Monday, July 06, 2009

Is Eye Candy Always Expensive?

This post from The World of Wealth reminded me of something I'd been trying to write about a few months ago. First, an excerpt from MEG's post:

It's been over a month since I joined my new upscale gym, and I have never looked back!

It costs over $130 a month (compared to the $44 a month I used to pay for a regular gym), but I have not had even a twinge of buyer's remorse.....

Going to the gym makes me feel strong, healthy, and energetic, but this one in particular - like any upscale spa or designer boutique - also makes me feel pampered, composed, and worthy.

Also, there is plenty of good eye-candy!

That last line was the kicker for me (emphasis mine). The post I'd been working on several months ago was inspired by two lunches I had at places near my office, one being a typical NYC pizza joint, and the other an upscale, expensive, gourmet Italian cafe. I never got very far writing it, but the tentative title was "Where Do the Beautiful People Eat Lunch," because it seemed to me that the more expensive the lunch spot, the more attractive the clientele was, which seems to have been MEG's observation about gyms as well. Are expensive places really frequented by cuter customers? How might that work in terms of cause and effect, or mere correlation?

There's some logic to thinking people are more likely to be attractive if they can afford upscale lunches and gyms-- money can't create good looks, but it can certainly help enhance an otherwise average appearance. People of a higher socio-economic status are also more likely to be healthier and less overweight, which can improve one's looks. And in the case of restaurants, people who eat pizza for lunch every day might indeed be less healthy than those consuming organic salads from the gourmet place.

Then there's the question of who can afford the more expensive places: I'm sure I've read of plenty of studies showing that attractive people are more likely to be hired for jobs, and paid better. I can't cite any of those studies now, but I think this is something most of us would instinctively believe is true, whether or not it should be!

And there are psychological reasons-- if people value the things that differentiate upscale places from their less expensive counterparts, they are also more likely to prioritize appearance and wear the sorts of clothes or jewelry that might be judged fashionable or attractive by others. And from the perspective of the beholder, perhaps we are predisposed to find people more attractive because we think they have money.

Of course, all of this is very subjective-- everyone has different definitions of what is attractive in the first place. If your aesthetic tends more towards artsy thrift-store skinny-hipster chic, you might not find much eye candy at any gym, at least not in the weight room!

Where do you find your eye candy? Does it have anything to do with money?


Gord said...

There isn't much in this world that isn't better in some way because of enough money. People look better and feel better with money.

Now, a lot of people may think that's a superficial philosophy (especially when they have enough) but they quickly change when there isn't enough.

Single Ma said...

To me, eye candy is about the swagger: the way a man carries himself, his walk, his look, his confidence - none of this is material, but it vastly improves when one has money or material possessions.

mOOm said...

And beautiful people marry wealthy people...

1001 Petals said...

Yeah I think mOOm hit the nail on the head but I'd reverse it to say that wealthy people tend to marry beautiful people. . .of the very wealthy people I know, none have married unattractive people!

MEG said...

Very interesting insight! And thanks for the mention. :)

I never even thought about it, but it does seem like expensive neighborhoods, shops, gyms, and restaurants all seem to be filled with beautiful people - or at least a higher percentage of beautiful people than other spots.

It might be somewhat of a chicken and egg question - "which came first, the wealth or the beauty?" It can be both or either or some combination I'm sure.

Attractive people do tend to earn more money - this may be related to the fact that they often develop better social skills and more confidence and leadership abilities growing up. They also succeed more because bosses/clients/colleagues like them better (people, even babies, have been shown to prefer attractive people).

But even if you're not innately attractive, money can go a long way to getting you there. Wealthy have the money - but just as significantly they have the time - to invest in great clothes, spa treatments, the best hair/skin care regimin, expensive dental care and even plastic surgery - not to mention personal trainers, nutritionists, cooks, tennis instructors, dance classes, etc etc.

Midnightsky Fibers said...

You might also not find wealthy people who are not as attractive at the gym- they might work out privately or in another place more geared toward that type of client.

Of course those at the gym- are they pretty, or is some of that just the self confidence they have in themselves?

Abigail said...

Eye candy is nice but not worth an extra $90 a month (or $3/day). Here in Seattle, you can see eye candy for free walking around Greenlake. It's good exercise and you see lots of pretty people, cute babies and slobbery, sweet dogs.

That said, if it motivates her to work out, great!

jpdaigle said...

MEG's comment is probably right on the mark, but here's my gut feeling: there's no strong causality between wealth and prettiness, but rather a single, hugely important outside factor that influences both: one's ambition to better oneself, invest effort in oneself, and delay gratification.

For better or worse (insofar as the final goal is an overall happy life, however you may define that), I believe your willingness to spend years slaving away in university, work long hours at the office, hit the treadmill four times a week, or eat that homemade spinach salad for lunch instead of buying a burger are all ultimately driven by the same personal qualities. They will make you both beautiful and financially comfortable :)