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Chase Amante's picture


Good questions.

Yes, more or less what Neal said on beauty. The rating you get for a girl when you average all the ratings of everyone in society for that girl out is what I'm referring to as "true" beauty.

i.e., any given girl - no matter how beautiful you or anyone else may think she is - has some guys who think she's gorgeous, some who think she's okay, and some who do not like her look at all. She will form her own internal impression of what her beauty is by averaging out the responses she receives from different men. If most guys think she's gorgeous or okay, she'll think she's somewhere up there. If most guys treat her like she isn't that cute, she'll start to devalue her looks.

(this gets weirder if you travel a lot - a girl who's considered incredibly beautiful in, say, Japanese culture may be only plain to a Frenchman, while a Japanese girl considered beautiful by most Frenchmen will be plain or just cute to most Japanese. And vice versa. So you get these upside-down situations where the most beautiful girls to you in a given country are available at below what their market value would be in your country, because although Girl A would outrank Girl B in beauty in your country, in her country Girl A is below Girl B in beauty, and her own internal ranking is based on what she's experienced in her environment, so she ranks herself below Girl B too)

Re: benefits of going 'undercover' as a beauty... it might sound funny, but the flashiest girls get the flashiest guys. These are guys who've packed on lots of muscle, spend most of their disposable income leasing flashy cars and renting expensive apartments in choice locations, and are extremely status-focused. Those things are attractive, but primarily from a short-term mating perspective. For women, as beauty goes up, interest in short-term mating goes down... and for more beautiful women (with exceptions for high sex drive beauties, who do not follow this rule), they look primarily for men who will be stable long-term mates. If they start dressing flashy, the noise-to-signal ratio gets insane; then every guy who thinks he's flashy enough to have a chance with her hits on her, all the over-bold low quality guys hit on her, while the high quality guys who are in the market for something long-term tend to stay away.

Thus, by covering up, she filters men much more effectively, keeping out the flashy guys and the riffraff. Beautiful girls usually put themselves in position to meet high quality men through social circle, where they don't need to advertise much. While Jack and Joe might've been dazzled by the flashy girls' appearances the first few weeks in class or at work, after it's a few weeks in they realize the beautiful girl is actually far more attractive and is not attention whoring nearly as much. Guys who are long-term interested tend to get a lot more intrigued in these sorts of girls at that point. And the girl by this point has had ample time to evaluate these men, and figure out which ones are worth sending a few signals to, too.

3. Why would women keep themselves attractive at all? Basic reproductive success is guaranteed for women, so why bother? In other animals, females are rather dull compared to males. Examples: peafowls, sage grouse, lions etc.

Difficult question to answer. It's essentially an evolutionary psychology question... which means I could probably come up with a hundred different possible reasons and make them all sound believable. But there'd be no empirical way to test them.

The likeliest explanation is a difference in mating behavior between these species. Mating is much more time intensive for humans than it is for most animals. The mating displays men use are predominantly social, too (social dominance, humor, playfulness, physical dominance [over others], etc.). Women are comparatively much more drab in the social arena - they don't work to display much dominance, humor, playfulness, etc. Their displays are primarily about encouraging or discouraging males from courting (or continuing to) court them.

If I had to guess, female advertising is an adaptation to the semi-monogamous mating habits of humans. Peahens do use some color, for instance, and will compete with each other for a dominant male. Peahens will sometimes mate with dominant males repeatedly to prevent other females from being able to mate with them (sound like humans at all?). Most women report that they do not dress up for men, but for other women - they want to outclass their female competitors. While female dress is eye-catching to men, it also serves the function of beating out the competition (and securing the dominant male).

Lions are actually quite drab among both males and females. African lions have manes on their males, but this is mostly for intimidating other males; it has nothing to do with females, so far as I'm aware. Once a lion gets control of a pride, he mates with all the females; and the females must mate with whatever lion rules their pride. So neither sex puts much effort into visual displays. (not sure how it works with American lions... which do not have manes and, as I understand it, do not have polygynous prides, either)

The fact that not all women dress up equally also suggests it is a competition thing. A beautiful woman who doesn't bother to wear low-cut dresses or layers of makeup, and in fact avoids such things, is declaring that she doesn't need them to compete - or even that she doesn't want the mates such things would bring her. Meanwhile, the woman who uses these things is relying on them to make her a better competitor, and actively seeks out what they get for her.