Sometimes I wish I had beautiful long blonde hair and ample cleavage.

By Paul Michael on 12 May 2008 48 comments

Not on my body of course; that would be freakish. And if you’re visualizing it right now, I’m really sorry…especially if you’re eating. No, I’m basically reacting to several incidentover the past few weeks/months/years which have forced me to come to the following conclusion: getting deals seems to be a whole lot easier if you’re easier on the eye.

I’m no oil painting: shaved head; average features; I could certainly lose a few pounds. But I do have an English accent. An ace up my sleeve which has, on occasion, helped me sway a few people here and there. Not by much, but enough to get an additional 10% off or a freebie thrown into a purchase. It’s peanuts to what I’ve witnessed with my own four eyes (I wear glasses, often another setback) when a pretty lady uses her charms on the average guy. I’m sure I’ll hear cries of sexism, but this has nothing to do with the intelligence of the girls…rather, the lack of intelligence of the people sucking up to them.

I’ve chatted with girls at work who have escaped speeding tickets not once, but on three or four occasions. I have had two tickets from two violations. I put my hands on the wheel each time, used very polite language and was extremely courteous. It got me nowhere. But some of the girls at the office, and their friends, told me how easy it was for them to get away with no ticket at all – just bat your eyelids, hike up your cleavage and play ‘the little girl lost’ routine.

If there are any male police officers out there, I’d like to ask a question; what do you really think is going to happen when you let a sassy blonde get away without a ticket? Do you really think she’ll give you her phone number? Seriously, why let her break the law and let others pay for it?

Ogle Street

Just the other day I saw three guys in Circuit City crowding around a pretty blonde who was looking at Blu-Ray players. I was annoyed because I couldn’t find anyone to help me find the DVD I wanted for my wife’s Mother’s Day present. But of course, I didn’t quite stand out in the same way as this part-time Playboy model did. In the end, I had to go to the in-store computer terminal and find the thing myself.  

I have been in bars where the waiters have literally shouted past three rows of people to ask a scantily-clad blonde what she was drinking. We all look, shouting “Hey, what about us? Waiter! Over here?!”

You name the situation, I guarantee I’ve been shunned in favor of the beauty queen who graces the establishment with her presence. It’s almost like some girls expect special treatment. Indeed, a very cocky girl I know says that her looks have got her everything from free cab rides to free landscaping. And all because she’s a dead ringer for one of those “Girls Next Door.”

It’s not always blondes of course, pretty ladies in general seem to have an advantage over those of us with more down to earth looks. Some guys have the edge, too. I’ve often felt like the Hunchback Of Notre Dame when a 6ft chiseled guy with abs of steel has stood next to me at the bar and waved to the bar staff. The girls rush to his aid, the guys want to be his best bud. This may have something to do with The Halo Effect , a common term used in business. You can read more about it, but many people out there associate positive (or becoming) looks with other positive traits, like kindness or intelligence. 

Why, as a society, do we feel the need to give an extra helping hand to people who clearly have already been given an advantage? Why do we suck up to the pretty people? What do we think we’ll gain by it? And what can folks like me, the ordinaries, do to compete with them? I’d love to hear your own stories on the matter. If you’re one of the blondes with ample cleavage for instance, how often have you noticed special treatment? Conversely, did you get the opposite treatment because of your looks?  And if you’re more of a ‘blend in with the crowd’ person, how did you get one-up on the person blessed with a rather nice outer shell?

It’s strange to think that just the way we look can alter the kind of deals we can get. Online, it rarely makes a difference. I find most of my deals that way. But put me up against someone with the looks of Jessica Simpson and my entire negotiating skills pale in comparison. Fair? Hey, considering the way people react it seems natural to use what you’ve got. (And if I had it, you can bet I’d flaunt it.)

Additional photo credit: Bobbie
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Linsey Knerl's picture

I get great deals, no looks necessary.  But I do most of my shopping online. And when I shop at Walmart, the women there don't care much that I look like the Dutch Boy paint mascot. They just want me to move my 4 crabby kids through the line!

Great post!

Guest's picture

I say as long as they continue to make significantly less money and success as men, then they're free to twist any dumb male chump who cares to fall for their wiles (I'm positive I'm one of those men) around their fingers.

Guest's picture
Rick Cecil

That men make more than women is not quite true anymore...

"The analysis shows that when controlling for years of experience in the regression, the estimated difference in salaries between men and women fell from 13 percent to 3 percent, bringing women’s median earnings to 97 cents to the men’s dollar. When the other variables listed above are added to the regression, the estimated difference is lowered only another 1 percentage point."

The key to this is "controlling for years of experience"; women often take years off work to raise their family, reducing their effective years of experience as compared to men who do not. This is a societal issue, though, and not a business issue and certainly no justification for cops to let them out of speeding tickets.

Guest's picture

It's worse for people of color, by the way.

Guest's picture

It depends where you are... sure, it's worse in some places.

As a person of color I feel that attitudes like that is what hold us back.

Guest's picture

The experience of being flirted may be reward enough for those men. I doubt they are really holding out for phone numbers, etc. It's the opportunity to play the role of powerful, attractive, appealing he-man even if for just a moment.

Guest's picture

I'm an "ugly" girl, and you took the words right out of my mouth!!
Ashame, the guys who've passed me by, for the pretty girls, because most of them now, (18 years after high school) are very heavy, and look...well, like me!
But, they did have their time of glory, which is something I've never had, and never will.
....or does the fact that I have a great husband, and two healthy, wonderful kids subsitute for MY time of glory?
I think it DOES.
I thank my lucky stars everyday for what I've got, and I know from seeing the ex-pretty girls around town, that most of the time, it's WAY WAY better than what they got.
Of course, my Daughter is well on her way to I need to get out the ugly stick to use on her, to give her a chance at true happiness? LOL!!!

Anyway, yes. I've never understood why people fall for good looking people, as if their "sh*t don't stink"!!!
What does it get them? For guys, it costs them a LOT of drink money for the girl who says thanks, and walks away...AND her ugly friends! It costs them lots and lots of heartbreak, too. Just ask my Husband, or every guy who's ever been dumped by my best friend. It costs men lots of embarassment and rejection from trying to get the supermodel in the room, when the "real" women are sitting there, just wishing someone would give them a second look, and could see INSIDE them, and realize that they are the "keepers" who will take care of them forever.
(ok, so many men are just looking to "use" the supermodel anyway...I'll give them that!)
I always wonder if the guys have a sudden feeling of "gullible" after giving a pretty girl special treatment. I hope so!

I have NEVER been let off of a traffic ticket. I've tried crying, I've tried being very nice and cooperative. I've tried joking. I've tried being UNcooperative!! I've even used some real medical situations, and the cops didn't care. I could have been sitting there with a baby half out of me...I'd still have to wait to get my ticket.

I'd never even have the guts to bother asking for a free add-on to a purchase, or a discount. I already know the answer to that!

Yes, I've always been the one who stupidly, accidentally became best friends with the pretty girls. The ones the guys did flips for. I guess they used me as their "ugly friend". You know, the person you hang with, that makes you look even that much BETTER!!
That was me, I guess.
I'd stand around in the background and wait and watch with envy, as my friend would be in the center of 5 or 6 guys, who ALL wanted HER. No one even noticed me back there, waiting.
And I always started out talking and joking, just like her, till suddenly I realized I was talking to myself.

But now, she has a crappy life. And I have a great one.
I guess suffering was what I had to pay to get what I have now.
And I guess it's the opposite way for the pretty people. They get the great stuff first, then they pay later!?
I think I got it the best way.

Like the song says, "if you want to be happy for the rest of your life....get an ugly girl to marry you"!!!!

Guest's picture

"getting deals seems to be a whole lot easier if you’re easier on the eye."

I'm not saying that doesn't happen, but I can tell you as a woman with a DDD rack that often men/salespeople can assume you are stupid and a pushover if you are 'easier on the eye'.

They don't make that mistake twice with me, but still...very aggravating.

Guest's picture

Beauty is impossible to resist. We are genetically engineered to be attracted to beautiful people, male or female, sexually or otherwise. I don't think that people are consciously making an effort to give the "pretty" person the edge, they just do it because that's the way their mind works.

Guest's picture

I am a pretty girl, but I think that only works if you play it up (ie: Jessica Simpson). I have not used my womanly wiles to get ahead (okay, I have tried hard every time to get out of a ticket and it's never worked for me!). I do ask though, every chance I get whether or not I can get a discount. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I learned that from my husband (he's an average looking man) because he is a very fun person to talk to and converse with and he gets a discount probably 9.5 out of 10 times he asks for one! I think that every person has a chance of getting a discount or more time learning about the product or whatever as long as you make the sale for fun for the person doing the selling. They want to enjoy their day more too.

One thing I do find funny though is that I get completely underestimated. I'm a C.P.A. and I typically ask some pretty tough questions with every large transaction I make. People never expect that from me because of my looks. So that's the flip side of the equation for me.

Guest's picture

Can we please move beyond the ideal woman being a simpering, helpless LOSER? And the concept that "beautiful"= blonde, skinny and a rack of doom?

I usually expect better here.

Guest's picture


Guest's picture

AMEN to that, DivaJean! I totally agree with you..

Guest's picture
Lisa H

In a forum I have often appreciated, I am deeply troubled by this post.

To be objectified is demeaning. Period. This is true even if objectification comes in the form of supposedly "positive" attention.

Women, regardless of their physical appearance, are full people. They are responsible for their own actions and only their own. Women, no matter what they are wearing, no matter what they look like, are not responsible for other's feelings of attraction. Women are not responsible for men's sexuality.

This article that claims not to be sexist, yet compares some women to plastic objects. The idea that women "manipulate" their sexuality has been used for centuries to uphold abuse towards women. This post is not helping. If you truly want to end whatever bias you are talking about, first work to end the sexism that upholds it.

Guest's picture

Society treats attractive people, men and women, better than the less-attractive. I've noticed personally that (despite my pretty-average looks) the reaction I get changes a lot based on how well I'm dressed, whether I've bothered to shave, and where I am on my fitness roller coaster. On a broader scale, higher incomes have been correlated with attractive features like height (for men), "ideal" weight, and even outright attractiveness.

It isn't fair, but it is the reality we're faced with. So we need to make use of that knowledge to our benefit. It's too late for us to change our choice in parents, so a certain part of the attractiveness is out of our hands. We do control how we dress, groom ourselves, and, to some extent, our level of fitness (yes, I struggle with this one).

Guest's picture

I have to agree with Lisa. I usually enjoy your blogs. I think your post is off-base and sexist. I also think you are ignoring ample evidence that men, particularly white men, usually get the better deals -- at banks, at mortgage brokers, at car dealerships. See Ian Ayres study at Didn't you outgrow jealousy a long time ago?

Guest's picture
Coming Clean

I have had a long standing rule that usually pisses people off until they fully understand the concept. Attractive people get better service than ugly people.

This is where many people start ramping up their anger machine about how shallow I am because I would dare to be honest about giving more attention and service to attractive people, but the truth is the truth.

1. I enjoy looking at beautiful things, or people, or places. I don't enjoy looking at anything that is ugly.
2. Attractive people have a confidence of self that less attractive people simply lack.
3. Good looking people usually put a little more effort into their appearance. If they are willing to do this for my benefit (if they are coming to see me), the least I can do in return is to reward their effort.
4. For the "average" looking people out there, you look average because that is all the effort you are willing to put in. Consequently, you get only "average" attention and service. Ugly people get little attention and less service.

Now the kicker. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Attractiveness is not. Because many beautiful people are also attractive does not mean ALL beautiful people are.

I am overweight (obese), and I smoke, but I find women who are attentive when I go to stores or other places where I want attention with no problem. The reason: I'm confident in my own skin and I take care of my appearance to the extent that I look my best when I go out in public. Women have told my wife many times how lucky SHE is to have a great, handsome husband, even though she is WAY hotter than I should reasonably expect to marry.

For the cops, they have a job where almost everybody they see is pissed off at them for doing their job. A little innocent "flirting" just serves to remind them that they are still normal people. It is a little positive reinforcement in a job of many negative meetings.

And for those who whine about the objectification of people, get a clue: We objectify ourselves every day. When we get dressed in the morning, unless we have to for work, we don't wear plain jumpsuits. We dress so that people who look at us will like what they see. Women wear scoop-neck sweaters, tight clothes, short skirts, low-cut tops, and padded bras so that people will look at them. Men do the same (although admittedly, fewer wear the padded bras) to attract attention. It is part of human interaction.

Guest's picture

I get where you are coming from Coming Clean- that confidence and being nice; attentiveness to your server, etc can help get better service-- but that's not what the article is *really* about.

Guest's picture
Coming Clean

I get what you are saying, but what I'm saying is that the outward appearance is interconnected with the inner confidence etc. I was going to avoid specifics, but consider the posters with the DDD's. There is no way they don't know full well the reactions they get from both men and women. This influences their confidence level, which exhibits itself in how they are perceived outwardly.

Similarly, when I see a pretty woman from a distance, I am intrigued, but if she proves herself to be a B****, she instantly becomes ugly to me, and she will be ignored accordingly.

I liked how one poster seemed oblivious that she got better treatment BECAUSE she had DDD's and a "tight shirt". Again, she chose to wear an outfit that elicited a specific response. Some people here seem to do just that, and then become offended when they get the response they were looking for.

Paul Michael's picture

...the article is about people's reactions to beauty, not an attack on it. If you disagree, that's your right. I was simply trying to provoke conversation about the fact that, quite often, beauty trumps a lot of other attributes. I have experienced it, clearly other readers have as well. I am not saying blondes are dumb, or objects. Far from it. And if you can point that out in the post, I will be happy to change that. I have too many friends in that mold to ever insult them in that way.

Guest's picture

You don't treat them as objects? Please.

You call them "girls" at the office. (Do they ever call you a "boy"?) "Part-time playboy model"? "Sassy"? These are not terms you would use to describe women if you wanted to be respectful.

As a reader of your blog, I expected better. I have to agree with Lisa H. Women are pressured by an entire cultural machine to equate their worth as a person with their appearance. For you to trivialize that ("But what about meeee???") is abhorrent.

If you wanted to look at this from a purely financial perspective, you would have to include the cost of all those cosmetics, high heels, hair products and latest fashions when evaluating that 10% discount. And the incalcuable toll of having to live in a society where half the members judge your value based on your sex appeal.

Paul Michael's picture

...they call us 'the guys' at the office. Which I believe is also the opposite of girl. What do you suggest? Ladies? I used that in my article too. The part time Playboy model reference was the easiest way I could think of to describe her looks without going into a paragraph of explanatory copy. Sassy means lively, high-spirited and fashionable...hardly an insult. And if I did look at this from a financial perspective, I would then have to ask the other question: why spend all the extra money on cosmetics and high heels to go shopping for a Blu-Ray player? Is it then premeditated, which is what you're implying? To say my article is repugnant for asking the question 'why do beautiful people get better deals?' is like saying it's also grossly unfair to ask 'why do men often get better positions and higher pay in corporations?" I believe it's fair game and grounds for conversation. I agree, I don't think people should be judged on appearance. If you read the article, you can see that's what I'm saying...and yet, so often, appearance puts me in the back of the line and other people right to the front. Isn't that worth discussion?

Guest's picture

As a woman who also has a DDD rack like Hayden, I can tell you a few things. One, sometimes I don't even realise something has happened, that maybe I'm only getting better service because my shirt fits tighter. Two, people usually do try to talk to me like I'm stupid. (I also have blonde hair) And for a third, It sucks. I was told, TWICE, by different male bosses that I was only hired for my looks. Wow that is a real ego boost there.....

Guest's picture

The opposite of "girls" is "boys" -- terms used for children.

I don't know that there's a contemporary slang word for adult females like how "guys" is for adult males. Maybe "gals", but that's also got connotations of being someone disrespectful.

Guest's picture

Perhaps the opposite of "guys" is "dolls"?! Of course I'm sure people would take even more offense at that and you'd have the added disadvantage of people belting out "Luck be a Lady".
I really don't see why people are taking offense at this article, it's all based on observations. There are lots of anthropological and sociological studies that have shown that "attractive" people are treated differently. As a cursory google scholar search will demonstrate.
As for getting out of tickets the only person I know who has been successful is a lovely middle aged, overweight friend of my mother, who was stopped for driving the wrong way down a one way street. She blamed the menopause and began describing her hot flushes in detail and was hurriedly told to just not do it again.

Guest's picture

I'm glad I'm the only one that thinks "and Dolls" when I hear "Guys". I guess someone needs to come up with a catchy musical named "Men and Women - not girls, gals, dolls, dames, chicks, or honeys"

Guest's picture

My boyfriend was able to get away with a lot with his Irish accent (his good looks probably didn't hurt much either). He had the women at the bank swooning (despite the fact that they were 50+) and they were always to eager to help him, ask how he was doing, etc. I, on the other hand, didn't quite get the red carpet rolled out for me and despite the fact he's been back in Ireland for five months now, they still ask about him.

I think good looks (and sometimes a foreign accent) can help you get a little more service, mostly because people enjoy spending time with you. I've noticed on my trips abroad, I get paid a lot more attention when I open my mouth, because it's something rather new and exciting, and if you're nice to look at, well, people enjoy that.

I've found that even if you're of average looks, you can get a lot further with people if you just are polite and perhaps even a little flirty, it flatters whoever you're trying to get service from and makes them more inclined to go out of their way for you. If you're rotten on the inside and out, people can't wait to get away from you fast enough.

Guest's picture

I think this is a great discussion. I don’t find anything offensive in the post at all. I personally do not like the knee jerk reaction that anything that mentions sexuality or talks about gender differences in an offhand, fun way is automatically sexist. We live in a complex world. I would be really bored if every post had to go through a politically correct filter and all females were referred to only as “women” and males as “men”. Slang and colorful adjectives are what make blogs fun and interesting to read. And look at how much discussion has been spurred by this post. It’s OK to disagree but it doesn’t make the blogger a bad person because he doesn’t write about the subject in the same way that you would.

*I’m off to see what being a sassy redhead can get me!

Guest's picture
Debbie M

I definitely benefit from my looks. I'm thin and delicate looking, and people assume that I'm sweet and harmless. I'm sure that's very handy in airports these days. And I know it helped me when I was a kid because I was very quiet. Often quiet people are assumed to be stuck-up or even psychotic. I was just shy. And and assumption of sweetness was much more pleasant than an assumption of haughtiness would have been.

Here's another weird reaction I get: I cut my hair once and people stopped referring to me as the one with the long hair and started referring to me as the one who's so skinny they want to kill me. What? My hair is long again.

People do sometimes assume I'm weaker or dumber than I am, but I kind of enjoy exceeding people's expectations (much more than not being able to meet them), so it works out for me.

I know someone who's bald and a little scary looking, and he uses that to his advantage. For example, at theatres, if someone's kicking the back of his seat, he says all he has to do is turn around and raise one eyebrow and the kicking stops for the entire duration of the movie.

And to the person who thinks someone with a DDD chest "chooses" to wear tight shirts, let me just inform you that it's not easy to find shirts that aren't tight when you are shaped like that. Women have very stupid clothing sizes. (Men can get dress shirts with different neck/chest ratios and pants with different waist/inseam ratios from the same company, but that is almost unheard of for women.)

Guest's picture

I've heard it said that attractive people are given better service due to a Darwin-like instinct to continue the species with only the most attractive, most fit, etc... Though I notice when I am put together all sorts of people are much kinder and more helpful to me than when I'm a mess. Could it be that instinct or is it the way we carry ourselves when we're more confident? I'm sure it factors in but we can't ignore the bias.

Oh, and in retail, women are supposed to be the wild card. Men will likely spend what they intended to spend. Women on the other hand usually spend more and respond to sales people sucking up or pressuring them. Or so goes the gender-biased rumor in the sales world.

Guest's picture

Yes, attractive women do sometimes get preferential treatment, but from what I've experienced they are not taken seriously in matters that require a brain (regardless of how intelligent they really are.) This is not the case with attractive men, at least not as far as I've noticed. This is just an observation, please do not read any bitterness into that statement. This is just how I've seen it.

Weight plays a role too. I was much heavier at one point and even though I still had a "pretty face" I felt pretty much ignored. I was never approached by sales associates, I was overlooked at work, etc. Then I lost 60+ lbs and was shocked when I realized why people were paying more attention to me all the sudden.

We have come a long way in this country, but we aren't there yet.

Guest's picture
an observation

Well... if this behavior is bothersome, shouldn't you be mad at the people GIVING the attention rather those who get the attention?

I mean... no one forces a group of men to help one little-bitty hot girl with a great rack while ignoring everyone else.

Or maybe (do Circuit City people work on commission?) your DVD (really? for Mother's Day? I'm just saying... ) wasn't flashing enough $$$signs compared to a Blu-Ray.

Guest's picture

I have to come clean too. I wouldn't say I'm a babe, but I'm not plain either. I am, however, disabled, and I do sometimes play on that. I don't think the world/life/people etc owe me anything, but being disabled adds a lot of expenses that able-bodied people don't incur and I have to think smart in order to make ends meet.

I never emphasise or exaggerate my disability but the wheelchair is really obvious and if smiling extra hard, laughing at bad jokes and fluttering my eyelashes gets me favors, discounts or freebies/extras, I'll do it. I get what I want and they get to feel good about themselves.

Paul Michael's picture

to people who respond this way. I was annoyed at the waiter, and the barstaff, as was clearly indicated in my article.

And the DVD had major significance and is not the wife will tell you, when it comes to gift-giving I'll take the Pepsi challenge with anyone. Not that I really need to explain that to anyone, but there you go.

Guest's picture

Amen, Healthy Amelia! It drives me nuts when people latch onto some mention of gender, race, whatever, even if there was NO prejudicial content in the comment, and start screaming bloody murder. Don't read things that aren't there and then start blaming the author for it!

I do take exception to Coming Clean's response to Angela, however. She was clearly saying that she unintentionally gets better service due to coincidentally wearing a tight shirt (which, as has been pointed out, is likely due to the difficulty for large-chested ladies of finding well-fitting shirts off the rack--no pun intended). She is not oblivious about it. How could she comment on something she was oblivious to?? Her point was that it's not (always, or for all people) intentional. I do agree with his general point about attractiveness being linked to confidence as much as to actual physical beauty, but his treatment of Angela makes him come off like a complete douche. And THAT is unattractive.

Guest's picture
Coming Clean


I get what you are saying, and given the context that I wrote, I accept that it sounded a little douchey (ie?). What I should have said is that I believe she wore a shirt that she liked, that was comfortable, that matched the rest of the outfit, and whatever other rationale she had. I don't think her goal was to get better treatment, but there is no way she didn't know that she would get better service in that shirt than in an oversized sweater. I also doubt she stopped wearing that shirt because she got better service or more attention, nor would I expect her to.

As far as the difficulty in finding clothes to fit specific sizes..., you are preaching to the choir here. As I originally stated, I am obese, and finding clothing isn't as easy for me as people might believe. You do what you have to.

I do disagree with people who ascribe stupidity or weakness to someone based solely on size or attractiveness. That is, I hope, at least marginally more douchey than anything I've said so far.

Finally, I've heard for years that the outside shouldn't matter, that it is not as important as what's inside, etc, but the simple truth is that people are more interested in finding out what's inside if it comes in pretty packaging. If we are all being honest, we all are guilty of giving preferential treatment to more attractive people, to one degree or another. It only bothers us when we are on the negative side of someone else's judgement.

Guest's picture

What's the Pepsi Challenge?

Guest's picture

What's wrong with a DVD for Mother's Day? Maybe that's what she wanted. When Valentine's Day rolls around, I tell my husband all I want is my favorite candy - Reese's peanut butter hearts.

Guest's picture

i was a bartender for the whole length of my twenties, i am now 37 and retired. i never, ever, ever, ever bought a woman a drink because of their looks. ever, period. i could never stoop to that banal of a level. it is degrading to me to imagine myself doing that (that would mean the woman wins based on her looks, not skills). i worked in the "a" clubs in my city, i am alright to look at, i know bar patrons. and women who expected a free drink from me never received one. i did, however, give away THOUSANDS of drinks to people, male and female, who were great customers. that was my only qualifier for special service. good looking girls who get freebies are losers...if you accept a freebie because of your appearance, you just given your gender another step in the wrong direction.

Paul Michael's picture

It was a great marketing campaign by Pepsi back in the 80's. Not sure what you guys in the US did, but in the UK this is how we did it.

Saying "I'll take the Pepsi challenge" just became a way of saying "take me on and I'll win."

Guest's picture

When I was younger... I was a little bit of a hottie (and I am not blond, BTW... I was a petite Asian gal with a decent rack). During my late teens and early 20s, I occasionally flirted and wore tighter clothing in an effort to get what I wanted (whether it was a free drink or a discount). Sometimes I got these things without even flirting... just as a reaction from people (men).

Once I hit my mid-20s, I settled down. I started dressing more appropriately, I gained a little weight, I married my Hubby and stopped wanting free drinks. These days, a plain t-shirt and jeans are my typical outfit, and I rarely wear cosmetics of any kind. As a result, I almost never get the extra discount or freebie... in fact, often I feel almost invisible in retail stores.

Do I miss the extra special attention? Yes, sometimes, but not enough to start dressing like I'm a teenager. Do I think less of myself for the way I acted as a youth? No, not really. It was part of my younger days, and I enjoyed it at the time. Do I think less of women who do it now? Nope. I actually do believe that women get the short end of the stick in a lot of ways... our society is still relatively sexist. A smart woman utilizes ALL of her resources to even the playing field.

And, ultimately, it's the men who are acting the most foolish in most of these scenarios.

As a final note: Hubby and I have both noticed that in certain stores--like appliance and furniture stores--we get better treatment from salesclerks based entirely on the way we're dressed. If we go in wearing jeans and t-shirts, we're pretty much ignored. But if he's wearing his work clothes--shirt, tie, dress pants--we're practically buried in sales people. Clearly they're making some type of judgment based on our appearance, and I think it's based primarily on HIS outfit, not mine.

Guest's picture
an observation

As this website is about being frugal & money-conscious, some of the tips are about how to look for & get free stuff (the more the better), for those above & below the attractive average. So then, wouldn't you WANT to be as hot as possible so that you could get as much stuff as possible?

So why shouldn't other people take your advice....

"(And if I had it, you can bet I’d flaunt it.)"

But please keep in mind for every "free" drink (or free anything) a hot girl (or guy) is offered, there's some a=hole that thinks he has the right to have her for as long as he feels like it. & if she says No, then she's an assumed shallow bitch.

In short: Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.

Guest's picture

I didn't get to read this whole thread, so maybe this issue has been addressed. Sorry, it's a long thread.

I was reading some of the posts about the controversey of using the terms 'guys and girls' and figured I could offer some perspective by sharing the way I've caught myself using the term 'girl'. Believe me, I mean it as no disrespect. Rather it's the opposite.

You can't think of these terms under the dictionary definitions 'boy' 'girl' 'man' 'woman' 'guy' 'gal'. More important, I think, in determining the way the user feels about the person they are referring to is the baggage attached to the term. In other words, the way the user 'feels' about the term they are using.

When I talk about someone using the term 'girl' It's how I refer to a female that I put on my own level. I don't often use the term woman because emotionally that strikes me as if I'm referring to her in sexual terms. Perhaps not true for all cases, but I've noticed that's how using the term 'woman' tends to make me feel.

I may also use the term 'woman' in a strictly informational way, but rarely to talk about someone I'm familiar with. For someone older I may use the term 'lady'.

I've noticed some women use the term 'guy' the same way I use the term 'girl'. if they use the term 'man' they are often referring to him in a sexual way. Sure the terms 'guy' and 'girl' are not exact gender opposites according to the dictionary. But psychologically they are. Guys don't use the term 'gal' because it's outdated.

All that said, I don't think this article is sexist. It's pointing out some social behaviors relating to attractiveness. This can relate to attractiveness in men & women alike.

Do I think it's right or wrong that attractive people sometimes get preferrential treatment? I honestly don't know. It's the deepest part of human nature and that's hard to argue with. People do it without even realizing.

I have noticed that when someone takes advantage of this preferrential treatment their whole life, they're not as well adapted to life when their looks go downhill, as inevitably they do. So I wonder if I should feel sorry for them.

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you are right, being attractive is helpful most of the times (and a problem in some others).
I grew up being the ugly girl of the school. I was skinny and brown in a town where girls are meant to have a few extra kilos and are particularly praised for thick legs (somewhere in souther arizona, not africa) and light eyes. I got used to being the "nerd" and treated as such. I grew up and moved for work reasons to Europe. All of a sudden I was the hot "exotic" girl in town.
Being "skinny" is no longer a sin and having long lean legs is good.
Do I get different treatment here than in america? you bet!!
do i like it? mostly yes!
But after I got off my fluffy cloud I started to resent the fact that suddenly I am no longer the "nerd". Nobody assumes that I am smart anymore. Now I have to prove it every day (quite tiring if you are a scientist).

Would I rather going back to being the ugly one? frankly? no. So there you have it. Fair? probably not but then again what can one do when evolution instincts kick in? adapt as best as you can?

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Cindy M

I enjoyed this column, Paul. I think how you dress and your demeanor can make an incredible difference in how you're treated in most places. People for the most part dress so sloppy and are half-naked, way too much cleavage on the "ladies" exposed for all and loudmouthed, stumbling around in their thongs, at least that's mostly what I see everywhere, even in some churches I've been in. As an old lady (53) and on the conservative side, I NEVER have a problem getting respect when I ask for help. It cracks me up. I now look like the church lady/school teacher types I used to see out there when I was a teen and made fun of. I LOVE it because it makes me so different. I wear conservative dresses, I'm covered, nothing flashy. I'm calm and quiet and treat others well. I made up my mind years ago I wanted respect from people and by God, I get it.

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I think we all react to appearances, one way or the other, because until we hear the other person speak, we have little else to go on & have to start somewhere. We're pretty visual creatures, so guess where that leaves us?

I've been a geek, and I've been a goth, & according to my loving partner, I'm now a goddess, and a portion of the population has always reacted positively & others negatively to me. 5'10" & blonde with a nice rack didn't save me from the geek comments (smart & dressed funny will do that to you), or win me friends (people really do treat me differently now that I'm not hiding), but it is what it is.

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There is no question that how you look drastically impacts how you are treated by others. During my younger years I was always described by others as being exceptionally handsome and good looking and I bore a strong resemblance to a very famous Hollywood actor, which no doubt accounted for the favorable way most people interacted with me.

It was not lost on me that my looks worked to my advantage in most situations, (especially in job interviews), and when I would wear a suit and tie the level of courtesy and deference with which I was treated invariably increased. It may not be fair, but this is simply how human beings seem to react to other human beings who are physically attractive.

As the years went by and I entered middle age I gained quite a bit of weight and rarely dressed up in business suits and fashionable leisure wear anymore. Over time, I noticed that strangers were not as accomodating and nice towards me as was once the case.

Since I still have all my hair and hardly any hints of gray, and since I have otherwise aged well with few wrinkles, etc., I must conclude that one of the fastest ways to go from "handsome" to "ugly" in American society is to put on 100 pounds of fat. Yep - that'll do it!

A few years ago I got serious about my diet and exercise regimen and lost 75 pounds. It was amazing how quickly the "old charisma" returned as I once more found myself being treated very attentively by good looking young ladies, sales clerks, co-workers on the job, etc. Five years later, though, when the weight came back, I was back in "nowhere land" - getting ignored and treated badly again in many situations.

The bottom line is this: If you get really fat in this country people will react very negatively to you because getting fat is perhaps the greatest social "sin" in American society. This is a real hoot given the fact that about 3/4's of all Americans are overweight or obese. Perhaps what we are seeing is a projection of self-loathing on the part of the 3/4's who are fat and fear of becoming fat on the part of the other 1/4 who are still thin?

I suppose you can't blame people for that. It's just human nature and I agree that we are biologically programmed to reject that which is ugly and to be attracted to that which is beautiful. We all do it from the time we are infants - so it just seems to be hard-wired in us - no doubt for the improvement of the species as we evolve.

So, if you've got good looks - enjoy them while they last - because everyone eventually ends up ugly if you live long enough! Such is life!

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I don't think playing up good looks (or any other superficial attribute such as dress, weak health, or a foreign accent) is necessarily a bad thing. If you wouldn't hesitate to use, say, charisma or 'the gift of gab' to give yourself an advantage, why shouldn't you also use your looks?

It doesn't mean you _deserve_ better treatment than anyone else, and you shouldn't develop a sense of entitlement because of it. But if people are stupid enough to fall for it, it's a bonus. While it's sad that our society is so shallow, people do need to be realistic that it's unlikely society's going to be changing drastically any time soon.

I've seen people opting to do all sorts of things to put their best foot forward: wearing glasses to appear smarter, wearing tall shoes to be more physically imposing, or dressing nicely to get more attention. But it's not limited to physical things either. I've heard of people faking a British accent to seem more cultured, or a member of an ethnic minority using an English name to seem less "OMG foreign immigrant = terrorist," and so on.

Also, I thought this humourous anecdote was relevant. :)