A DECENT PROPOSAL; Analysis IIT USED to Be the Woman Who Wanted a Diamond on Her Wedding Finger, a Frothy Meringue Wedding Dress and a 12-Tiered Cake Covered in Sugared Roses. but Now Men Are Now More Likely Than Women to Want to Marry and Settle Down

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Byline: by Sasha Mansworth

MALE role models including David Beckham and Westlife star Bryan McFadden are leading the way in a role reversal which psychology experts have defined as the "altar ego".

According to recent research, the stereotyped perception that women are keener than men to settle down and have a family is no more.

A survey revealed 44 per cent of men want to settle down between the ages of 20 to 26, compared with just 37 per cent of women. And the culture change has been put down to two discoveries.

First, it seems that male body clocks are currently ticking more strongly than women's.

Second, the growth of television programmes portraying strong, independent women has made it a social "norm" for marriage to be placed on the back burner.

But one Cardiff bachelor has to disagree.

In the last five years, Rob Murphy a 29-yearold business development manager from Cardiff, has been single for just nine months.

He has just come out of a relationship and definitely doesn't "want to settle down just yet".

He says:

"My own, oldfashioned view of a relationship is that marriage is the ultimate commitment. I think it's good to live together before hand as you then know what you are getting.

"Those programmes with strong, independent women are riddled with pretence - these 'thirtysomethings' going through really 'important' traumas are portraying males as simpering, indecisive morons." He adds: "I don't think there has been a culture change at all. It's all media hype making out that blokes are now simpering fools. I will eventually be interested in having kids, definitely. At the moment, however, I can barely look after myself." Before declaring love is dead - for all you die-hard romantics - men of the settling down type are still to be found in Cardiff.

Ian Haines married childhood sweetheart Sue in a church ceremony in Ystrad Mynach on Saturday.

The big day was exactly a year after Ian proposed during a romantic sunshine break in Tenerife.

Ian, a policeman from Cardiff, and 29-year-old Sue, who works in personnel, had been dating for seven months when he popped the question. They first were an item 10 years ago but split up and went their separate ways.

"You know it's right when you meet the right person, " Ian explains.

"Before now, I knew I wasn't ready to settle down as I hadn't met the right person. I always knew Sue was the one - we've known each other for 10 years - she was my childhood sweetheart. …