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Friday, April 1, 2011

Gender differences, Part II: dress

Another big difference between the sexes is that women tend to think a nice outfit is going to make a significant difference in their appearance, whereas men don't.

To most men, if you put Uma Thurman in a lumberjack outfit, she would be just as attractive as ever. And no matter how expensive a dress you draped around Joy Behar, she would still be, well, Joy Behar.

Yet the average woman seem to feel that dressing nicely will magically transform her from a 5 to an 8. Or, more surprisingly, that dressing poorly will demote her from an 8 to a 5. This explains why females spend so much on their wardrobes. Why they pay so much attention to fashion. Why they change outfits three times in one day. Why they bring so many outfits on vacation. And why they enjoy shopping for clothes.

Men simply don't believe in such magical powers of transformation. You never hear a man say, "Do these pants make me look fat?" Men know they're either fat or they're not, and no pair of pants will disguise that fact.

This brings up the age old question: do women dress for men, or for other women? Answer: generally, the tighter and more revealing the outfit, the more they are dressing for men. The more expensive the outfit, the more they are dressing for other women.

Since men feel that clothes make little difference in terms of how women look, they assume the same applies to them. This is actually a missed opportunity for many men, since in a woman's eyes, a nice suit actually will transform a man from a 5 into an 8.

That makes evolutionary sense. A nice suit advertises that a man has money, and is a good provider, which is what many women care most about.

Generally, the only men who care about fashion are gay. We heard about "metrosexuals" for a brief time, but that seemed mostly a marketing ploy.

I've never paid much attention to fashion because I've never seen an outfit that made me -- or any other man -- look good. Cheekbones look good on a man. So do a strong chin, clear, piercing eyes, wide shoulders and narrow hips. But what is it about a tie which enhances attractiveness? Nothing.

If I could, I'd get one of those rubber Batman chests and put it on underneath my shirt. Problem is, I've just never been able to find one in a clothing store.

In the meantime, I'm not going to waste a lot of money on clothes.

I just wish my wife and daughter would follow my example. 


Anonymous said...

John, So true! Reading this blog reminded me of a book I am reading right now, The Social Animal by David Brooks, about human nature and its practical consequences. I'd be happy to give it to you when I am done if you think it would appeal to you. (I'll have to ask for it back eventually though. My psychology-major daughter wants to read it over the summer.) Julie

John Craig said...

Julie --
Thank you. I'll pass on the book for now (too many unread ones sitting on my bedside stand),but thank you for the offer.

Bernie said...

Great post... and I agree on all points. You made me lol with the visual of a rubber chest insert under your shirt...:) I'll keep my eyes open during my shopping adventures.

John Craig said...

Thank you Bernie.