Lie of the Beholder

A couple of people commented on my last post, correctly pointing out that physical attraction matters and it’d be foolish to try to ignore it. The heart wants what it wants, as they say. So do the genitals.

It reminded me of this study, which presented young women with profiles and pictures of men and asked them how likely they would be to date each one. The study concluded that “attractive men were consistently preferred and physical attractiveness was found to be the single most influential target variable on the subject’s preferences.” That’s obviously not quite Nobel-prize-worthy ground-breaking research. What’s interesting is what the women had to say about why they preferred the men that they did.

The researchers asked the women how much physical attractiveness mattered to them. One group of women in the study simply answered the question. The other answered the question while being strapped to a (fake) lie detector. Guess which group admitted to placing more of an importance on looks? “Participants’ reluctance to disclose the full extent to which they thought that they were affected by physical attractiveness, was overcome only under the pressure to be honest,” the researchers wrote. “In other words, not only are women shallow, but they’re also lying scum, especially Carla, that bitch, who we hope is happy with that MBA jerk and–” Okay, they didn’t actually write that last part, but I can totally picture it.

Everyone knows that despite all protestations to the contrary, people place great importance on looks. What’s interesting about this study is that it gives evidence that the importance we place on looks is not subconscious — people are aware of it, but lie to everyone and proclaim that looks don’t matter as much as they really do.

I wonder what the results would be if this experiment was repeated on men. It’s more socially acceptable for a guy to be shallow than for a woman, so it’d be interesting to see if the same gap exists between the men who are forced to be honest and the ones who aren’t. My prediction is that the difference between the two groups would be smaller. Men are mostly honest about being shallow. After all, it’s the men who can completely describe a date to their friend as, “Eh, she’s a 6,” with no further information being necessary.

And speaking of which, I don’t like the whole 1-10 scale that guys use. I think a more pertinent scale is the 0-to-1 scale: 0 is “Definitely would not sleep with” and 1 is “Definitely would sleep with.”

0.5 is “Would sleep with if drunk, but wouldn’t tell my friends about it.”

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Inside the Male Mind

me: come on, you should ask her out.
me: she sounds like a nice girl with good long-term potential.
friend: eh
friend: i dunno
me: don’t be so superficial.
friend: i’m not superficial
friend: i just like big tits

Going in Circles

Last weekend, I traveled 800 miles to go to Tahoe to ski. Now, the more astute of you may be thinking, “Hm, isn’t Tahoe only about 200 miles away from the SF Bay Area?” To this, I say, you are correct, and therefore it takes 800 miles to travel there and back twice. Surely more questions are being raised in your mind now. Never fear, all will be answered.

I’ve wanted to go skiing at Tahoe for some time now, but haven’t had any luck. Whenever I’d find people interested in going with me, something would always cause the trip to be canceled at the last minute. I was the kiss of the death for anyone planning to go to Tahoe. Everything would go smoothly until I was invited, at which point, cars would break down, important deadlines at work or school would come up, snowstorms would close the roads, people would get injured or sick, or roving hordes of barbarians would ravage the countryside. I was beginning to think that the Ski Gods really didn’t want me going to Tahoe.

Finally, I decided that if the mountain does not go to Mohammed, Mohammed must come to the mountain. And since Mohammed doesn’t ski, I might as well go instead of him. I thus decided to go skiing by myself. Of course, as soon as I booked my (non-refundable) Tahoe bus ticket for Saturday, someone invited me to go to Tahoe on Sunday. With the promise of cool people, warm cabin, and hot tub, I could not pass up the opportunity.

An early manifestation of the kiss of death this time was the bus getting pulled over twice in one day for reckless driving; but the bad luck having mostly exhausted its efforts on the first day, the second trip actually happened, and so, after getting up at 4:30 AM on Saturday to ride the bus to Tahoe and coming back home late at night (getting pulled over by the police really lengthens your trip), I found myself waking up at 4:30 AM on Sunday to go to Tahoe again.

The trip did not go without its share of problems, such as people falling sick or snow chains failing at inopportune moments (and the less said about my own skiing, the better), but overall it was a blast.

The curse has been broken.

With Extreme Prejudice

I don’t watch much TV, but I recently came across The Terminator series and watched an episode (because how could any straight guy who grew up in the early ’90s not love Terminator?). The premise of the show is that Sarah and John Connor time travel from the 90s into present-day California to continue their battle against SkyNet and to make lots and lots of money for whoever holds the rights to the Terminator franchise, because dammit, they’re not gonna let the series die, so let’s have a show FILLED with Terminators, where EVERYONE is a Terminator, because that’ll bring in the ratings. (I can’t wait for the guest-star Terminators after the show jumps the shark. The Steve Carrell terminator? The Rosie O’Donnell terminator? The possibilities are endless).

The series shows how the characters have trouble adjusting to living in the present. For example, in the episode I saw, someone refers to 9/11 and Sarah Connor asks what 9/11 means, since she time-traveled past that part.

Personally, I just can’t wait until they turn on the news and see who their governor is.