Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Looks = $$$

I keep meaning to write on my theories regarding the connections between aesthetics and affluence (or maybe I already have and have forgotten). I've always pondered it as a chicken vs. egg thing. Do attractive people tend to make more money, or do people with more money tend to be attractive?

Here's an article on a study that addresses part of that topic.

This topic comes to mind whenever I do work in different stores. Stores in nicer areas overall have a more attractive clientele. That's not to say everyone in the upscale suburban store is pretty or that there are no attractive people in the run-down urban store. But on the average it seems to hold true and colleagues who work in different stores have noticed the same thing.

So back to the chicken and egg thing. Is it that pretty people are more successful, possibly from a combination of a positive social bias and greater confidence? Or is it because people with more money or than come from families with more money are healthier, take better care of themselves, dress better, and have the time and resources for more cosmetic concerns?

I mean, would anyone look twice at Paris Hilton if she was a trailer park instead of a billion-dollar-family? Besides her Uncle Bubba Joe, that is.

I could make a self-depreciating crack about how this limits my economic future, but I already know that's bullshit. I've repeatedly turned down promotions, so I can't claim to be limited by my looks. So instead I'll tell a true story.

Many years ago, my General Manager hired me an assistant, which was good because I needed an assistant. Then I met said assistant, and she was... how to put it politely... hot. While to a certain degree I was pleased that my GM had hired me a smoking hot assistant, I also knew it would be more trouble than it was worth.

Then I found out that my GM had hired in my new hot assistant at a higher wage than mine. I have a knack for finding stuff out, and it doesn't help keep things secret when people left documents lying out in the open. So I posted up my GM and got a big fat raise out of it.

And the hot assistant? After two weeks of distracting the rest of my team, she quit. Because hot or not, I expected her to do the work involved in the position, and that was, well, work.


Blogger KNH said...

My sister and I have had this debate for years; it's a very interesting article. I don't think we can ever solve the chicken/egg conundrum.

It is a topic that cannot have pure science applied. The article states "Fortunately, there's -- literally -- more to attractiveness than meets the eye. Researchers Markus Mobius and Tanya Rosenblat found that confidence makes up 20 percent of perceived attractiveness." I completely believe that confidence and poise are more important than genetic good looks; however, I think genetic good looks help lend someone to being more confident and more poised. It's simply too hard to separate the two completely.

But we're talking solely about working individuals. I think it's also a question of breeding genetic selection for beauty. For example, let's say I am Stephen Spielberg. Not hot, right? I desire a female companion whose intelligence is on par with mine. But I have loads of cash and panache, and there are loads of intelligent women. I can choose from the most beautiful intelligent women because of my status and wealth. Therefore, when we procreate, the children are pretty and wealthy.

IMHO I think that a lot of the beauty you see in affluent stores is not just genetic. People with more money tend to be more well groomed (this is not an absolute of course). Therefore, their hair has beautiful highlights, their makeup is well applied and high quality, and their clothes fit the trend and their bodies. It lends itself to an air of beauty, and these people also tend to be more confident...you do the math.

Lastly, as a counterpoint to your story from work: there is a woman at my office who is society's definition of smokin' hot: slender, well toned, beautiful hair, beautiful smile. While it's true that some men swoon and some women are intimidated, she is not only genuinely friendly but genuinely intelligent and great at her job. She is one of the hardest workers I know. She is trilingual and manages scores of multi-million dollar projects. Someone may start out wanting her to be on their team because she's hot...but in the end, they are glad she's on the team because she's amazing at her job.

Food for thought :)

9:38 AM  
Blogger Oz said...

You left out the most important part...

is she single? ;)


9:47 AM  

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