman and I introduced you to my way of life and commitment, could you, would you, support me and conduct yourself accordingly in such an endeavor exhibiting the realities of the world for which most cannot comprehend. A gentleman is a man that others feel comfortable being around, you do not know me (yet). As far as the uniform goes listen to this, in all my years it has been attractive to women but only once in twenty years has one woman had the fortitude to give it a go and she's the one I previously mentioned could not make herself adapt. Other women give me a flash photo look and avoid me. I will not get into other things but I have something to ask you? I because of my life experience, computers have been a pain, but I have only an idea that this site is a blog thing and this is the first time I have ever posted comments on a subject. If this is just a comment place for unknowns, then its not for me. Straighten me out about this. Sounds like a mission if your up for it. It has been a pleasure to respond to you.

Faust 6 years ago

How about those Corrections Officers in uniform? ;-) We're just missing the class, sorry ladies.

Military Girl friend  6 years ago

WOW combat engineer....this just seems like u run ur life like boot camp... maybe u should give a girl a chance... :(

Combat Engineer 6 years ago

This is in response to "Military Girlfriend". I was accurate in my comments and sincere with my experience. Since you have responded and steped up to the plate I will respond to you in kind. The reality is that lives are at stake as well as the mission, relationships are no where near that priority. As it seems you have a question of how I run my life let it be known that Boot Camp for me was 24 years ago and it was brutal and tough, what came afterwards was hell on earth....! In my time in I gave no woman a chance becaues she has to give herself the chance , a chance or opportunity was never an option from me or any other Marine. I can tell you for sure that the following two facts are true, in all my years in uniform, girlfriends never last and two to five marriages out of one hundred will last the first six to eight years. The point is that it is the woman that must face up to the challenge and give herself a chance to earn the love and fidelity of your man in an endeavor greater than most can understand. It is important to know that as a girlfriend or spouse of a military man the world is strict and you are owed or guaranteed nothing! There are rewards though that other women will envy or admire, rewards that cannot be bought or sold. I'm a civilian now and enjoying the blessings that I have and I will leave it at that. I enjoyed responding to you and wish you well in your life.

Fascinated 6 years ago

Very interesting article! I really like your objective approach to understanding this phenomenon. Because it IS one, regardless of whether or not a man enjoys being objectified in their military uniform (this comment is directed to combat engineer, whose position I can appreciate). So, is this stereotyping? Of course! and the women commenting here are not saying otherwise. Our society commonly objectifies both genders, whether right or wrong.

However back to the topic (and sorry to get all "science-y"), I believe our attraction to men in uniform to be a very basic emotion, perhaps even instinct. Men in the military represent our "warriors" and "protectors"; their associated traits include physical fitness, elite fighting skills, and other strong masculine attributes. In terms of sexual selection, what could possibly be more attractive to the female of the species than a uniform that represents all of these masculine characteristics? Obviously, personal experiences can affect our impressions of the military, for example, growing up in NI or Afghanistan certainly presents the military in a different light. Thank you, Teresa, for writing this article and stirring up this debate!

Combat Engineer 5 years ago

Recently I had an expreience that I would like to share with you women out there. I'm sharing this experience with all of you because it is the experience I have had throughout the years and I hope that it angers if not disappoints you as adult and mature women.

I recently attended an annual Marine corps birthday ball which is a somber and celebratory event. I went alone but soon had the company of an attractive woman, I was pleased to have the company and she presented quite a lady for over three hours. Then it happened, She told me she was married and had four children but was in the process of a divorce and "separated"? I asked what she wanted with me and she outright stated thated that she "needed a great F***". I told her to get back to her babies and husband and make it work! I walked her to the entrance and seen to it that she was escorted to her vehicle. So noting the previous posts if you can see my point it's the same thing every year, every where. I'm now another year older and I'm no monk, I'm out on the proving grounds everyday.

If I meet the the right woman and I'm 80 in a nursing home I will ask her where she has been all my life and then I will kill her,(that's ladies any advice, any takers!

Stephie 5 years ago

i have these one guy friend whom is kinda silly but he was in the maritime... and one day i totally dropped my jaw when i saw him in his uniform, haha...

my boyfriend is an engineer, well he doesn't wear uniform, but he does wear coveralls, and that is equally hot too ;)

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Interesting topic for a hub...very well written, too! Love the fact that you are from Ireland...it's the one country that I'd love to visit...in fact, my heart almost aches to visit! Voted up and awesome!

jeanina11280 5 years ago

For Combat Engineer,

I wanna share with you some experiences of my own too. Actually, I found my situation quiet a dilemma. I have been in a relationship with someone from the army for 2 and a half years. I was engaged to him but fate has another plan for me. We broke up because he impregnated a girl at his station..that was after he introduced me to his seniors that I am his fiancée.I know how hard it is to become involved with men in uniform, especially those in the armed forces, you will always be the next priority to their duty and commitment to their job. I know it because one of my close friend is married to one. She opened my eyes to the sacrifices and the troubles their marriage have encountered however their Love for each other is so strong that it survived even the tsunami of their relationship. Now, his husband of 35 years is retiring soon. Their marriage still intact and they are still as sweet as they first met. My friend survived it all, from being able to deliver their babies alone, has had miscarriage and her husband was not their to support her emotionally and physically because he was stationed up in the mountains and there was no way of reaching him. It needs a really strong woman to become a military wife. And you need a really strong love for you to survive your marriage, she advices me because she thinks men in uniform find me appealing.I really don't wanna sound a braggart but she probably said that because now my BF is a naval officer. Actually, if I have a choice, I would not opt for someone in uniform. It's really difficult, too many are at stake. You always put your heart at risk of hurting. And you need to be more giving and you should understand them more because of the job they have...I even told my BF i hate his job out of my frustration there was even a time when I look for another alternative but when I found out that alternative happens to be a policeman, I went back to my BF without him knowing what I could have done.:)..well, anyway, Love finds its own way to your heart. Fate decides who is destined for you. I am happy with my BF, he is the love of my life.Along with that knowledge is the full understanding of the life he lead and what the future holds for us. Well, thankfully, he wants to retire soon but I did not ask that of him. It is his own volition, because life in action can sometimes takes its toll on you. Well, I can't fault those girls who drool over men in uniform but I do hope they see the essence of the man behind that uniform.:)

CoriJT 5 years ago

Dang straight, this is accurate!!

theyareugly 5 years ago

NO, they are ugly

Joy 5 years ago

well i have something to add in your list i guess... once i saw a show about women and female animals and it said stuff like since stone age women were "trained" by nature to find the best man of all that would take care of her and her kids and also that would have the "good genes" on making healthy babies and stuff... so i think that a guy in uniform looks not only more handsome but also much more attractive to our sense of ~goodness~ hahahahahaha

Since they exhale more pheromones by looking more manly ... the same happens for those 'bad guys' we also luv so much xD

Well that's what i think

Julia 5 years ago

men in uniform represent power, something that mother nature distibuted to men. subcontiously women are drawn to that because that's how god created us. you wont see this in modern world too often (brave knights), men and women r switching roles....so when there is a brave man (which uniform usually represents) its like a fairy tale in the present, because its such rare thing

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago


Men in uniform are and have always been attractive personalities. Your points are apt description of some of the reason why women like men in uniform!

It's quite intriguing how you've mentioned that men in uniform can offer portray fear or power in a negative way like how you felt when you were young or how a girl in afghanistan feel.

This hub made for a good read!


LarryJW 16 months ago

I've never noticed a greater preference for guys in the military vs those that are not. I've been in about 10 years and been single almost that whole time.

Its not like joining the military is going to change how attractive you are to women. A tall attractive guy with a normal job will get more attention from women than a average height average looking guy.

It's not that big of a factor.

I've heard that, girls like guys in uniform more than those that are not, but I've never really seen it to be true.

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