Monday, March 23, 2015

Makeup and Future-time Orientation

Chaeteau, commenting on a study measuring makeup’s only limited ability to improve attractiveness, writes:

It’s not surprising, then, that men and women will breathlessly grasp at the slimmest advantages to tilt the sexual market playing field in their favor, where the only game that matters is played, and played for a zero sum outcome in a battle as pitched, if not quite as bloody, as any war for survival. It’s why women will color their faces, despite receiving little benefit and less still the morning-after when the ruse is smeared off, for an infinitesimally small leg up over their female competition.

The stakes are that high.

Except there are only so many hours in a day.  What I find noteworthy (and frustrating during those happily long-passed times that it affected me personally) is that with the amount of time that some women spend in front of a mirror, they could improve their attractiveness far more with exercise.  That 30 – 60 minutes or whatever, on a day-to-day basis, spent in a gym, would be an SMV enhancer in a way that makeup accomplishes for only a tiny minority of women.*

Of course, the effect is only cumulative.  Any particular 60 minutes spent exercising isn’t going to give a woman anything like the 2% they allegedly get from makeup.  Exercising 60 minutes a day for a month will get you the 2%.  Exercising 60 minutes a day for a year will give you a 20%, two full SMV points.

But that kind of calculus requires conscientiousness, a.k.a. “future-time orientation.”  It doesn’t speak well of women who spend more time at makeup for +2% than they do at exercise for +20% simply because the payoff takes longer to realize.

* If it needs saying, then yes, men can be fat too.  But leaving aside whether being in good shape, in and of itself, improves a man’s SMV as much as it improves a woman’s, I struggle to think of any male analogue to makeup.  Unless we define it so broadly as to encompass . . . well, everything a man ever does.

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