What Can Brown Do For You, Baby?
November 9, 2006 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Why do women like UPS drivers?

A few weeks ago, I shared an elevator with a UPS driver and a woman. As far as I could tell, we were all strangers to each other.

The UPS driver spoke of his Army background, how they taught him to make his bed so tightly that you could bounce a quarter on it.

The woman smiled at him and said, with a coquettish tone in her voice, “I have a bed at home you could bounce things on.”

The exchange had me wondering: Why do women think UPS drivers are so hawt? I can kind of understand the appeal of firemen. The job entails a high degree of physical courage and also has a heroic dimension absent from most white-collar office jobs. I can also understand why construction workers inspire some women to stare and drool; construction workers have an uber-manly image that is absent from the realm of the Sensitive New Age Guy.

But the UPS driver? This I don’t get. Some guy shows up in a brown polyester uniform, drops off a couple packages and says “Sign here, please.” Where’s the appeal in that?

Help me out, ladies. I’m confused. Why do women like UPS drivers?
posted by jason's_planet to Human Relations (51 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The uniform?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:34 AM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: Polite, buff guys in uniform... seems pretty self-evident to me.
posted by scody at 11:40 AM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: The UPS driver is the eternal challenge: mysterious, debonair, adventurous, always on the go, but ultimately unobtainable, just like the hottie temp down the hall who's single but probably gay. The muscles, short shorts and hairy legs don't hurt, either.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:40 AM on November 9, 2006

I don't think women like UPS drivers. I think THAT woman liked THAT UPS driver.

Also, it's a bit of a joke in some movies or TV shows; I believe it is meant to be funny because the uniforms (the shorts especially) are so ridiculous or unattractive that "finding UPS men hot" is a way to satirize the whole "women love men in uniform" thing.
posted by Kololo at 11:41 AM on November 9, 2006

As far as I can tell, you're basing your belief that women like UPS drivers on one witnessed encounter. Generalizing much? Personally, I've never thought about UPS drivers one way or the other. Maybe this woman was actually flirting with this man because she found him attractive, or interesting, or whatever, and it had nothing to do with his employment with UPS.
posted by amro at 11:43 AM on November 9, 2006

The mustaches, naturally.

Does this exchange between this UPS deliveryman and this oversexed woman speak for all UPS deliverymen and all women? I don't think it does.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:44 AM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: Women DO like UPS drivers. Ask any group of office workers (female.)

I've never seen an ugly one, they are all in good physical shape because they are running from stop to stop, and they bring us packages. What's not to like?
posted by konolia at 11:46 AM on November 9, 2006

Have you thought that maybe this particular woman just liked this particular UPS driver?

When I worked in Boston, the UPS guy there was wonderful -- always smiling, always joking, always just seemed in control as he was hauling boxes around. I used to wave at him when I saw him outside the office, and he always recognized me and said hi. He was just a great guy.

The UPS drivers I've met since have generally been boring, unattractive, or bland. My current guy also has a habit of attempting to deliver things 15 seconds after I leave the house. I haven't felt any particular warmth toward any of them.

My like of the first guy had nothing to do with his being a UPS driver and everything to do with him being a really nice guy, who I met and interacted with because he had a job that brought him into contact with me.

Those prone to stereotype might also point out that receptionists and front-office staff tend to be women, and a man walking into a mostly female office would tend to draw attention. Since that man is not, like the women's co-workers, ordering them around but instead doing what seems like a favor (picking stuff up, dropping stuff off), he might elicit warm feelings.
posted by occhiblu at 11:46 AM on November 9, 2006

I don't know if it's universal. It's probably the uniform though for most women, this woman excluded. I'm all set with the brown shorts and brown socks yanked up mid-calf. But I will say this, I have overall found the UPS guys to be pleasant people. It takes a special kind of person to deal with a frantic crazy woman almost in tears on Christmas Eve. *cough*

That lady in the elevator, though, maybe she was just a slut and let everyone bounce on her bed.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:47 AM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: There's something about the specific uniform, not just men in uniform, as FedEx drivers meet the cute admins all the time and no one's all sighing and daydreaming about the white embroidered golf shirt. And no one's got a crush on the mailman, at least not to the point of the cultural cliche.

In some way, it's an update to the 50s milkman cliche, right? solid colored uniform, relatively fit due to physical demands of the job.

A large delivery company is one my company's clients and I can attest that this is something we hear over and over in focus groups, but rarely about anyone else's delivery drivers.

(shrug) As a geekhound, I don't see the appeal.
posted by Gucky at 11:51 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just to add another data point to the ridiculously anectdotal set that we have going, I interned for a while in a (rather) gay Congressional office in San Francisco, and gay guys also have a thing for UPS delivery guys. [Although that might just have been because our most freqeunt delivery was particularly hot.]
posted by andoatnp at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2006

Response by poster: Just by way of clarification:

I was not generalizing on the basis of just one chance encounter.

I have heard people joking about flings with UPS drivers here on MetaFilter and other boards.

It's been the subject of a story in the New York Times.

I didn't just pull this out of the air.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer:
Kind of harmless eye candy?
They AREN'T going to be annoying and start hanging out at your desk all the time like "bob in Accounting".
Dependable there- and then dependable gone.

For me--I imagine them as having an over inflated ego because of ladies swooning over them so - no interest in them. ( Like men that work in my very female-heavy office -they get a little goofy )
posted by beccaj at 12:10 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: This lesbian falls all over herself with delight on the rare occasions a female UPS driver rings the bell. They are polite, wear uniforms, are strong, and bring you cool stuff--why not enjoy UPS drivers?
posted by Carol Anne at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

"King of Queens" syndrome. It's why that show has such high ratings.
posted by Stynxno at 12:28 PM on November 9, 2006

Women like them because they're only there for a couple of minutes.
posted by sourwookie at 12:34 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: I like UPS drivers and this is despite working at UPS for a summer and getting to know some of them. This is why I like UPS drivers: they're clean, muscular, competent, friendly and have cool jobs with good benefits. The Fedex guys have lousy uniforms where they look like Kinko's employees. The UPS guy's have better uniforms and maybe they're even better made/tailored. When I lived in rural noplace for a few years sometimes days would go by and the only person that I would see would be the UPS guy. He was always smiley and an appropriate level of chatty, plus he brought me all sorts of great gear. I realized, at some point, that I was that 30-something year old lady who greets the UPS guy at the door in her pjs and says "Can I get you a glass of lemonade or something?"
posted by jessamyn at 12:39 PM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Generally I don't, but about six years ago my regular UPS driver was also a comic-book geek, which was cool. My current UPS driver is kind of a meat head.
posted by smich at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: A lot of us gay men like UPS drivers, too. Physically fit. Good looking. Shorts. Friendly. They come bearing gifts. What's not to like?
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2006

Not to be over looked is that I've never seen a delivery guy hitting on the deliveree.
posted by Mitheral at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2006

My guess is age ranges. From what I see, the age of UPS drivers seems to be around 18-30, while with FedEx it's about 25-40 and with USPS 30-55. I think once us guys get over 30 its all downhill.

My best friend was a UPS driver during the late 1990s in Dallas and he was always telling me about the women that were checking him out. I seem to recall they hired guys off of the sorting lines where they tossed 50+ lb packages around for 4 hours at a stretch, so many of them were already in pretty good shape by the time they were driving trucks.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:53 PM on November 9, 2006

Huh? I like UPS drivers?

Is this a phenomenon you've witnessed more than once?
posted by agregoli at 12:53 PM on November 9, 2006

I asked one of my female friends. Our e-mail conversation went something like this:

Me: "Do women have a thing for UPS Drivers?"
Her: "If they’re hot yes. We have one SMOKING hot one and one that kinda looks like a chubby Mr. Clean."

Me: "Is it the uniforms? The short shorts? The socks stretched up to the knees?"
Her: "Well they can lift heavy stuff and the uniform is kinda hot on some of them, and I don’t know why but they just have a tendency to be hot."

Not really much of an answer, but it does correlate. :)
posted by DrSkrud at 12:58 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: I asked a woman a long time ago (after I watched her swoon over our delivery guy) and she gave me the best explanation on earth (it also explains why everyone generally likes UPS deliveries). I'll paraphrase what she said here:
A UPS guy NEVER brings bad news. It's nothing but gifts, clothes, and stuff from amazon you treated yourself to. All positive things. A UPS guy is like Santa Claus -- Pure joy is being delivered.

Now, a Fedex delivery person brings court papers, legal documents, and all sorts of crappy business forms. When a Fedex truck pulls up you don't know if you're going to get something good or bad. My divorce papers were delivered by Fedex.

And why aren't US Postmen/women hot? Most of your bills come via USPS, and on the whole bad things in your mailbox probably outweigh the good things.
So I'd say we're all kind of transferring some good vibes from all the stuff UPS brings and carrying that over to the people that bring them.
posted by mathowie at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

Women DO like UPS drivers.

Yeah, this is an often-observed phenomenon; nobody's saying every woman likes UPS drivers, so can we quit with the repetitive "I don't care about them, so you made it up" responses? I think it's pretty clear (logically and from the above responses from victims of the syndrome) that it's because they tend to be friendly and polite and they bring things you want and don't pester you. And of course there's the uniform.
posted by languagehat at 1:08 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: Generalizations ahoy: For the most part, UPS guys are innocuous, like Hooters waitresses. Bland and indescript but something pleasant to look at for a minute, they smile a lot, and they bring you stuff.

I have noticed that almost without exception, UPS guys are under 30, pretty well built, and pretty pleasant. I wouldn't say I like them though, or have any attraction to them whatsoever. No offense to anyone reading this who is a UPS driver. I don't mean you. You're hot.
posted by iconomy at 1:08 PM on November 9, 2006

Err I meant 'nondescript'.
posted by iconomy at 1:18 PM on November 9, 2006

Not to be over looked is that I've never seen a delivery guy hitting on the deliveree.
Our UPS guy hits on my admin all the time. Several people in the office tease her about it, and she seems mildly uncomfortable with the teasing, but not uncomfortable enough to make him stop. I pretend to be oblivious to the whole scene, which isn't that much of a stretch for me since a long marriage has not upgraded my understanding of the distaff gender one whit.
posted by Lame_username at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2006

I like the UPS guy because he brings packages that I've been eagerly awaiting.

And no, there were no double entendres in that sentence.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:30 PM on November 9, 2006

One of my lesbian neighbors lives with a UPS driver, so ... maybe not so much with the hairy legs.
posted by adipocere at 1:32 PM on November 9, 2006

Because he talked to her and you didn't. You can't score if you don't shoot.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

on the subject of UPS drivers & women read Vox by Nicholson Baker of course
posted by londongeezer at 1:39 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: It's all about the package.

(But I agree that the premise is flawed. Firefighters yes, hawtness. The brown, not so much.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Its magic, just today I came across a hot UPS guy and I remember thinking, wow, that was nice- an innocent, friendly encounter with a good looking man.

One more notch in the "women love UPS drivers" belt.
posted by Meemer at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: Not to be over looked is that I've never seen a delivery guy hitting on the deliveree.

Oh, I have. Fairly common IME when the route includes a lot of retail or very small offices for the nice fellow in the brown shorts to give the ladies a wink and revel in the adulation. (Politely and good-naturedly, not in the gross way.)
posted by desuetude at 2:21 PM on November 9, 2006

Women working in offices with a lot of flabby desk boys might find a muscular (lifting all day), blue collar, but clean guy a bit of a nice distraction during the working day.
posted by pracowity at 2:25 PM on November 9, 2006

Because they bring us makeup and shoes?
posted by saucy at 2:29 PM on November 9, 2006

Working in shipping for several years, the vast majority of UPS drivers I dealt with were anything but buff and handsome. And they beat almost anyone when it comes to complaining about their jobs. For the record, I'm male and have interacted with literally hundreds of UPS drivers and employees.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:31 PM on November 9, 2006

WTF. For our office, the UPS and FedEx people are women, and both are pretty good looking. DHL could use a little help.

Now that it's getting a little cooler out (around Sacramento, CA), they're wearing more clothing, but I've already put the UPS gal on notice:

If she wants me to stop hitting on her, she needs to produce one of the UPS fuzzy hats, and that I'd settle for a UPS jacket. She has produced neither, so I can only assume she enjoys the attention.
posted by littlelebowskiurbanachiever at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2006

This is definitely a meme of sorts: "Little shorts. Rugged blue-collar good looks. Big package."
posted by pullayup at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2006

You know, I wonder if they select them to be hot. Sorta like a reverse Hooters effect. If I was in marketing there, I would definitely select good looking guys under the assumption, (right or not) that women are doing the majority of purchasing of shipping services. I'd tailor the uniforms the same way.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2006

See also the MS Zune: The Brown is the new [fill in old shade here].
posted by rob511 at 4:06 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: It's the legs. Sexy sexy muscular legs.
posted by MsMolly at 5:59 PM on November 9, 2006

My wife liked the UPS guy that came to our house cuz he looked like Troy Aikman.
posted by Doohickie at 6:07 PM on November 9, 2006

I've never had feelings one way or another for a UPS delivery person, but my dog gets really upset if the truck pulls up outside our building and the deliverer doesn't come to our door.

Though the guys delivering to my building are pleasant enough, I can guarantee they weren't chosen for their hotness. (Sorry guys. The dog loves you, though.)
posted by redheadeb at 6:21 PM on November 9, 2006

A friend just commented that she'd never seen a bad-looking UPS person (male or female). I thought that was a pretty random observation, but apparently she's not the only one. Who knew?
posted by selfmedicating at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2006

And this whole time I thought it was because of the mustache.
posted by lannanh at 8:06 PM on November 9, 2006

Eh, could be something people think they're supposed to like, like catholic schoolgirls or Michelle Pfeiffer.
posted by electroboy at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2006

Response by poster: It's all about the package.



*loosens tie*

Well, this has certainly been educational. I think I understand my coworkers now. And if the temping routine starts to get old, I know which career to pick!

Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond and share your thoughts about the psychology of attraction, uniforms, intimacy, office culture, the pleasure principle, women, and hawtness. Who could guess that a silly question like mine would inspire such articulate responses?

Again, thanks!
posted by jason's_planet at 9:42 AM on November 10, 2006

2 things:

1: they are always bringing things in packages. women love that shit.

2: brown socks and shorts, man. brown socks and shorts. and they dont just dole them things out. you gotta work at ups like five years and unload boxes and shit before they give those things to you.

but, supposedly, once you become a driver - unlimited women.
posted by kneelconqueso at 12:41 PM on November 14, 2006

I have heard similar UPS lore via the mailroom dude at a friend's office, although perhaps this is a rumor the UPS guys themselves like to spread?

Anyway, I have a mild proto-crush on one of the UPS dudes who comes to my office. I think what factors into this:

1) I'm a straight girl, and all the men I work with are gay and metrosexual or straight and metrosexual. I don't think my brain normally processes their presence as "OMG MALES!!!"

2) The UPS dude is really pleasant and wholesome-looking. He's a grown man who wears brown shorts. Somehow this makes me feel all warm about him.

3) He lifts heavy things.

4) He just seems, as mentioned above, *extremely manly*, particularly against the backdrop of urbane office workers, and he makes me feel kind of pleasantly blushy.

5) The drivers often don't close the doors on their truck/van things. This strikes me as very devil-may-care.

6) If you happen to have a thing for your more traditionally manly males, and you work in an office, the UPS guy is almost as good as a visit from a few lumberjacks would be.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:28 PM on November 19, 2006

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