Saturday, 25 February 2006

Mary Ann Versus Ginger

Today I am going to address a question of vital importance to humanity. Namely, from Gilligan's Island whom do men prefer, Mary Ann or Ginger? It has been a question that has been around almost since the TV show has hit the air. And it has been one that has been discussed by men for literally decades.

On the surface, I suspect a lot of people would think that men would prefer Ginger Grant. After all, she is a glamourous, seductive movie star with curves to spare. Mary Ann Summers is not nearly so glamourous and rarely seductive. She is a simple, sweet, Kansas farm girl. That having been said, it seems that men overwhelmingly prefer Mary Ann. As to myself, I have preferred Mary Ann since childhood. Now much of this is probably due to the fact that I never have cared for redheads. And much of it is also probably because I simply find Dawn Wells so much more attractive than Tina Louise. I mean, Dawn has that beautiful dark hair, those big eyes, a gorgeous smile, and a great figure. Heck, she is still a looker. As to Tina Louise, well, she wasn't exactly unattractive, but she never really tripped my trigger either.

Regardless, it seems that I am not the only guy who preferred Mary Ann to Ginger. In most polls Mary Ann usually beats Ginger by a wide margin. The late Bob Denver, Gilligan himself, always claimed that whenever a poll was held as to who was more attractive, Mary Ann always won by a margin of 3 to 1! As to who Gilligan himself preferred, Denver always thought it was Mary Ann. Indeed, over the years many have theorised that Gilligan was actually in love with Mary Ann. In a fantasy episode of Baywatch (of all things, *bleh*) Gilligan (played by Bob Denver) revealed that he had been carrying a torch for the Kansas farm girl for years. I doubt that an episode of Baywatch can be considered canon, but it does seem to confirm what many people already believe...

Of course, there are other reasons than appearance that men might prefer Mary Ann to Ginger. One important point I think that can be made here is that of the two women, Mary Ann is the most self sufficient. Mary Ann is the cook of the group. Not only can she bake coconut cream pies, but she could whip up any number of dishes from the various food stuffs on the island. She is also the seamstress of the group, able to sew as well as any tailor. Mary Ann even gathers firewood. It wouldn't surprise me if she didn't chop some of it, too! It seems quite likely that without Mary Ann, the Castaways would have been naked and starving to death midway through the first season... While Mary Ann has an array of useful talents, Ginger is much more limited. She can sing. She can act. She can somewhat dance. She can sew (she sewed a dress not long after they reach the island), but that seems to be the limit of her domestic skills. While entertainment is a necessary ingredient in life, it seems to me that it would not be nearly as useful on a desert island as being able to cook, sew, gather firewood, et. al. Quite simply, Mary Ann has survival skills, Ginger does not.

Of course, beyond the fact that Mary Ann can do a number of different things, there is also her personality. Mary Ann is sweet, considerate, and she seems relatively intelligent. She is the kind of girl that one would take home to his mother. She is a bit of a romantic, has could be shown in her frustration with Gilligan when Mrs. Howell tried fixing the two up in the episode "The Matchmaker." Indeed, Mary Ann is so sweet and unassuming that she is perhaps the only girl who would look at Gilligan twice (that alone explains a lot of her appeal for men....). In Ginger's favour is the fact that she is glamourous and seductive. She simply oozes sexuality. But that seems to be all Ginger has going for her. It must be pointed out that Mary Ann could be sexy and seductive too, as when she thought she was Ginger in "The Second Ginger Grant" and the one time she, instead of Ginger, tried to seduce Gilligan. Of course, it has always been a bit of an urban legend that the answer to the question "Whom do you prefer, Mary Ann or Ginger?" could determine what sort of man one was dealing with. According to this myth, if he answered "Mary Ann," then he was the sort who wanted to settle down. If he answered "Ginger," then he preferred one night stands. I don't believe this is true myself. In my experience, the guys who want one night stands rather than long term relationships tend to prefer Mary Ann, too....

This does point to another reason, however, that I think men ususally prefer Mary Ann to Ginger. Mary Ann is the sort of girl one could settle down with. There can be little doubt that if one could get Mary Ann to the altar, then she would remain with him for the rest of her life. On the other hand, it seems to me that Ginger isn't going to be the sort to settle down. I cannot escape the feeling that any guy who gets into a relationship with her is simply going to be another in a long line of fellows with whom Ginger has dallied. I rather suspect, despite whatever fantasies men might harbour, that most men prefer the idea of wedded bliss to a string of one night stands. Let's face it, marriage offers stability and the knowledge that there is always going to be someone to come home to. Beyond which, I think a lot of guys are hopeless romantics like myself--we want that one, speical person we can spend the rest of our lives with. And I think a lot of guys would be more than happy to spend the rest of their lives with Mary Ann...

Even though it seems to me that most men would choose Mary Ann by an overwhelming margin, I think the question of "Who do you prefer, Mary Ann or Ginger?" will continue to be debated for years and years. Or at least as long as Gilligan's Island is on the air (which is probably going to be as long as there is television...). Myself, I would definitely choose Mary Ann. Indeed, I have to pity poor, clueless Gilligan. Stuck on an island with Mary Ann, the poor guy had it made and he didn't even realise it...

1 comment:

harp said...

Great thoughts. Have not watched the show in years and I am definitely a Mary Ann type of guy. I guess Ginger though beautiful seems high maintenance and like you say Mary Ann is the down to earth cutie.