What makes women attractive to men and men attractive to women?

Journalist and contributor to 'The Gay Byrne Show' Mary Finnegan, poet and professor of modern literature at Trinity College Dublin Brendan Kennelly, author, agony aunt and columnist Pat Rees and journalist Jonathan Philbin Bowman discuss attraction and what makes a person attractive.

Laura, a caller to the show, is keen to make public what she finds attractive about panellist Brendan Kennelly,

His voice and the leprechauns in his eyes.

She recently spotted the poet off Grafton Street but was too shy to make herself known to him. A very flattered Brendan Kennelly encourages her to speak to him on the next occasion Laura sees him.

Mary Finnegan and  Pat Rees discuss the 'macho man' stereotype which typifies men as rude and domineering. 

Mary Finnegan loves,

Well adjusted, well mannered, courteous men.

She praises a man who displays the qualities of an old fashioned gentleman. However she does not expect him to be overly involved in minutiae of her life. 

Mary Finnegan is quite capable of changing a puncture by herself and if a man is threatened by her self sufficiency she considers him paranoid and he is not attractive to her.

Pat Rees is equally unimpressed by macho man behaviour.

I was never one to be hit over the head with a club and be dragged away by my hair.

She believes men can show weakness or vulnerability. She loves the concept of the 'new man' who rejects sexist attitudes and the traditional male role. 

I love the man who is not frightened to eat quiche, who can have feminine qualities and still be manly.

Pat Rees concedes there is a fine line between having these admirable qualities and being a wimp.

This episode of ‘The Late Late Show’ was broadcast on 3 May 1991. The presenter is Gay Byrne.