Poldark's small horse - and the other tricks men use to look more attractive

Aidan Turner has been resorting to the old 'My Little Pony' trick - but there are other ways for a man to elicit female admiration Credit: Mike Hogan

The big news of the week was the Poldark Small Pony scoop. To recap, Aidan Turner, the actor who plays Poldark, admitted that his trusty steed, Seamus, pipped another hopeful horse to the part because Seamus is slightly smaller and therefore makes Turner look comparatively bigger.

This has got us thinking. If a downscaled pony can make a man of a certain stature look more manly, what other tricks are there for making men look better, without recourse to hair implants or plastic surgery? Not every man can improve his image by enlisting the services of a perfectly proportioned pony, but he might consider one of the following:

  • Rushing to the defence of muggees: Although this contradicts the advice of the police, we are all delighted when someone weighs in to save a put-upon Deliveroo driver (as Benedict Cumberbatch recently did. PS: that and the Patrick Melrose performance have totally rehabilitated him after a slightly rocky patch).
Benedict Cumberbatch: defender of muggees Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision
  • Walking out with much taller women: Simply because the man who doesn't need to be taller to feel like a man is, automatically, quite manly. You could call this the reverse pony.
  • His charming, tousled children: Taking them to a café, feeding them with minimum fuss, maximum engagement, and no sign of a smartphone or iPad. That's a very good look.
  • Wielding a spade and/or a trowel, maybe a wheelbarrow: Planting or weeding or fencing, shirt on or off; any of the above works for us.
  • Reading: Middlemarch, any Austen, or even The Female Eunuch (there are no prizes for subtlety).
  • Having a daughter who is not afraid to stand up to them, and being proud to concede she is right and they were wrong (see Alastair Campbell taking a dressing down on air from his daughter, Grace, for calling women "birds" and not being as much of a feminist as he claims).
Alastair Campbell: feminist father Credit: Andrew Crowley
  • Uniform: Specifically the Harry guards trousers with the red stripe down the outside leg. Those not in the military may achieve a similar effect with slalom racing ski pants (this one is rarely applicable, to be fair).
  • Being interested in old people: Attractive because we'll be old pretty soon and because respect for older women is just the sign of a proper man (see 007 and M). Also being interested in young people and prepared to take them tadpoleing for hours even when there is Premier League football on television.
  • Owning the sort of dog that doesn't need a lead.
  • Looking comfortable in an apron: Not needing to have an apron with leather straps in order to feel OK about wearing an apron.
Tom Kerridge: proper apron wearer Credit: Geoff Pugh
  • Being the one at the fancy dress party who could have gone as Adam Ant, but instead chose to go as a gorilla or a parcel or wearing a Seventies wetsuit with a hood and mask and snorkel.
  • Reversing a trailer: as everyone knows this is not easy and you need the right man for the job.
  • Being a quality hugger: Not all the time, not by way of introduction, but when needed. A solid-as-a-rock, warm hugger.