By Pam Burke 

Average Guy vs. Ken doll


October 18, 2013

The artist who brought us “Normal Barbie” — with a computerized rendering of the traditional Barbie doll next to a Barbie in the proportions of the average 19-year-old girl to show that a reality-based doll is more attractive — has now given us a rendering of “Average Guy,” thus, proving that Ken doll has little to fear from the 30-something American male.

Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm used body-mass measurements provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for men 30 to 39 years old, and referenced photos of men within the body-mass index range, to create a computer drawing of the Average Guy, reported Bill Briggs of, in his article “The ‘real’ shape of the American man.”

The real shape of the average American male, apparently, has surpassed Ken doll proportions to reach a shape somewhat more in line with Mr. Potato Head or ... no, there aren't any other chubby male dolls.

If you're thinking, “Of course Normal Barbie is hot, she's 19. Who wasn't hot at 19? And the Average Guy, that poor schmuck is on the downhill slide to the horrors of middle age,” you're absolutely right.

Lamm used statistics from the CDC for both the Normal Barbie and the Average Guy renderings, but the intent of the Normal Barbie project was to show the preferred beauty of the real female form, and the intent of the Average Guy project was to drive home the harsh reality of the less than ideal physical condition of the average male in a way that was more effective than a chart or graph, Briggs wrote.

The visuals worked.

Admittedly, comparing the two projects is like comparing apples to beer and bean dip, but consider this: Along with the Average American Guy computer image, Lamm created images of the average 30-something-aged men of Japan, France and the Netherlands.

I'll just say this up front, the American dude was the one most likely to need a bra.

Of the others, the Japanese males are obviously health conscious, the French males appear to be a little more self-indulgent, but not to the degree of the American men, and the average male from the Netherlands is a god.

Yes, god.

As in move over Greek gods — and Ken doll — you have nothing on the average Dutch male.

I don't know if it's the genetics, or something in that salty northern sea air, or toughing out seven months of winter but, according to Lamm's research, the average Dutchman in his pre-40s is tall, broad-shouldered and trim-waisted and just generally has it all going on. Who knows what seeing the above average one could do to a person. Swooning maybe. I don't know, it could happen.

I always imagined that if I won the lottery I would hire a full-time Swedish masseur named Sven because, well, I actually do want the perpetual knots massaged out of my back and neck muscles, but then he could just stand around and look all awesomely muscled between back treatments or, y'know, do the heavy work, maybe operate the No. 2 shovel.

But I'm definitely upgrading Sven for a Sjoerd, now, and I'll be sending Mr. Lamm a little thank-you note for the visual that drove his point home quite effectively.

(What? Good grief, no. I don't hold myself to any standards at all at


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