April 24, 2007

The male-female looks gap:

Typically, in Western cultures where women put a lot of effort into their looks (e.g., Italy), men do too. Italian men don't spend as much time shopping and grooming themselves as Italian women do, but they spend more time than, say, Norwegian men do, just as Norwegian women spend less time on their nails and such as do Italian women. So, there tends to be a correlation between male and female cosmetic investments.

In the U.S. over the last decade or so, however, this pattern has broken down (with the exception of the tiny number of metrosexuals ... who, so far as I can tell, barely exist outside of Manhattan -- I sure don't see them in LA, and if they aren't in LA, where are they?). At the higher end of the social scale, young women seem to be investing steadily more in their looks, with plastic surgery increasing steadily. On the other hand, have American males ever invested less effort in how they dress? They can't be bothered to tuck in their t-shirts.

I'm not sure if this is terribly liberating -- it may just mean that young women are more attracted to innate alpha maleness than before, since they don't have many other clues other than, say, dominant body language.

On the other hand, lower down the social scale, men aren't as prone to obesity as women, so this trend reverses itself.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

67 comments:

Hugh Ristik said...

Another group of men that puts more work into their looks is pickup artists in the seduction community (I don't know whether you are aware of it, but you will probably have some interesting things to say about it), such as Mystery.

I'm not sure if this is terribly liberating -- it may just mean that young women are more attracted to innate alpha maleness than before, since they don't have many other clues other than, say, dominant body language.

I recently summarized some research on female preferences on my blog, and one of the findings is indeed a female preference for dominant body language. It definitely seems that males put less effort into their looks relative to females because females care about looks less than males.

oscae said...

i would call it the 'male-female grooming' gap, not 'looks' gap. women are definitely into good looks, prob more than ever before if u take into consideration how easy it is to score.

Nim said...

Well, for my generation (mid 20's, the gender gap in grooming is quite small. Men put a lot of effort into their looks, but this might only be evident in areas that centre on night clubs.

Anonymous said...

Steve --

I also live in LA. I think you're missing the whole deal.

Women are not men.

Women want physical attractiveness, yes, but also attractiveness and HIGH STATUS. That's the key.

Italian men spend a lot of money on clothes/grooming because that's the easiest marker for status.

Hello, you live in LA. Steve it's the cars stupid. To paraphrase Clinton. A fancy car is the biggest indicator of status. Along with say $200 vintage t-shirts and $500 designer jeans.

It may not look like a Armani suit, but believe me the indicators of wealth/power/status are there.

To have ANY chance with a woman of higher socio-economic status you MUST as a guy present yourself as at least equivalent if not higher status. This means spending a LOT of money at the very special shops at Melrose Ave. Or being a celebrity. That will work too. The right car, watch, shoes are required too.

Why do you think women are spending so much money and effort on attractiveness? Arms race to get the highest status guys.

Anonymous said...

Here, in the UK, as Steve has already commented it's chavsville and dogging.

This dysgenic behaviour is as a result of welfare payments over the last 40 years and subsequenty ignoring the elephant in the room. When low IQ people are encouraged to breed without discretion, by government policy that seeks to prevent the birth of intelligent people who would vote these dickless bastards out of office, then Political Correctness and Spin will easily work because most of the population is too stupid to question the lies and deception being promulgated. The silent majority is soon to the disappeared majority and the 12,000 year old culture and innate intelligence of the natives of the British Isles will be lost forever.

Manfredo said...

Steve, really, what was the point of that blog entry? What did it contribute to the sum of human knowledge?

vanya said...

Slightly topic, but in response to anonymous - I agree there seems to be anecdotal evidence that the British white lower class are among the stupidest people on the entire planet. I realized just how stupid they are when I read about the "toddler dog fight" this week-end.

A mother and her three daughters who forced two toddlers to take part in a "dog fight" and filmed it...
The women, including the children's mother, goaded the tearful brother and sister to punch each other and even use a magazine and hairbrush as weapons. When the boy, who was in a nappy, stopped fighting they called him a "wimp" and "bloody faggot".

SFG said...

Yah, as Foucault said, men use power to get sex, women use sex to get power.

Just 'cause he was a gay sadomasochist doesn't mean he was wrong, you know. Hitler knew how to reindustrialize Germany...oh wait, this is the iSteve blog. Sorry, Svigor. Stalin also knew how to industrialize Russia!

Anonymous said...

Im amused by the "buzzcut" phenomenon amongst lower-tier males (think Jesse Metcalfe). There are tons of young guys who cant apparently be even bothered with combing their hair, so they buy clippers and cut it less than half an inch long, yet still pump iron.

In the seventies, hardly anybody pumped iron, but men walked around with combs in their back pockets and wore "waves" in their hair, and chains around their necks with expensive watches. Note: the watch is getting displaced by the cellphone as a timepiece.

Now, you see tons of men in either oversized shirts, or completely sleeveless shirts with tribal tatoos over thier biceps, and comfortable track pants instead of blue jeans...........its as if they just dont care. They dont even shave regularly.

Ever since the tight-blue jean fad in the early eighties, women have been obsessed with showing off their ass with tight-fitting attire. Some fat girls, who really ought to know better, still attempt this. Im a little suprised dresses have never really came back in style, because lots of women really do look better in these, but outside hollywood...............'real' gals hardly ever wear them.


One of the posters mentioned dress being different in areas with alot of clubs.............I honestly think the internet is replacing clubs. If I weren't born back when Andrew Jackson was on the earth, and still on the prowl myself, I dont think Id even fool around with going to clubs. Why pay ten bucks to get in, five dollars in gas to drive there, five bucks to park, five bucks for each drink, when you can just point and click. Loud music, smokey bars, conversations over music, dark lighting.............all that got old in about six weeks for me back when I turned 21.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, have American males ever invested less effort in how they dress? They can't be bothered to tuck in their t-shirts.

You're joking, right? A tucked in shirt is like the definition of what old, dorky and uncool looks like. If you're 15 and your mother doesn't let you leave the house without tucking in, pulling the shirt loose is the first thing you do once you're out of sight.

Steve, most likely you've just gotten too old for fashion. It's the same feeling people my age (born in the 1980s) get from watching old stuff from the 1970s, but in reverse - didn't people put ANY effort into looking good back then? Of course they did, it's just that things change, so from today's perspective they actually spent a lot of effort on looking like they had never spent a single second on worrying about not looking like utter dorks.

Anonymous said...

As the number of women finishing college continues to outstrip the numbers of men, you will see increased competition among middle to upper class women for men. Women want to marry up. Women in white collar professions won't want to marry blue collar college dropouts unless they're very, very rich. This intensifies competition for the smaller pool of men they perceive to be "at or above their level." But since successful males in their 30s can marry still younger women, each new generation brings more competition.

If college trends continue, we will see an acceleration of this effect, with some sub-section of educated, middle class, non-Ivy level women behaving even more like tramps to attract what they perceive to be "higher level" men.

Vladimir said...

Look, men today just don't have the time for a wind-tunnel tested hairdo. Short, back and sides is/are all you need.

BTW, Steve, I see your boy Matty Yglesias' stock has just gone up in the world; the venerable Atlantic Monthly, no less.

A homo, a Jew; all they need now is a black to complete the set.

Dave said...

"Blue collar college dropouts" describes a fairly rare group. Most blue collar guys never went to college full time (though some go part time, after they are established in their careers). Also, most blue collar workers make more money and have better benefits than the average cubical dweller. As this reality dawns on more people, fewer of them will confuse "college dropout" (which implies a $10 per hour customer service rep job) with "blue collar" (a $30 per hour utility lineman).

There is one blue collar job (at least here in the NY metro area) that is fairly high status: Fireman (or "firefighter" as it's called, since 1/2 of 1% of NYC firefighters are women). Most Manhattan women would have no problem dating or even marrying a fireman. Granted, firemen do something courageous and universally understood; also, they are also perceived to be in better shape than other blue collar workers, e.g., utility workers.

Firefighters in New York also live pretty well (when they aren't risking their lives): they have job security, great pensions and benefits, and plenty of free time. The deal is good enough that competition is fierce to get into the FDNY; an operations guy at my girlfriend's international investment bank recently quit that job when he got accepted to the FDNY academy.

Ghost of E.B. White said...

Vladimir:

"BTW, Steve, I see your boy Matty Yglesias' stock has just gone up in the world; the venerable Atlantic Monthly, no less."

That's an incorrect use of a semi-colon. Since the second clause has no verb, a more appropriate punctuation mark would have been a dash or a colon.

Ghost of E.B. White said...

Vladimir,

Also, you should have added an "s" after the apostrophe in "Yglesias'". That is the proper way to form possessives of names that end in "s" ("Jesus'" is an exception, since the possessive form of "Jesus" has been written that way long enough to become a convention).

Don't be too hard on yourself about that though: Yglesias often makes the same mistake, and he is a Harvard alumnus.

Anonymous said...

My wife tells me it's not cool to tuck in your T-shirt.

Jun said...

Italian men don't spend as much time shopping and grooming themselves as Italian women do, but they spend more time than, say, Norwegian men do....

I was horrified the other day when I noticed that one of the NRK anchormen had obviously had his eyebrows waxed. Ohlord -- metrosexualism has arrived in Norway...!

Anonymous said...

Steve, can you clarify just what exactly you think the connection is between untucked t-shirts and alpha-males???

erasmusen said...

I doubt that poor women are fatter than men because they care less about their looks. I would think it's because they care more about eating. Why, though-- is it culture, or physiology?

Peter said...

There is one blue collar job (at least here in the NY metro area) that is fairly high status: Fireman (or "firefighter" as it's called, since 1/2 of 1% of NYC firefighters are women). Most Manhattan women would have no problem dating or even marrying a fireman. Granted, firemen do something courageous and universally understood

The FDNY still benefits from the 9/11 hero image, having referred to the events as the "greatest rescue in American history."
Which is rather misleading, given there were almost no actual rescues; people either made it out on their own, or died.

Hilbert said...

I think films like Backdraft and that TV series Rescue Me also feed the flames, when we all know that firefighters are just a bunch of meatheads and frustrated pyromaniacs.

vanya said...

The new phenomemon is blue collar college graduates. You can make enough money doing jobs like plumbing or carpentry in places like the suburbs of Boston that such animals do exist. In many ways they live much better than their class-mates who took the typical white collar route and are stuck behind desks all day, and are more attractive to women to boot.

joshrandall said...

Its the Boomers,Steve,and the tech revolution! The casual relaxed informal look is in for Boomers,and these hi-tech money boys want to show they are more progresive and hipper(as well as smarter and richer) than the Man,so they eschew the monkey suit! Sounds good to me! When I make my first mllion,I will drop my Khakis and t_shirts for...even grubbier Khakis and T-shirts!

Shaun Tait said...

Larry Auster memorably cast Steve as a biocentric yuppie and it's clear from that pic of Steve with Mrs.T that his fashion sense also dates back to the 1980s.

Sideways said...

I'm seeing a significant number of metrosexuals (beyond the high number of openly gay) at college these days. It's a large change from the 90s.
Still, it's not a huge portion of the male student body

oscar said...

biocentric yuppie? that's pretty retarded. how is steve a yuppie? and of course biocentric is a great pejorative in auster's imaginary world.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, firefighters...tall, in shape masculine guys who make decent money rescuing people for a living. Can't imagine why women might find that attractive. And the firefighter mystiqe far predates 9/11 or Backdraft.

Half Sigma said...

Not tucking in the shirt is a deliberate and studied attempt at demonstrating a relaxed casualness, and it's a lot more difficult to pull off (no pun intended) than just tucking in your shirt.

hans gruber said...

At least in the under 25 set, Steve paints an imcomplete picture. Males may not be concerned with tucking their shirts in or metrosexual type "grooming" but they are now more than ever concerned with their looks (think physical fitness, having a great body), at least in their prime. As the fun ends and the marrying years begin, this trend quickly disappears as more women favor personality and stability over a chiseled physique.

Now, of course men are much more concerned with looks than women. I'm just saying that if I were to pick out a trend among men, it would be the opposite, concern over physical attractiveness has increased in men as women's attitudes about sex have moved closer to men's. Also, one would think that the narrowing of the earnings gap would also tend to push women into being more concerned with good looks, which would induce men to be more concerned with their looks because of competitive pressure.

Ron Guhname said...

Some people have poked fun at Steve being out-of-date: I say bring back the look from the Golden Age of Hollywood. I am so sick of these Californians who wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops when they want to dress up. And these stupid bastards dress like this in the Sierras in January!

Anonymous said...

Ron Guhname said:
"I am so sick of these Californians who wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops when they want to dress up. And these stupid bastards dress like this in the Sierras in January!"

I live in the Midwest and I'm starting to see people tromping around wearing shorts and sandals in January. I'm one of the most casual people alive but I have enough brains to dress for the weather.

Anonymous said...

"If college trends continue, we will see an acceleration of this effect, with some sub-section of educated, middle class, non-Ivy level women behaving even more like tramps to attract what they perceive to be "higher level" men."

Oh yes, I could not agree more. Very insightful. I've already seen this in the workplace. It's quite common among the 20 something women I work with.

Dave: after 9/11 there was a brief fad among the Sex and the City set for fireman, but once again social mores militate against that for the most part. My own personal observation is that women in their twenties-early thirties would prefer a lower income but more prestigious White Collar man to a higher income firefighter, cop, or what have you. And a musician or aspiring celebrity has even more cachet and desirability.

What's fascinating is that Discovery's "manly men doing manly jobs" lineup i.e. Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs has an almost entirely male audience. The only "blue collar" activities IMHO that will attract women from upper classes is stuff that promises fame: racing, sports, etc.

Chris said...

I've never understood why some people care if others choose to dress like slobs. I'm at work in the Sierras, in California, wearing (you guessed it) a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. In grad school I was famous for wearing sweats with big holes in the knees and often taught my classes dressed that way. Besides the inevitable first impression hurdle, my slob nature has never hindered my life in any way. Ron, why does it bother you? I'm honestly curious.

Anonymous said...

As the number of women finishing college continues to outstrip the numbers of men, you will see increased competition among middle to upper class women for men. Women want to marry up. Women in white collar professions won't want to marry blue collar college dropouts unless they're very, very rich. This intensifies competition for the smaller pool of men they perceive to be "at or above their level"...

Yeah, "at or above their level" meaning in possession of four years of reeducation camp style cultural marxism. Today, the sheepskin hanging on the wall predicts a women's studies trotsky-ite 1.2 replacement birth rate super-consuming anorexic careerist.

That's some good wife material for you, Post-Modern Man.

Cato said...

I don't tuck in my shirt for the same reason that a lot of guys my age (late thirties) don't: It hides my gut better.

SFG said...

Yeah, "at or above their level" meaning in possession of four years of reeducation camp style cultural marxism. Today, the sheepskin hanging on the wall predicts a women's studies trotsky-ite 1.2 replacement birth rate super-consuming anorexic careerist.
Look, I attended a prestigious college full of lefties. We would watch protests to laugh and people kept applying to Goldman Sachs anyway. (Morgan Stanley for the anti-Semites in the audience). The dirty little secret neither Ivy professors nor Ivy haters wants to admit is that students don't give a rat's behind about their professors' politics. You tell the tenured radicals what they want to hear so they give you a high grade and go on to your high-powered job. Of course, having a lousy personality I wasn't quite so successful, but I assure you nobody takes the Ethnic Studies crowd seriously except for a couple of ladies while they're there. Let your armpits grow and play at bisexuality (which is a major turn-on for men anyway) and then shuck it all for a nice job at Merrill Lynch where you meet a hubby who will take care of you while you raise your kids on the Upper West Side.

That's some good wife material for you, Post-Modern Man.
They're rich, dude. Money changes everything.

Dave said...

"Dave: after 9/11 there was a brief fad among the Sex and the City set for fireman, but once again social mores militate against that for the most part. My own personal observation is that women in their twenties-early thirties would prefer a lower income but more prestigious White Collar man to a higher income firefighter, cop, or what have you..."

Firefighters have higher social status than cops in New York, for a number of reasons. The simplest reason is that it is harder to get into the FDNY -- it's less than a quarter the size of the NYPD. Also, although no one would admit it, the FDNY is overwhelmingly white. According to our local CBS affiliate (in this article, about a black firefighter group protesting the department's reliance on a written test): "Of the FDNY's 11,600 uniformed members, there are about 620 Hispanics (5.4 percent) and about 330 blacks (fewer than 3 percent). The department has 30 women members and about 70 Asians."

Another, more obvious, reason why firemen have higher status than cops is that cops are often forced to shoot black criminal suspects (as in the recent Sean Bell incident); on the other hand, firemen rescue blacks from burning buildings.

You may remember from watching Sex & The City how getting your wedding announcement in the NY Times Styles Section was a marker of high status (The brunette character worked hard to get her profile in there when she married her divorce lawyer). This fireman and his white-collar bride made it into last Sunday's NY Times Styles Section

Dave said...

SFG:

"Let your armpits grow and play at bisexuality (which is a major turn-on for men anyway) and then shuck it all for a nice job at Merrill Lynch where you meet a hubby who will take care of you while you raise your kids on the Upper West Side."

That reminded me of this recent Lives column in the NY Times Magazine (Let me know if you can't access the link and I'll paste in the text here). You've got to read this one.

There's an interesting status calculus behind this one: on the one hand, getting an essay published in the NY Times Magazine is a high-status achievement; on the other hand, the essay this woman gets published essentially recounts her pre-marital history of aimless promiscuity, drug use, etc. One would think this would humiliate her and her attorney husband in their Upper West Side social circle, but she probably considered this, and determined that getting her essay in the Times would score more points with their set than airing her dirty laundry would cost them.

Anonymous said...

sadly, those sorts of admissions often increase your status, assuming you eventually make-good... particularly among the sorts of people she spends probably spends time around. We like the idea of being able to have had it all... she is bragging about having the capacity to live as both a libertine and a hausfrau, and in style... the only tragedy in this article (for the author) is that they cannot both be done simultaneously.

Anonymous said...

Firefighing is a respectable profession? I thought they mainly sat around the firehouse and combed each others moustaches. Dan

SFG said...

Couldn't get in, BTW.

Yes, from what I understand at the very top of the social ladder a lack of bourgeois values is a plus, as bourgeois means, literally, 'middle-class'; hard work, thrift, and self-restraint belong to your social inferiors.

At least among some rich people. I imagine these are the ones who don't secretly control the CIA.

Ron Guhname said...

"I've never understood why some people care if others choose to dress like slobs. I'm at work in the Sierras, in California, wearing (you guessed it) a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. In grad school I was famous for wearing sweats with big holes in the knees and often taught my classes dressed that way. Besides the inevitable first impression hurdle, my slob nature has never hindered my life in any way. Ron, why does it bother you? I'm honestly curious."

Chris: I sometimes bitch for effect--how people dress doesn't bother me that much. I mean it is after all, like Marx said, just dead stuff hanging off you.

I'm probably making too much of it, but I see slobbiness as a sign that our culture is losing its self-discipline. I suspect that people used to dress uncomfortably because deep down they knew that only a tough bastard would wear that stuff.

Now it's all about pleasure. Soon people will sit naked in front of the TV with a beer, and will refuse to budge, ever.

David Davenport said...

Well, for my generation (mid 20's, the gender gap in grooming is quite small. Men put a lot of effort into their looks, but this might only be evident in areas that centre on night clubs.

Well, our Steve doesn't go to gay bars.

I'm surprised iSteve didn't remind us that muy macho African-American men can make a fuss over their clothes to an extent that a hetero white boy wouldn't dare.

I suppose that manly black men get away with being dapper becasue they have a surplus of masculinity, and this surplus is evident even when well dressed, whereas white boys nowadays keep their shit tails out in a desperate effort not not to be mistaken for a Nellie Belle.

Dave said...

SFG, Here's the text of that essay:

Lives; Song of My Former Self
By SAMANTHA V. CHANG

Eleven years ago, at 19, I was a nice, Midwestern Korean girl living in a decrepit former frat house in St. Paul complete with lava lamps, a beyond-creepy laundry room and an array of Grateful Dead skull bongs. I happened to be a dead ringer for James Iha, the guitarist from the Smashing Pumpkins, except for the amateur eyeliner job and frosty mauve lipstick. I sported a beauty-school shag, courtesy of a friend of a friend, complete with ''razored'' ends and a platinum skunk stripe. I got by as a fashion-design student with a little familial support and a meager part-time job in a vintage boutique called Heartbreaker. I remember wearing a pastel polyester vintage chevron cardigan -- which looked like a very happy and tacky Easter basket -- and white platforms with knee socks in the abysmal Minnesota sleet. I was actually more ''Tokyo-pop-meets-Vegas'' than ''I-know-the-band grunge,'' which would have been to my utter dismay, had I bothered to study myself more closely.

My boyfriend was a 25-year-old Irish toy designer named Zig, who had convincing dreadlocks and blue-tinged skin. He bought me illicit beers at rock shows, drove me around in his white Volkswagen Rabbit convertible and took me extreme cycling with his football Frisbee buddies on cold, fall afternoons near Lake Calhoun. I fell off my bike frequently, and in true chivalrous fashion, Zig would hoist me back on my ill-fitting seat -- and I pretended it was all great fun. Then he would buy me more beer at a place called Little Tijuana's and we would have pot-infused sex on his futon in his patchouli-scented apartment. In those days, I was always half a beer away from getting a nose ring but never mustered the gall. I didn't have a care in the world.

After a while, Zig and I and my quasi-grunge clothes all parted ways. I graduated from beer to vodka martinis and from pot to powder at parties. Social cigarettes became desperate first-thing-in-the-morning cigarettes. Instead of vintage clothing, I started wearing low-rise designer jeans with lingerie-inspired tops and nylon Prada purses. And instead of dating boys who merely looked like rock stars, I started going out with guys who actually were rock stars, at least in certain small circles.

Then, a few years later, around the time I replaced the rock stars with men in suits, I decided that I couldn't put my entire college education to waste (there were a couple of schools and a couple of different majors) and that I might as well try the whole ''corporate thing'' myself. I tried achieving respectability for a while in radio and advertising and fashion and ended up drowning my disillusionment in happy-hour cocktails.

More than a decade and three cities later, I am no longer employed, except as a full-time mother. I have identical-twin toddler daughters and an attorney husband who is 11 years my senior. We coexist on the Upper West Side with all the complexities unconditional commitment brings.

I often don't shower until 3 p.m. -- not because of a hangover, or a languorous, sexual afternoon with a lover, but because one of my children wanted to read Dr. Seuss's ''Ten Apples Up On Top'' for the fifth time in an hour. The house could use a visit from the Red Cross. My white go-go heels have been replaced by salt-stained Dansko clogs. My shirts all smell like apple juice and have permanent tomato-sauce stains where a child hugged my neck. My left finger has a proper Tiffany wedding band on it, but my hands are dry and weathered from dish soap and Windex. The first renegade grays are sneaking into my natural black hair, which I usually just put in a ponytail while it's still wet from the shower. I prefer Barneys when the credit cards allow me to. I wear sunscreen religiously now that sun spots are in full bloom at 30.

The time passes by quickly and sometimes so painfully. My best friend died in an alcohol-related car crash. Grandparents and beloved pets have left the world quietly. I have made peace with my mother, with whom I battled for so many years, because now she is Grandma. I have not thought of Zig in ages, but I sometimes think of others.

Sometimes I see a pretty 19-year-old girl on the street: fresh-faced and wild with a dream, gliding down the street with all eyes upon her, oblivious to the way the world snaps ribbon paths ahead of her in the wind. There are a few things in her presentation that will probably cause her to blush in the years ahead.

I turn to look, like everyone else, and I smile at her: that wary stranger-to-stranger smile. She returns it with apprehension: ''Who is this woman with a double stroller, half-smiling at me?'' I imagine I seem strange and worlds away but also familiar. We might both be wearing chipped black nail polish; it's one last fashion I find irresistible.

''Break a leg, sweetheart,'' I say in my mind.

Samantha V. Chang is a freelance writer living in New York.

David Davenport said...

You're joking, right? A tucked in shirt is like the definition of what old, dorky and uncool looks like. If you're 15 and your mother doesn't let you leave the house without tucking in, pulling the shirt loose is the first thing you do once you're out of sight.

If you’re a sissy white boy.


"I've never understood why some people care if others choose to dress like slobs. I'm at work in the Sierras, in California, wearing (you guessed it) a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. In grad school I was famous for wearing sweats with big holes in the knees and often taught my classes dressed that way. Besides the inevitable first impression hurdle, my slob nature has never hindered my life in any way. Ron, why does it bother you? I'm honestly curious."

Extremely conformist attire for lefty social circles.

Sully said...

I was thinking about this article at work today and I had a thought that tied in with another of Sailer's articles (about Asian woman/White man marriage). I live in Manhattan and I work at an investment bank, so my experience might be atypical, but I think that the influx of attractive, Asian women is changing the male/female balance of power. Basically, at both investment banks I've worked at, there have been a significant number of attractive Asian women, many of whom dated white men. The opposite (Asian man (of which there seem to be fewer than Asian women) dating white woman was much less frequent, although much more frequent that white woman dating other races).

This influx of female "supply" for white men without an equal increase of male "supply" for white women is beginning to the balance of power to shift towards white men. This is probably beginning to be exacerbated by the higher female college graduation rates (which isn't as evident in IBanks as it probably is elsewhere) is making it tougher for white women to get white men, which could explain women are more focused on increasing their attractivenes.

Not that it's helping me get action.

Anonymous said...

Good point Dave about Firemen in NYC. Though I've not seen that out here in LA area. Quite the reverse, women would prefer a lower paid Art Director at some marketing company or whatever to a fireman who makes more money.

Interesting dichotomy in the Justin Timberlake vs. Emo guy styles. Timberlake wants to "butch up" so he shaves his head like black rappers and copies their style complete with Sinatra-derived porkpie hat. While the emo guys put on eyeliner, makeup, and wear the female styled skinny jeans.

What is up with the long line of rockers who dress sort of like women? I never got the hair bands of the 80's either?

SFG said...

Thanks for the article. ;)

She didn't seem that libertine, but that may just be my lax ex-NYCer standards. She lay around smoking pot and sleeping with random men? Lots of women do that nowadays. I was expecting polyamory or sadomasochism or lesbian flings, but she seems to have just taken the usual upper-class detour through bohemia. Really, this sort of thing is not that uncommon and just represents a 'creative' personality among people of this social rank. I would like to see one of us get a respectable corporate job after all that lounging around smoking pot.

As for effeminate rock stars, could be there's a form of market segmentation here too. The rock star sells a persona, and the macho strutter and Sorrows-of-Young-Werther emotionalist are two different personas. They may appeal to different people or even to the same person at different times. I suspect the emo guy appeals to guys who are more sensitive (not necessarily gay! in fact, the emo guy getting girls validates the heterosexual sensitive guy) or to women who like less masculine men.

SFG said...

Oh, yes, I forgot, as Mark Twain said, in Boston they ask, "What does he know?" in NY "How much money does he make?" and in Philly "Who were his parents?"

Probably different now, of course. I suppose in LA it would be "What car does he drive?" or "Who's his agent?" NY remains about money, and in Boston it would be "Where did he go to college?"

fwood1 said...

"The dirty little secret neither Ivy professors nor Ivy haters wants to admit is that students don't give a rat's behind about their professors' politics. You tell the tenured radicals what they want to hear so they give you a high grade"
That's true for all schools, Ivy or not.

Dave said...

SFG:

"She didn't seem that libertine, but that may just be my lax ex-NYCer standards. She lay around smoking pot and sleeping with random men? Lots of women do that nowadays."

It's not so much what she did, but that she wrote it in a medium that her parents, friends, husband's coworkers, etc. will read -- and that her kids will find and read when they grow old enough. It's one thing to chat about this stuff over green apple martinis with your girlfriends, but writing this for publication in the NY Times is something completely different.

Her story also highlights a huge gender advantage women have, provided they are reasonably attractive: They can escape a desultory, meandering stab at a career path by marrying a successful man. A man with her work history would have little chance snagging a successful woman.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point Dave about how women can escape bad careers if they are attractive by marrying a successful man.

My question though, in the age of MySpace etc., is how will being so open and exhibitionistic about one's sexual past haunt otherwise attractive women in the marriage market?

How will for example the infamous Monica Lewinsky fare?

Peter said...

On the other hand, have American males ever invested less effort in how they dress? They can't be bothered to tuck in their t-shirts.

You're joking, right? A tucked in shirt is like the definition of what old, dorky and uncool looks like. If you're 15 and your mother doesn't let you leave the house without tucking in, pulling the shirt loose is the first thing you do once you're out of sight.

There's actually a reason behind the fad of leaving T-shirts hanging out rather than tucked in. If a male is even slightly overweight he's likely to have a bulging abdomen (unlike females, who tend to carry excess weight on their hips and rear ends), and nothing accentuates a large abdomen like an untucked T-shirt. By wearing his T-shirt hanging out, a man is showing that he's trim and fit.

Anonymous said...

Despite a Bohemian interlude, this woman writer was wise enough to snag a successful older man and settle down and start a family. Unconditional monogamy? That's a bold statement these days.

What do women want? They want to use what they've got: their wombs and maternal instincts. All the other trendy stuff is neither here nor there.

Intelligence = survival. Those chavs and scallies might leave far more descendants than the Oxford educated "society" people. Work is a key part of life, but getting addicted to it and forgetting biological imperatives is a costly mistake.

ricpic said...

One constant, or so I've been told, is that women judge men based on the shape of their shoes. Spiffy good. Scuffy bad. This is utterly depressing to me because the sure sign of a knock around tear around guy is scuffiness in general and particularly in his shoes. Shiny shoes are a danger signal that the guy is an aloof killer type. But whadda I know? maybe that's what she's looking for.

David Davenport said...

This influx of female "supply" for white men without an equal increase of male "supply" for white women is beginning to the balance of power to shift towards white men.

There’s also numerous women from the former CCCP emigrating to the US – the Russian mail order bride phenom. I’m acquainted with a guy who actually did marry a Russian woman he met on the Internet. They’re getting divorced now.

She’s about 20 years younger than he is. Now that she's in the US, i'm sure she'll find herself a more suitable 'oouusband.

… and nothing accentuates a large abdomen like an untucked T-shirt. By wearing his T-shirt hanging out, a man is showing that he's trim and fit.

No, a big blousey shirt hanging out doesn’t hide one’s obesity from anybody else. You’re just expressing your own vain, sad delusion. ;()]

Shiny shoes are a danger signal that the guy is an aloof killer type. But whadda I know?

Not much.

Dave said...

There are plenty of Russian (and other Eastern European) women in New York who aren't mail-order brides. They are here on travel visas. Some of them are looking for husbands. They often come here on six month travel visas and overstay them. They work off the books (as nannies, etc.) while looking for American citizens to marry so they can stay in the country legally. Others are just looking to make a few bucks and sharpen their English before going back home.

Half Sigma said...

One comment says antucked shirt hids the big stomache. Another comment says it makes the big stomache stand out even more.

Hmm...

Dave said...

"One comment says antucked shirt hids the big stomache. Another comment says it makes the big stomache stand out even more."

The tucked-in t-shirt by itself is dorky and hanging out loose is sloppy/ghetto. The trick is to tuck the t-shirt in and then wear something over it (in the winter) -- a sweater works well (helps to hide the gut if you have some muscle in your chest and shoulders). In the summer, a short-sleeve button down casual shirt can be worn un-tucked with shorts or pants. The key is to wear one that is designed not to be tucked in -- one where the front and back are the same length.

In any case, if you have a belly, no strategy will completely hide it. But having a belly isn't a deal-breaker for a lot of women, especially if you are confident and in reasonably solid shape otherwise. Some women even prefer it.

Dave said...

"Let's see, firefighters...tall, in shape masculine guys who make decent money rescuing people for a living. Can't imagine why women might find that attractive."

There are also short firefighters who don't fit your mental image, like the Italian guy who left my girlfriend's investment bank to join the FDNY. That doesn't matter though: a man in the FDNY is like a woman who's a professional model. Even if she isn't attractive (and some professional models are not -- just striking or different looking), she's still a model and benefits from that status. So, in a real sense, being a firefighter makes a man more attractive (at least in New York).

SFG said...

It's not so much what she did, but that she wrote it in a medium that her parents, friends, husband's coworkers, etc. will read -- and that her kids will find and read when they grow old enough. It's one thing to chat about this stuff over green apple martinis with your girlfriends, but writing this for publication in the NY Times is something completely different.
I suspect she may think it's romantic or something. I don't know. She may not be that future-oriented, or she may be too louche to care.

Her story also highlights a huge gender advantage women have, provided they are reasonably attractive: They can escape a desultory, meandering stab at a career path by marrying a successful man. A man with her work history would have little chance snagging a successful woman.
Yes, quite right about that.

What do women want? They want to use what they've got: their wombs and maternal instincts. All the other trendy stuff is neither here nor there.
What do men want? Money, sex, and power, right? But plenty of men became monks in the old days. I don't think everyone necessarily behaves in the evolutionarily optimal way; most people do or the species would not propagate itself.

Intelligence = survival. Those chavs and scallies might leave far more descendants than the Oxford educated "society" people. Work is a key part of life, but getting addicted to it and forgetting biological imperatives is a costly mistake.

SFG said...

Intelligence = survival. Those chavs and scallies might leave far more descendants than the Oxford educated "society" people. Work is a key part of life, but getting addicted to it and forgetting biological imperatives is a costly mistake.
Only from the point of your DNA. Being upper-middle-class is a lot more fun than being a prole. Darwinian incentives don't always line up with the health of the individual. If being a warrior has a 75% chance of getting you killed but quintuples your offspring if you're not, it's great Darwinianly but a bad idea for you as a person.

Anonymous said...

Even IN Russia, the number of single women in white collar jobs outnumbers men. It doesn't matter that some men make more by working at manual labor. The chicks don't care. They want the guy with a good education who is perceived to be higher class and cultured. Of course, they'd rather not have the slug in a low paying office job. So they all fight over the alpha (or maybe A minus) males who look set for a high paying and high status career (even if it's a promise not reality). The result: trampy looks and behavior and a deep disdain for feministkas of all stripes. See The Exile for a colored but nonetheless insightful view of this phenomenon. Basically I have never seen a country where well-educated men in the upper classes were more spoiled than Russia.

Perhaps in 20 years time, that is what parts of the US are going to be like -- especially for those men with elite degrees who know where to parlay their human capital.

Tom said...

Well, the simple reason for the "gender gap" in looks is that women have a lot more to gain by investing in their looks than men do. And it's also because one of the main factors in looks that women are attracted to -- height -- is something that's beyond a man's control. Men have more to gain by investing in, say, going to med school. There's something about doctors other than that they make a lot of money. I think it has to do with status; there are lots of jobs that pay a lot of money that women aren't necessarily attracted to (like, say, computer tech guys) because they don't confer the same amount of status.

Obesity in lower-income women -- is obesity the cause or the effect? I'd guess that it may actually be the cause. Obesity is a deal-breaker for so many men that a woman's chances of marrying up the social ladder are severly limited by it. And I haven't noticed the same thing in women. There are many women out there who are actually attracted to bigger guys (i.e., in girth) and actually hate "skinny" guys.

Cato said...

Half Sigma Said:

"One comment says antucked shirt hids the big stomache. Another comment says it makes the big stomache stand out even more."

Mine was the previous comment saying that the untucked shirt tends to hide my girth (I only do this in casual dress, at work I wear suits and dress shirts - tucked in as usual).

While it's true that an untucked shirt probably pokes out more, which may accentuate the volume of lard underneath, it doesn't provide any detail. A tucked shirt, on the other hand, wraps up the gut and love handles into a clearly discernable - and distasteful - package. Sometimes it gives rise to a "muffin effect" if the pants are too tight and the fat pokes out over the top of the pants.

(I used to be an athletic guy...what happened to me?)

Good thing I earn a decent living -and have a wife who thinks I'm funny.

spect8or said...

Steve, the women care/men care relationship holds in Australia among the southern Europeans (including Turks and Lebanese). These females typically take more care in their appearance and keep up with fashion than their 'anglo' counterparts. Southern European guys also invest MUCH more into keeping up with fashion than the typical "aussie" (anglo) guy.

To someone who takes pride in dressing sharply, the differences are stark when I watch 'anglos' heading off to typical nightspots, which for them are more so pubs, and the 'wogs' heading off to the nightclubs they tend to prefer. The latter are much more fashionably dressed.

"Aussie culture" supports a laid back attitude, which leads itself to dressing down. 'Wogs' don't tend to buy into "aussie culture" as much as "real" aussies, and perhaps as a result they tend to dress sharper. Among married couples, the differences are smaller, because there is far less need to dress to impress because you're not out to impress the opposite sex.

Also, what might appear to be a decline in fahion sense among the lower classes might be misleading, at least in the under-25 generation. In my experience, these classes are QUITE conscious of what they wear, and they make sure it is COOL -- perhaps not "Milan" or "Paris" fashion-cool, but it's what's cool among that generation.

meninstyle said...

i don't think the gap covers all age group.

perhaps, older guys tend to be more loose, or careless on how they look. but the trend today shows that younger guys are more invested in their looks than before.

http://www.matteformen.com is a great resource for male skin care products.