Meaning: 好男一身毛, 好女一身膘?

January 17, 2012, 07:28 AM posted in I Have a Question

Hi all, I was hoping you could shed some light on the meaning (and if there is - cultural background) on the following two phrases:

好男一身毛 (hao nan yi shen mao) - a hairy man is a good man?

好女衣身膘 (hao nu yi shen biao) - a 'well nourished' woman is a good woman?

Does anyone know where those two phrases come from or why one would refer to a good man if he is hairy; I understood 'biao' for the women as in 'well nourished'?

Any ideas anyone?

Thanks a lot,


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January 17, 2012, 07:48 AM

to add: one of my colleagues just mentioned it is not so much about the appearance of the person, but rather the person's characteristics:

men: a 'Richard Gere' like gentleman, a man women would love to be with; considerate, but sexy; perhaps even a tad unconventional.

women: a 'strong'/bold/confident woman who goes for what she likes; one of the men?

Would be interested to hear what you think?


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February 03, 2012, 05:03 AM

"好男一身毛, 好女一身膘"

comes from acsient China. I believe the original meaning of the saying could be interpreted as this:

Hairy man in ascient China gave people the impression of tough and strong. Physical fitness was crucial in a agricultural society for obvious reason. "Fat and strong" women gave people the impression that she's healthy enough to have lots of children and at the same time is capable of taking care of the whole family and household.

In nowadays, hairy is not something that most Chinese women would really care. "tough or strong" is important inside out. Not just the appearance. For women, "fat and strong" might not be the most current standard of being beautiful. :-) However, women's personality becomes much more important in nowadays. That being said, the look is still important for women in Chinese society.

My two cents ...



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February 20, 2012, 04:16 AM