One of the TV shows I’m addicted to is “Marriage At First Sight”. It’s a reality show following the life of 3 newly married couples as they journey through their wedding day, honeymoon & the subsequent merging of their lives. But what makes this show so different is that the husbands & the wives have never met before. That’s right – the first time they met each other was on their wedding day, at the altar!
The reason I like this show is because it represents marriage at its core. Originally, marriage had nothing to do with love. And I believe that even to this day, marriage should be more about compatibility than love/lust. Unfortunately, many people marry today for the wrong reasons, including love, when that’s not what always holds a marriage together. That can come & go and the mere feeling of love can fade. But when you allow the professionals to be in charge of your love life & make emotional decisions on a more objective basis, things can actually work out better that way!
I normally don’t write about television shows but I thought this experiment was so unique I just had to share my thoughts on each of the couples:
Jaclyn & Ryan R. – Jaclyn wasn’t initially attracted to her new husband when they first met. She thought he was pretty goofy, and although he is a little more laid back than she is, they slowly got to know one another over their honeymoon period. They live pretty far apart from each other but once they got a home together and “real life” started to settle in, Jaclyn became more attracted to Ryan (it also helped that they finally consummated the relationship). Their biggest problem is that Ryan is a “momma’s boy” and is getting very homesick even though he’s only been married about a month. You see, Ryan previously lived with his mother & young niece and has never really lived away from them before. Now that he’s married (which is what he wanted by signing up for this show), he’s having second thoughts. I really can’t blame Jaclyn for being turned off by a man who is missing his mommy. Perhaps at age 29, Ryan was just too young to get married.
Jessica & Ryan D. – Jessica and Ryan probably have the most chemistry; they certainly wasted no time in consummating their union! They are, however, the youngest couple and don’t seem to be communicating all that well. Jessica doesn’t speak up for herself at all & Ryan has got a temper, a bad temper. Even during their arguments he has been totally disrespectful. Although the attraction is there, they seem to lack a solid foundation or even the desire to work together. Jessica also seems to cry over everything and seems really naïve to me. Ryan has some ‘outdated’ sense of what marriage is because he is always referencing the marriage of his deceased grandparent’s. He doesn’t seem to understand that what worked for two people raised in the 1920’s & 30’s won’t necessarily work in a marriage between two people raised in the 1980’s & 1990’s. I’m not so sure that this couple will end up staying together.
Davina & Sean – These 2 are the most mature couples on the show. Their relationship appears to be developing at a normal pace with minimal issues. Davina, however, pouts quite a bit and seems to only be concerned with her own feelings, and not her husband’s. Sean moved from New Jersey to Manhattan to be with her and has had issues adjusting. Instead of being there for him & understanding his apprehension, she nags him for not trying to adjust to New York faster. C’mon Davina!! Not to mention, they have yet to consummate their marriage, which I’m sure is adding to Sean’s stress. Sean is a good man (and a cute White boy too!) and I think if Davina doesn’t start appreciating him, he’ll leave her.
You may be wondering why marry someone you don’t know? Well, what makes this show so great is that each of the couples were ‘assigned’ to be married by professional counselors. There is relationship expert/Sociologist – Dr. Pepper Schwartz, clinical psychologist – Dr. Joseph Cilona, sexologist – Dr. Logan Levkoff and Chaplain Greg Epstein. These four experts paired six people together based on their likely compatibility. They were all interviewed, went through a thorough background check and even survived home visits from the experts. Although thousands of people auditioned for this show there were only 3 men & 3 women that stood out as most compatible. Religious beliefs, finances and family backgrounds were all taken into consideration. After weeks of interviewing, the individuals were brought to the altar for legally binding holy matrimony, where they met for the very first time. They have 6 weeks to figure out whether or not they want to stay together forever or get a divorce. It’s a very interesting “experiment” to say the least.
Do you watch this show? What do you think of the concept? Would you allow someone to set you up for a “blind marriage”? Please share in the comments section below –
Do you find yourself looking back at a string of failed dates and short-lived relationships during 2014? Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your dating behavior. Oftentimes, clinging to bad habits is what holds us back from the things we desire most. Stop engaging in self-sabotage and rejuvenate your love life by ditching these six dating habits in 2015.
The Waiting Game
It’s a classic conundrum: How much time should you wait to reach out to that girl after you got her number? One day, two days, three days? The truth is that there are no rules when it comes to contacting the person you’re interested in. Playing the waiting game is so 2014. Why wait? That attractive stranger might not stick around for you to send him or her a text. If you saw sparks, you probably weren’t the only one. So don’t lose out on that chemistry by acting overly nonchalant.
The Eager Beaver
You finally get a call from that special someone and the two of you go out on that long-awaited date. Everything goes well, and you’re jumping at the chance to hang out again, but don’t accept that invitation too soon. Pump the brakes a little, we understand that it’s easy to get swept up in someone new. Be careful not to make yourself appear too available and run the risk of looking desperate. A little mystery goes a long way. While we’re not advising you to play hard to get, guys do love a little challenge, and appearing too eager can smother his interest. Whet his appetite and keep him coming back for more.
To Thine Own Self Be True
Dating is all about getting to know someone and sharing in each other’s passions. While it’s great to experience new things, don’t be too quick to toss out your interests to please the person you’re dating. Canceling on salsa night with your girls to attend his baseball practice is a slippery slope to isolation. Giving up the things you love may cause bitterness towards your significant other in the long run. Take time for yourself and your friends and be careful not to lose your sense of “self” in a new relationship.
Relying on Telepathy
Last time we checked, the secret to telepathy had not yet been discovered. Don’t rely on mind games or constantly keep your partner guessing. The surest way to let someone know how you feel is by using your words. Communication is key in any relationship, and discussing what feels wrong will definitely serve your interests better than punishing someone with the silent treatment.
While it’s always healthy to express yourself, refrain from bringing up sins of the past in the midst of every argument. If past slights have been forgiven, they should be forgotten as well. We’ve all made our share of mistakes and no one likes to be forced to relive theirs.
Quitting Too Soon
Many people ruin their chances of maintaining a good relationship by breaking things off at the first sign of trouble. Once problems start to surface, it’s easy to panic and take each difficulty as a sign that things “are not meant to be.” Exercising caution is vital; however, it is also important to remember that dating is all about taking chances with new experiences. Being intimate with someone means you voluntarily expose yourself to possibly getting hurt. To quell the panic, remember that you are on this journey together and your significant other is also making him or herself vulnerable to you. While no one deserves unlimited second chances, you’re not doing yourself any favors by checking out too soon.
Leave these dating habits behind in 2014 for a chance to refresh your dating life. You could be well on your way to a happy, healthy relationship in the upcoming year.
Which of these bad dating habits are you guilty of?
*Originally published on What’s Your Price.
Almost a decade ago, the writer Linda Hirshman exhorted ambitious women to marry men with less money or social capital than they had. In articles and her book, Get to Work, she told women that they should avoid ever taking on more than half of the housework or child care. How to do it? Either marry a man who is extremely committed to equality, or do what she says is the easier route and “marry down.” Hirshman explained in the American Prospect that such a choice is not “brutally strategic,” it’s just smart. “If you are devoted to your career goals and would like a man who will support that, you’re just doing what men throughout the ages have done: placing a safe bet.”
This was a highly controversial piece of advice at the time, but Hirshman might have been right. A new study of Harvard Business School graduates from HBS’s Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone shows that high-achieving women are not meeting the career goals they set for themselves in their 20s. It’s not because they’re “opting out” of the workforce when they have kids, but because they’re allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own.
The study’s authors interviewed 25,000 men and women who graduated from Harvard Business School over the past several decades. The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers. But why? It’s not because women are leaving the workforce en masse. The authors found, definitively, that the “opt-out” explanation is a myth. Among Gen X and baby boomers they surveyed, only 11 percent of women left the workforce to be full-time moms. That figure is lower for women of color—only 7 percent stopped working. The vast majority (74 percent) of Gen Xers, women who are currently 32-48 and in the prime of their child-rearing years, work full time, an average of 52 hours a week.
But while these women are still working, they are also making more unexpected sacrifices than their male classmates are. When they graduated, more than half of male HBS grads said they expected their careers would take precedence over their partners’. Only 7 percent of Gen X women and 3 percent of baby boomer women said they expected their careers to take precedence. Here’s what they did expect: The majority of women said they assumed they would have egalitarian marriages in which both spouses’ careers were taken equally seriously.
A lot of those women were wrong. About 40 percent of Gen X and boomer women said their spouses’ careers took priority over theirs, while only about 20 percent of them had planned on their careers taking a back seat. Compare that with the men: More than 70 percent of Gen X and boomer men say their careers are more important than their wives’. When you look at child care responsibilities, the numbers are starker. A full 86 percent of Gen X and boomer men said their wives take primary responsibility for child care, and the women agree: 65 percent of Gen X women and 72 percent of boomer women—all HBS grads, most of whom work—say they’re the ones who do most of the child care in their relationships.
Of course, marital arrangements aren’t the only force holding women back. Part of the reason these women aren’t advancing at the same rate as their male counterparts is that after they have kids, they get “mommy-tracked.” In many ways, they’re not considered management candidates anymore. “They may have been stigmatized for taking advantage of flex options or reduced schedules, passed over for high-profile assignments, or removed from projects they once led,” the authors note. Other studies support these findings, as they have shown that there is a real, substantial motherhood penalty that involves lower pay and fewer promotions for women with kids, because employers assume they will be less dedicated to their jobs (as do, we now know, their husbands).
But the personal piece of the female achievement gap puzzle is important, and it’s something that’s very difficult to shift. The study’s authors note that while millennial HBS grads are a little more egalitarian than their older peers, half of the youngest men still assume that their careers will take precedence, and two-thirds of them assume their spouses will do the majority of child care.
Based on these numbers, Hirshman suddenly seems prescient. Take a look at the current crop of female CEOs: A lot of them have husbands who don’t work. Xerox CEO Ursula Burns took a page out of Hirshman’s book and joked at a 2013 conference, “The secret [to success] is to marry someone 20 years older.” Her husband retired as she was hitting her career stride, allowing him to take primary responsibility for their kids. If becoming a CEO and having a family is what you desire, you might want to take that advice.
*Article originally published on Slate.
In case you haven’t heard, Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s little sister) just got married last weekend in New Orleans. Her new husband (she has been married before) is Alan Ferguson, an award-winning music video director. They’ve been spotted publicly since 2008 and seem to have a lot in common. They look like a lovely couple but the worst part of it all is that she is in her 20’s and he is in his 50’s. He is 23 years older than she is.
Solange, sweetie what were you thinking?! Why on earth would you marry someone who is old enough to be your dad and is only slightly younger than your own mother?! You are in the prime of your life & have so much growing to do. Although you are more mature than most, you are still young yet & don’t know what you don’t know. Yes, you have been married before. Yes, you are someone’s mother. And yes, you have seen the world & are a self-made woman. But none of this has prepared you to be the wife of 51-year old.
You are still coming into your own & still figuring out what this thing called life is really about. Someone in their 50’s has done & seen it all. Even if you did initiate the courtship when you first met and even if you are in love with this man now, what kind of future will you have together? Why would you choose to be with someone who has such a vastly different outlook on life, one that can only come with age & experience – both of which you have not. You have so much growing to do, Solange.
Let’s not forget that you have a 10-year old son. You are essentially subjecting him to someone who is old enough to be his grandfather. Will you have other children? Do you anticipate raising another child (or children) and taking care of your husband as he ages in another 10-20 years? Why subject you and your children to dealing with all of that when you are such a young lady yourself? How will this impact them? Marrying an older man is one thing, but marrying a much older man is another.
One has to wonder what a 51 year-old man has in common with a 28-year old woman. Do you enjoy each other’s company? Definitely. Do you have the same taste in music? Sure. Do you share political views? Probably. But how can he share the same goals or the same vision for a family when he has already outlived more than half of his life and you are just beginning yours? Because of your age difference, you should be in two totally different places in life.
I think it’s great that you’ve found love. But are you sure it’s love? Are you sure it’s not merely adoration or admiration for someone so much older, accomplished and esteemed? Are you sure he’s not with you for your youthful spirit, your confidence or your beauty and not for a long-term future?
Solange, congratulations on your nuptials. I hope that your marriage is as solid as the faith you put into it.
Eloping at city hall may seem like a sign of love so true and everlasting that there’s no need to muddle it with elaborate wedding plans, but new research points to another finding: that having a formal wedding — the larger the better — may lead to a happier marriage down the road.
“We know from social psychology research that people like to be consistent, so making a public declaration of commitment may help people follow through on their commitments,” Galena K. Rhoades, co-author of the study, released by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told Yahoo Health in an email. “This finding may also reflect that couples who have stronger communities and greater social support tend to do better,” she said.
The study, co-authored by Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, both University of Denver research associate professors of psychology, was based on new data from the Relationship Development Study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They looked closely at 418 new marriages, analyzing the history of the relationships, prior romantic experiences, and the reported quality of the couples’ marriages.
“Most of the individuals who married over the course of our study, 89 percent in all, reported having had a formal wedding. Those who did reported higher marital quality than those who did not,” the researchers wrote.
In the study, having more guests at a wedding was associated with higher marital quality. To illustrate this association, researchers created groups of those who had weddings with 50 or fewer, 51 to 149, or 150 or more guests. Of those with 50 or fewer attendees, 31 percent had particularly high marital satisfaction; those percentages rose to 37 percent in the 51-to-149 attendees category, and 47 percent for those who had had 150 or more people at their wedding.
“Small or large, wedding ceremonies also reflect and enhance the community context of marriages. Weddings, after all, are public celebrations involving family, close friends, and often a wider network of people around a couple,” they added. “Emile Durkheim, the celebrated sociologist, is famous for arguing that community, and the rituals associated with collective life, give meaning, purpose, and stability to social life. The association between having a wedding and having a stronger, happier marriage could reflect two dynamics in this context. First, weddings may foster support for the new marriage from within a couple’s network of friends and family. Second, those who hold a formal wedding are likely to have stronger social networks in the first place.”
A formal wedding with many guests was not the only formula for success, though. Among the other findings:
• Those who had had more romantic experiences, such as having had more sexual or cohabiting partners, were less likely to forge a high-quality marriage than those with a less complex romantic history — which might seem counterintuitive. “It is surprising,” Rhoades said. “In most parts of our lives, more experience is better, but here we found the opposite. We think that more relationship experience may give people a greater sense of what the alternatives are, which may make them more likely to compare their marriages to past relationships or experiences. More experience in relationships also means more experience breaking up, and so it might set up a mindset that future relationships are also more fragile.”
• Spouses who had kicked off their relationship by “hooking up,” reported slightly less marital satisfaction than those who had waited a while before having sex — something that jibes with other past research, such as a 2012 study that found that women who waited a whopping 182 days before having sex with their partner reported better intimacy and social support in their relationships.
• Couples that “slid” into living together rather than talking it out and making a conscious, definitive decision about cohabiting had slightly lower marital quality later on.
But all is not lost, Stanley noted, if you’ve already set up your present marriage to be seemingly less successful than it could have been — at least according to these findings. “No one is doomed because of their past,” he told Yahoo Health. “Anyone can start going a bit slower, and start making decisions about important aspects of relationships — especially important relationship transitions — and improve their odds of making an existing relationship better, or finding the best partner for themselves in the future.”
(Photo by Giphy.com)
*Article was originally posted on Yahoo.
Not so many years ago, married men had the freedom to live by one set of rules away from home, and a different set at the hearth. Because they held the power to distribute resources however they wished, they could decide what and when to share them. As women have become legitimate wage earners with more powerful voices, they have challenged their chosen partners to participate in a whole new kind of connection that does not accept automatic hierarchy.
In the last few decades women have slowly driven their point home. The millennial men, who are their current counterparts, are freer thinkers and they have responded in kind in their relationships as well. These men like their women strong and feisty, and have willingly accepted the responsibility to connect in a more vulnerable way. They get it that it’s sexy to help make a meal or take the kids away on a Sunday morning so their wives can sleep in. They are the androgynous guys that their women have asked them to become.
You would think that the women in these new relationships would be ecstatic. They’ve got a guy who wants to work out together, share parenting, support their parallel dreams, and make their family collective central to both of their lives. They’ve established an equal relationship of coordinated teamwork, and the guys don’t seem to miss their old need to posture for power over intimate connections.
Well, guess again. Fifty percent of marriages are still ending in divorce, and women continue to be the gender that initiates those endings. In the past, their reasons for leaving most often had to do with infidelity, neglect, or abuse. Now they’re dumping men who are faithful, attentive, and respectful, the very men they said they have always wanted. Why would women who have accomplished the female dream suddenly not be satisfied with it? Why are they leaving these ideal guys, and for what reasons?
I am currently dealing with several of these great husbands. They are, across the board, respectful, quality, caring, devoted, cherishing, authentic, and supportive guys whose wives have left them for a different kind of man. These once-beloved men make a living, love their kids, help with chores, support aging parents, and support their mate’s desires and interests. They believe they’ve done everything right. They are devastated, confused, disoriented, and heartsick. In a tragic way, they startlingly resemble the disheartened women of the past who were left behind by men who “just wanted something new.”
You may think that these women are ruthless and inconsiderate. Those I know are far from that. More often, they still love their husbands as much as they ever did, but in a different way. They tell me how wonderful their men are and how much they respect them. They just don’t want to be married to them anymore.
Perhaps it would be even more honest to say that they don’t want to be yoked to anyone any more. At least in the traditional ways they once embraced as ideal. They feel compassion for their prior mates, but liberated in their new-found right to create a different way of feeling in relationships. In short, they want to live their lives with the privileges men once had.
I think I understand what is going on.
In the last twenty years, as women have found their voices and value, they have been asking more equality in their relationships. They were ready to take leadership and to disconnect from dependency. In exchange, they wanted their men to adopt nurturing and vulnerable characteristics. At first, there was an expected backlash. “Men are from Mars” and other media presentations became the cry for holding on to the differences between men and women and to keep them from blending.
Nevertheless, it became more and more apparent that quality people of both genders would be happier and more fulfilled if they could combine power and nurturing. Men would develop their feminine side and women their masculine. No longer would it be that the bad boys were sexy and the good women were virtuous. Now quality men needed to add chivalry to their power, and women to claim their ability for independent thinking and leadership. They could imagine a relationship where both were equally blended and free to be the best they could be. “She” and “he” became the new idealized “we.”
As the trend picked up energy, more of the die-hard “men’s men” started to see that the androgynous males were stealing the great girls from under their hard-core posturing, and began to wonder if their “take-no-prisoners” attitude might benefit from a little revising. Women saw their newly developed mates as their best friends, so wonderfully malleable they could take them anywhere and know they would fit in. Men no longer had to “understand and handle” their women, nor did women have to orchestrate “connection.”
Then things started to go awry. Perhaps these androgynous couples over-valued adopting the same behaviors in their relationship. Maybe the men got too nice and the women a little too challenging. Oddly, the androgynous men seemed to like their new-found emotional availability, while the women began to feel more unfulfilled. Her “perfect” partner, in the process of reclaiming his full emotional expressiveness, somehow ended up paying an unfair price; he was no longer able to command the hierarchical respect from her that was once his inalienable right.
How can a man be a caretaker and a warrior at the same time? How can he serve his woman’s need for a partner who is vulnerable, open, and intimate, while donning armor to fight the dangers that threaten his family and place in the world? How can he stand up and be a man amongst men, loyal to the hunting band that covers his back, while taking the night feeding, while not appearing less than a man? Did he blend his male energy with his female side, or did he learn to be more like a female at the price of his innate masculinity?
The women I have treated who have left their husbands for more “masculine” men believed that their new relationships would be able to both excite and nurture them. Sadly, that has not always happened. The veritable saint with balls is as elusive as ever.
When things haven’t worked out as they thought they would, several of the women I am now working with are re-thinking their decisions, wondering if they left too soon, or for the wrong reasons. They want to reconcile with the men they have left behind. Their husbands are torn between the understandable desire to reject them and still wanting them back. Ironically, because these have nurtured the feminine side of their natures, they are also able to forgive in a way few men have been able to do in the past.
But because they have no interest in returning to the “bad boy” mentality their competitors brandished, they are faced with a challenge most men have never had to confront. How do they hold on to their vulnerability and capacity to nurture, and blend it with the strength and power required of a self-respecting leader of men?
None of my reuniting couples ever want to lose each other again. They’ve left the old ways behind and know that going back to what was will not work anymore. They intensely want to create a new kind of connection that blends the beauty of traditional roles with the freedom to move between them, and to blend the best of the past with an as-yet-unwritten future.
It must be a parallel path. Both men and women must separately find their own balance between their need for independence and their desire for ongoing commitment. As integrated individuals in their own right, they would then have the capacity to create a relationship that is more than the exchange or sum of the parts. Committed partners who are willing to fight for that innovative solution will find the way.
*Article originally published on the Huffington Post.
In one illustrious study of love (“human sexual selection”) in 1986, psychologists David Buss and Michael Barnes asked people to rank 76 characteristics: What do you value most in a potential mate?
The winner wasn’t beauty, and it wasn’t wealth. Number one was “kind and understanding,” followed by “exciting personality” and then “intelligent.” Men did say they valued appearances more highly than women did, and women said they valued “good earning capacity” more highly than men did—but neither ranked measures of physical attractiveness or socioeconomic status among their top considerations.
People, though, are liars. Experiments that don’t rely on self-reporting regularly show that physical attractiveness is exquisitely, at times incomparably, important to both men and women. Status (however you want to measure it: income, formal education, et cetera) is often not far behind. In real-life dating studies, which get closer to genuine intentions, physical attractiveness and earning potential strongly predict romantic attraction.
While people tend to prefer people similar to themselves in terms of traits like religiousness or thriftiness, when it comes to beauty and income, more is almost always seen as better. On these “consensually-ranked” traits, people seem to aspire to partners who rank more highly than themselves. They don’t want a match so much as a jackpot.
The stereotypical example of that is known in sociology as a “beauty-status exchange”—an attractive person marries a wealthy or otherwise powerful person, and both win. It’s the classic story of an elderly polymath-billionaire who has sustained damning burns to the face who marries a swimsuit model who can’t find Paris on a map but really wants to go there, because it’s romantic.
All you need is money or power, the notion goes, and beautiful lovers present themselves to you for the taking.
When Homer Simpson once came into a 500-pound surfeit of sugar, his id instinct was to turn it into fortune and sexual prosperity. “In America,” he said—half dreaming after a night spent guarding the mound in his backyard—”First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.” That’s an homage to Scarface (in the movie the quote was “money” instead of “sugar”), and it’s where both Simpson and Tony Montana went emphatically astray.
University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock has done exhaustive research on the idea of people exchanging traits. Her work waspublished last month in American Sociological Review, looking at data from 1,507 couples in various stages of relationships, including dating, cohabiting, and married. “Beauty-status exchange accords with the popular conception of romantic partner selection as a competitive market process,” McClintock wrote, “a conception widely accepted in both popular culture and academia.” She referred specifically to the gendered version, “in which an economically successful man partners with a beautiful ‘trophy wife,'” as commonplace.
But McClintock found that outside of ailing tycoons and Donald Trump, in the practical world it basically doesn’t exist. Where it does, it doesn’t last. The dominant force in mating is matching.
What appears to be an exchange of beauty for socioeconomic status is often actually not an exchange, McClintock wrote, but a series of matched virtues. Economically successful women partner with economically successful men, and physically attractive women partner with physically attractive men.
“Sometimes you hear that really nice guys get hot girls,” McClintock told me, “[but] I found that really nice guys get really nice girls. [Being nice] is not really buying you any currency in the attractiveness realm. If the guys are hot, too, then sure, they can get a hot girl.”
Because people of high socioeconomic status are, on average, rated as more physically attractive than people of lower status, many correlations between one partner’s appearance and the other partner’s status are spurious and misconstrued.
“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do,” McClintock said. “That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking. Men are partnering ‘up’ in attractiveness. And men earn more than women—we’ve got that 70-percentwage gap—so women marry ‘up’ in income. You’ve got to take these things into account before concluding that women are trading beauty for money.”
The study concludes that women aren’t really out for men with more wealth than themselves, nor are men looking for women who outshine them in beauty. Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for … compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one’s strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills.
At least partly because physically attractive individuals are treated preferentially by the world at large, they enjoy improved school performance, greater occupational success, and higher earnings. So these variables can be hard to isolate.
“It would be very hard to separate out class and attractiveness,” McClintock said, “because they’re just so fundamentally linked. I can’t control for that—but I don’t see how anybody could.”
Past research has found that both physical attractiveness and education “help a woman achieve upward mobility through marriage (defined as marrying a man of higher occupational status than her father),” McClintock noted in the journal article, “and help her marry a man of high occupational status, in absolute terms.” But these studies regularly excluded any evaluation of the men’s physical attractiveness, and so didn’t address the simple fact that it might just be two attractive people being attracted to one another, probably in attractive clothes in an attractive place, both perpetually well slept. Any “exchange” was an illusion.
McClintock has also found that the pervasive tendency toward rating higher-status people as more attractive seems to perpetuate itself . “Because of that,” she said, “there’s a bias toward seeing women who are married to high-status men—who are themselves high-status—as being more attractive. It creates this self-affirming circle where we never even stop to ask if we perceive the man as good-looking. We just say she’s good-looking, he’s high status—and she’s good-looking in part because the couple is high-status.”
“Assuming that the importance of beauty and status is gendered may cause researchers to overlook men’s attractiveness and women’s socioeconomic resources,” Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University, told New York magazine, praising McClintock’s work. In so doing, scientists misidentify matching as exchange.
“Scientists are humans, too,” Finkel claimed, “and we can be inadvertently blinded by beliefs about how the world works. The studies that only looked at men’s (but not women’s) income and only looked at women’s (but not men’s) attractiveness were problematic in that way, as was the peer review process that allowed flawed papers like that to be published.”
“Controlling for both partners’ physical attractiveness may not eliminate the relationship between female beauty and male status,” McClintock wrote, “but it should at least reduce this relationship substantially.”
Even as its pervasiveness in popular culture is waning, the gendered beauty-status exchange model is harmful in several insidious ways, McClintock said. “It trivializes the importance of women’s careers in a social sense: It’s telling women that what matters is your looks, and your other accomplishments and qualities don’t matter on the partner market. The truth is, people are evaluating women for their looks, and they’re evaluating men for their looks. Women are as shallow as men when it comes to appearance, and they should focus on their own accomplishments. If women want an accomplished guy, that’s going to come with being accomplished.”
So this is just one more place where upward mobility is, it seems, a myth. But in this case, no love is lost. Within the gendered beauty-status exchange model, physical attractiveness “might enable class mobility for women,” yes, McClintock wrote, but not without ensuring the women’s economic dependency on her husband and anachronistically ignoring her valuation of his physical attractiveness.
“It also sets up this idea of marriage being mercenary,” McClintock said, “which doesn’t fit with our usual conception that we kind of like our spouse and we want someone that we get along with. It’s not just this trade of his money for her beauty, and he’s going to dump her as soon as she starts to get some wrinkles around her eyes.”
*Article originally published on The Atlantic.
1) “Because I said so” – It’s just that simple.
2) It’s the courteous thing to do – Men, you already know we need the seat down so unless you wanna piss us off I suggest being courteous by leaving the toilet seat down at all times.
3) It’s Free – It doesn’t cost you anything to put the toilet seat down so just do it. Free always works!
4) It’s much easier for a man to pee with the seat down than it is for a woman to pee with the seat up – This is a fact. A scientific fact.
5) It keeps us from seeing your spilled urine on the back of the seat – A yellow stained toilet seat is never what women want to see when they walk into the bathroom. It’s just plain gross!
6) It means I don’t have to touch the dirty toilet seat – Seeing the yellow pee stains on the back of the toilet seat is one thing, but touching it is another. I don’t have to touch the toilet seat after I use it, so I shouldn’t have to after he does either.
7) It makes the bathroom look better overall – We spend so much more time in there than men do so it’s good to be in a room that’s pleasant to look at while we’re getting ready in the morning.
8) That’s the way you found it – Just like anywhere else, it’s always best to leave things the way you found them. When in doubt put it DOWN!