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Things are easier when you’re good looking

October 24, 2007
by

Trust me.

So why do I constantly hear this crap about “oh don’t worry about your body image” and all this other garbage? I can understand it for some 13 year old girl whose parents catch her cutting carbs or something, but for a majority of people 18 and up, it makes a lot of sense to want to improve your appearance (health reasons aside). Because, frankly, life is just easier if you’re attractive. It’s easier if you’re charming. It’s easier if you’re funny. It’s easier if you’re smart. It’s easier if you’re rich (this is arguable, see super lotto winners for evidence).

Some may not like to admit it but it also plays at least some role in being hired. Consider models. They use their looks alone to make a living, so why shouldn’t you want to augment your success by looking better? I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that attractive women probably have an easier time gaining employment and promotions (bonus: mad cash from sexual harassment suits). So every time I hear someone say “blah blah blah, you look just fine, don’t worry about it”, I’m really confused.

For the most part, you can’t self-improve how charming or funny you are, and getting richer takes a whole lot of skills, time, and luck which you may not have. It’s also the most overt. Someone will notice if you’re handsome before they’ll know that you’re smart or funny. By far, the trait that offers the path of least resistance is becoming more attractive. It starts with some self control: eat better. It doesn’t require night classes or charm school or quoting Judd Apatow movies relentlessly. Exercise obviously requires some effort, but you can exercise while playing a game and having fun. Playing a sport is a legitimate way to get in shape. Watching “Jeopardy!” is not a legitimate way to increase your intelligence. Eating right and exercising are very accessible to all people.

Plus, looking better has ancillary bonuses in addition to making your professional life easier. You’ll have a lower health insurance premium. You’ll have more friends (or at least the option for more friends). Random homeless people on the Metro will harass you. Dating will be easier and more productive. You can cry in front of a traffic cop and get away with just a warning (note: even hot dudes cannot use this…stick with the diarrhea thing).

I talk to my mom online a lot and various topics inevitably come up. She asks something like “why do you need to lose more weight?” I respond with “what are you doing in Teen Chat 735?”. But really, my answer is always simple. Why not? Why am I worried about how I look? Because I’m a young professional (I fucking hate that term) and I want to climb the ranks as quickly as possible, and being one who values efficiency, I want to do it with the least work possible (which is to say I don’t mind eating better or exercising, so I don’t really consider it work). And it comes with a side bonus of wearing tight pants, which I want to be ready for whenever that makes its comeback. I’m trying to improve my appearance because it’s probably the most globally marketable trait.

Models basically get paid to be good looking. Sure they have to pose for pictures or walk down a runway, whatever. Physicists don’t get paid to just sit around and be smart, they have to do research or something. Comedians don’t just mill about raking in cash while everyone talks about how funny they are…they have to do shows, movies, and World Series promotions. [NOTE: I don’t want to take anything away from models. If I was good looking enough to use that as a career, you bet your ass I’d be first in line for that low carb gravy train. You really can’t blame them.]

People will judge you by how you look, there’s no two ways about it. They may judge you based on your intellect, but it’s not numero uno. Unless you’re a huge tool and you walk around wearing t-shirts with pictures of your diplomas, 99.99% of the people you pass by every day will have no idea how smart you are. People may not pick their friends based on looks, and certainly other traits are more important, but people you work with and random strangers you pick up in a bowling alley for a one night stand (hey it’s important to some people) don’t necessarily want to be your friend.

So, really, I have no problem with people who are concerned about their appearance. Obviously some people go way too far and encounter diminishing returns…then attempts to become better looking are just a waste of time.

I guess this opinion makes me an asshole. But this is the way the world works, and the world is full of assholes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam permalink*
    October 24, 2007 8:06 pm

    You are correct to think how you look matters, especially since you are a man and not a woman. This article is now 7 years old, but the information in it is still interesting:

    “Other factors being equal, the unfortunate 9 percent of working men whom interviewers classified as “below average” or downright “homely” made 9 percent less in hourly earnings than did more attractive men. By contrast, the 32 percent of men classified as “above average” or “handsome” got a wage premium of 5 percent. Women took a 5 percent hit for bad looks and earned a 4 percent premium for beauty.”

    So not only is there a reward to being attractive relative to the average man, there is a penalty for being uglier than average as well.

    quote from: http://www.vpostrel.com/articles-speeches/nyt/appearance.html

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