April 10, 2007

Advice for single women

Single women should to learn to distinguish between expenditures on looks that help catch a husband and those that merely impress their single women friends. Spending money to snag a good husband can have a huge return on investment, but not all spending on fashion and beauty has equal payoffs.

Women spend a lot of money in attractiveness arms races against other women in areas that men pay little attention to. For example, spending on your nails doesn't have much payoff in attracting a good man. Nails are the kind of thing that other women pay attention to, but most men only subliminally notice.

Similarly, while buying high heels is a good idea because they make women look more curvaceous, buying and lots of lots of shoes is a waste. Men don't really care whether you have the latest fashion in shoes and whether they perfectly match your dress ... well, some men care, but they are generally not the kind of man who will be the father of your children.

You'll notice that most men think that the fact that Imelda Marcos owned 3,000 pairs of shoes condemns her without appeal. Yet, women I've talked to about this find it reasonable once they do the math: two pairs per week for 30 years of public appearances. Seems pretty thrifty to most women! Still, you can see ways to economize.

Of course, once a woman is not single anymore, her husband would prefer she think more about impressing other women than other men ...


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

41 comments:

Essex said...

Good points, Steve, but there is a difference between "subliminally" noticing and not noticing at all. Spending a fortune on elaborate nail treatments is a waste of money from a husband-hunting perspective*, but a woman's nails must be clean and well-tended, without ragged cuticles, etc. Men will eventually notice dirty or ragged nails and their estimate of the woman will be lowered. The trick is knowing where to stop because

*elaborate nail treatments or very long nails, like heavy make-up, are hallmarks of women from the working and lower middle classes. If your husband-hunting target market consists of lawyers and stockbrokers, you want to look like a lawyer's wife (with a dash of added sexiness to reel him in, of course), not like a stripper or a secretary.

It's the same with shoes ... a woman seeking a high-status partner should wear shoes that match her outfit in tone (no clunky clogs with dresses, no high heels with shorts) and are not too extreme. Men may not notice the specifics of the footwear, but they will register the message of "slob" or "slut" if the woman goes too far one way or the other.

There's some regional flexibility here, of course. Southern women traditionally wear more make-up and can probably get away with more elaborate nails than Northern women. Women working in a high-fashion center like New York can get away with higher heels and more extreme shoe styles than women in, say, Washington, DC, but the concept is the same. Look like the class you want to marry into.

SFG said...

Also, I think women really enjoy dressing up to impress their girlfriends. It's kind of like telling the computer club to start watching football instead of Star Trek: good for your career prospects, but not as much fun.

playrink said...

"... you can see ways to economize". Like what, f'rinstance?

Theresa said...

Ah -- but you're overlooking intimidating one's competition, Steve. Women dress up not just to impress other women, but to show off that they are obviously the best choice so the rest of the gals may as well go home. It's kind-of like putting on war-paint -- scare the bejeezus out of your competitors. ;-)

RJS said...

Theresa is right. Men tend to underestimate the competitiveness of women because it occurs at a level we don't acknowledge. Some women don't participate in this stylish arms race(tomboys), and I don't think its a coincidence that tomboys and girly girls don't get along.

Steve Sailer said...

And all the girls walk by
Dressed up for each other

"Wild Night" by Van Morrison

Rosco MacDonalds said...

Women can be downright fiendish in their catty no holds barred competition to land a father for their children. Probably, it was a Machiavellian woman invented feminism to sidetrack her less savvy competitors.

Men can be turned on by some of the things women can be phobic about. Good advice to any young woman: recognize your fellow females for the she-vampires they are. "Girlfriends" full of good advice and ready comraderie are all saboteurs in the end.

At least guys are capable of working together for a common goal. Women are capable of genuine altruism only towards their offspring.

Emily said...

You're making an assumption that a woman never does such things for herself, which is just nonsense.

I like spending money on myself sometimes, and I don't do so for the benefit of men (already married) or other women. I like taking care of my appearance. If I just got better after feeling sick, or after a stressful work week, it makes me feel better to treat myself to looking like a properly functioning member of the human race. And even if I don't feel like one, looking like one is a good start.

Getting my eyebrows done, getting haircuts--I feel like I'm taking better care of myself when I do such things. I like wearing jewelry sometimes, because I like pretty sparkly things. I like wearing different shoes, because my needs and moods change from day to day. I wear contacts & eyeliner because I want to feel more awake and productive, and that way I can't rub at my eyes. I wear makeup sometimes because I like to look pretty in pictures, and overly bright camera flashes can be quite cruel to a lady's photo.

I loop in these kinds of expenses with shampoo & soap--it's all part of taking care (and occasionally pampering) myself.

Glaivester said...

Men don't really care whether you have the latest fashion in shoes and whether they perfectly match your dress ... well, some men care, but they are generally not the kind of man who will be the father of your children.

Well, I don't care about high fashion, but I sort of like it when a woman's shoes are revealing...

Glaivester said...

Put another way, some women might decide that my interest in their footwear would make me less likely to be the father of their children, but not for the reason you were referring to.

Steve Sailer said...

Women particularly like spending money on things you do sitting down and being waited upon, like buying shoes.

Anonymous said...

""Girlfriends" full of good advice and ready comraderie are all saboteurs in the end.

At least guys are capable of working together for a common goal. Women are capable of genuine altruism only towards their offspring."

Even in middle and high school, the cattiest times in a girl's life, that's not true. I was an ugly duckling in middle school (buck teeth and glasses), and those most helpful to me were other girls who helped me get over that stage (they made me more "competitive" with them in the attractive dept.). The boys generally, though not always, made rude comments (and then one of them wanted to date me in high school after I had changed thanks to braces and contacts and didn't understand why I said no.)

Some of the fashion thing among women I think is a way to bond with other women. They talk about where they get haircuts, their nails done, their makeup, clothes, etc. If you get $15 haircuts and don't get your nails done like me, you'll be out of conversations here and there (at least I have makeup). They still talk about these things after they're married.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with you about nails. I don't care if a woman does her own nails or pays to get them done, but a woman with ate-up nails is a real turnoff -- it implies a lack of hygiene in other areas.

That said, this is what I find entertaining about iSteve. No compunction about giving a whole gender or race advice.

Anonymous said...

I am reading a book for the second time called "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley. It is a book written origionally about 20 years ago so stockbrokers and other financial services types would know who to prospect. It can also be read as a guide on how to become a millionaire.

Stanley is someone who actually researched people with money and those without rather than just write a "look at me". book. He breaks down various work habbits and buying or lifestyle habbits and diferenciates them with non-millionaires.

A couple of his ideas are:
1. be Furgal
2. Live below your means
3. Most millionaires are married (once), in their 50s (so they are patient), work hard, and are focused.
4. Not driven by status by achievement.

It is the complete opposite to the flash, cash, and trash attitude of so many people. What many people confuse for wealth are really proxies of wealth, like clothes, watches, cars, etc.

The bottom line is that people who look rich are often the ones who are not because they put all of their energy and money into looking like a million bucks not hoarding a million bucks.

Peter said...

elaborate nail treatments or very long nails, like heavy make-up, are hallmarks of women from the working and lower middle classes

By wearing long elaborate nails a working class woman is sending a message (consciously or not) that she's too refined to do manual labor. Fancy nails don't go well with being a maid or cafeteria worker. A woman from a higher social class has no need to send such a message, as of course she's not going to be doing such humble work in the first place.

joshrandall said...

Women with elaborate nails turn me off! Long and painted nails are ugly.Same for make up:a little goes a long way. BTW I just saw Marie Antionette,a film Steve discussed a ways back. The elaborate clothes,hairdos and make up really looked bizarre,a ghastly parody of feminine pulchritude! And the women looked even worse!

Furgal said...

I am reading a book for the second time called "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley....It can also be read as a guide on how to become a millionaire.

I've read that book 28 times. It's no good.

Ron Guhname said...

Most women totally miss the boat on what is important to men. You can catch my eye and not spend one penny: just eat less and jog more. A pig in Armani is still a pig.

Anonymous said...

men also have a distorted view of what makes themselves and other men attractive to women. in particular, white collar men believe that a tight look (such as you might see in a small boned estimable ivy banker type with neatly combed hair) is winning, while women actually seem to prefer some outstanding physical features (broad shoulders, a mane of hair, etc.) which make a man the opposite of "tight". As for women, I've always felt that the medium build Kama Sutra "mares" carried the greatest value, but this apparently isn't the taste of victoria secret's clientele, judging from their models.

Bud said...

Take my word for it ladies: A lot of guys like the Sinead O'Connor look -- buzz cut, hairy arm pits and legs, no make-up, baggy clothes.
If you've been spending a fortune over the years on your appearance and you're not where you want to be, switch directions.

onetwothree said...

All for nothing. A glance at the face, hips, and breasts takes 2 seconds and costs zero. That accounts for 80 percent.

Then, a view of the overall "look" tells you about her personality. The type (not _brand_) of pants will tell you whether she is interesting or a bore.

One million dollars additional expediture will add zero.

Anonymous said...

Are you folks nuts? Love is not a consumer issue. Somebody clean and smart and comfortable that you want to spend your time and your life with is something that just can't be bought.

You don't want a woman who thinks her only value is her looks. That's the one thing guaranteed to slip away. And you don't want a woman who's spending money on clothes and makeup and jewelry rather than good vacations or interesting life experiences.

Think about your values, and find somebody who shares them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, women would do themselves a favor by learning how to make eye contact and smiling, i.e. basic flirtation. And it's free.

But after getting pumped full of self-esteem pap for the last two generations, they've decided that there's no need to - they are "all that" and can be content to simply "meet" guys who are already swirling around their clique.

How much more self-absorbed (and boring) have young American women become in the past 40 years?

Every American girl should have to work for 5 years on a farm so she'd grow up to understand that she's not the center of the universe.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to give the "type of pants" theory a roll. It may be a shortcut to judging the entire ensemble. I suppose that, among the professional set, you would look for designer suit quality and for working girls, college students (and, er, recent high school grads) some kind of jeans chic, maybe. Any tips? For me, immitation shoes (low quality leather, etc.) are a dealbreaker if the woman can afford better.

Alex said...

"Actually, women would do themselves a favor by learning how to make eye contact and smiling, i.e. basic flirtation. And it's free.

But after getting pumped full of self-esteem pap for the last two generations, they've decided that there's no need to - they are "all that" and can be content to simply "meet" guys who are already swirling around their clique.

How much more self-absorbed (and boring) have young American women become in the past 40 years?

Every American girl should have to work for 5 years on a farm so she'd grow up to understand that she's not the center of the universe."

That was an absolutely brilliant post, I couldn't agree more with it. It's nice to know I'm not the only one noticing this

SFG said...

Probably, it was a Machiavellian woman invented feminism to sidetrack her less savvy competitors.

Ridiculous. Most major feminists were pretty ugly. Where the female-competition theory is valid (I actually think it was a combo of lesbian separatism and an attempt by women with more masculine personality traits to assume more masculine roles that fit better with their personalities), I see it as more of an attempt by ugly smart girls to decrease the advantage accruing to their stupid pretty cousins due to their looks, and thus this ridiculous idea that men should be attracted to women for their brains.

There's only one type of man who likes smart women...and, well, honey, I hope you like Star Trek. ;)

Glaivester said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glaivester said...

There's only one type of man who likes smart women...and, well, honey, I hope you like Star Trek. ;)

Or that you don't particulkarly like Star Trek but love Babylon 5. Or Krull. Or Forever Knight. Or Spider-Girl.

Joey said...

My advice for the single girl is twofold.

i)Try not to fart audibly in a man's presence. Most disconcerting.

ii) Art triumphs over life. What flesh and blood man could compare with John Thornton?

Anonymous said...

Note from the field. Ok, now I've tried out the "pants theory" and I believe it's a winner. There is unusual variety of women's pants in every pants category (much more variety than I ever took in before) and the theory that dull pants make a dull girl appears plausible. This is a valuable indicator (such as jowly jowls and bright eyes make a gay man--hello, Jay Leno), because it's unobvious but telling. A woman's total presentation may be ok, but (for dull pants women) the pants evaluation kindles the beginning of a theory that she may be a bore, a theory that begins to look more plausible as you more carefully inspect her behavior and presentation. Pants seem to be much better than tops as an indicator. In my recent travels, a professional type with striped dress pants and a college type with stylish drawstring sweatpants registered as "probably interesting". The pants theory also allows for a quick screening of multiple women, if you're the singles bar sort.

Anonymous said...

My best advice for young women who are looking toward marriage would be not to waste too much time. Most women rapidly start loosing their looks in their late twenties, so they should seriously start looking for a husband in their early twenties.
Extend the partying for to long and your market value will drop dramatically, in only 5 years.

SFG said...

Or that you don't particulkarly like Star Trek but love Babylon 5. Or Krull. Or Forever Knight. Or Spider-Girl.

Oh, Star Trek's just the most well-known. But I think you understand the principle. ;)

Jeff said...

Smart women are fine with me. But they have to look good also.

I wasn't alive 40 years ago, but anyone can see that young white American women are probably the most selfish, spoiled people on Earth.

Adrian said...

Steve, considering the likely demographics of your readership, wouldn't some advice for single men have been more worthwhile?

SFG said...

Smart women are fine with me. But they have to look good also.
Oh. You must be a man. ;)

I wasn't alive 40 years ago, but anyone can see that young white American women are probably the most selfish, spoiled people on Earth.
Young white American men are pretty spoiled too, but we're not trying to go out with them.

spect8or said...

The best advice is to simply get into shape.

Going to a sexy figure from a fat figure improves one's attractiveness about, oh, 1,326 times more than switching from no-name lipstick to Revlon.

Also, keep your hair long. I am yet to come across a female who improved her appearance by going short. In all known cases it has been an unmitigated failure. I can understand the pressures to look good might force one to tinker, and what easier way is there to tinker than lopping of some length in the hope of looking like that cover-girl with the short hair? But it doesn't work -- the cover-girl was sexy well before going short (and, of course, looked better longer).

As for personality, don't worry about being too worldly. A real man isn't particularly interested in your opinions on Latin American politics or whatever. In any case, admit it, you too prefer such a man: you think far less of a man that sits there and listens to you babbling on about whatever random thoughts cross your mind -- however interesting they may be -- than a man who'd just as soon tell you what to think.

Personality for a woman should be about supporting her man, and increasing his sense of male worthiness. The importance of an "interesting personality" arises only with respect to it helping you come up with creative ways of expressing how beguiled and fascinated you are by his manly charms, how his being with you compliments and completes your earthly experience as a woman. Master this and you'll have a mate for life. You need not worry, he has his male friends whenever the need to discuss matters of worldly importance arises.

Anonymous said...

"Steve, considering the likely demographics of your readership, wouldn't some advice for single men have been more worthwhile?"

No, because then we might stop reading.

Darcey said...

Love to buy my dresses from Blair store...

Karen_TA said...

Interesting, but somewhat shallow and trite comments from a "typical" male perspective. There's nothing really original here! Shoes, nails... Can we be serious?

If you want better advice, single women (and maybe men, too) should watch Olivia's love workshop:
www.youtube.com/user/cosmiclovetv

Anonymous said...

Someone above said that women is in best shape in hers twenties...It's a rubbish... I know women on my ange ->>36 and more that look alike 20 years old and 20 years old looking like 40 years old... There is no general formula... everyone is by herself and she have to find her own formula for everything....

blah said...

wow, SFG and spect8or are so single, and for good reason.