So-so-looking, trashy girls have more admirers than well-groomed great beauties,

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Much recent work in evolutionary psychology has been dedicated to heritable aspects of aesthetics. The basic theory is perfectly sensible: a good aesthetic sense allows us to choose wholesome food, safe environment, and good sexual partners. Broadly, tests bear the theory out: preferences in peoples, foods and locales are consistent with health and safety. Considered in this light, the Warsaw exhibition of paintings seems an aesthetic perversion: its images are of disease, death and decay. My own reaction to it is perfectly in line with theory; its existence runs smack against it.

But the theory nuanced enough: those knowledgeable in the matter will tell you that so-so-looking, trashy girls have more admirers than well-groomed great beauties, and not because they are more desirable breeding material, or because they seem a safer sexual partners, but because… they are seen as more accessible.  (Which is why abnegation works as a dressing strategy:  look, I can’t help it, my pants just seem to fall off on their own…). Average guys (and there are a lot of them) are realists and do not bother going for (the few) fantastic girls (who, they say, are on a pedestal”, “high and mighty”, etc.) In other words, experimentally isolated aesthetic reports are one thing, actual strategic choices are another. One’s aesthetic inclinations reflect one’s self-perception.

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