Thursday, September 03, 2009

Perfect pulchritudinous competition 

I've enjoyed the discussion between Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen on beautiful women. Tyler writes that one should apply location theory:

Pick then a city of your choice in a country of your choice. Ask where, in that city, can the beautiful women be found. Will you find them in the most globalized parts of the chosen city? Probably so. Will the least globalized parts of the city have less attractive women or perhaps even the least attractive women?

I also believe, in accord with my previous hypothesis, that you'll find the most beautiful women in the parts of the city where different income classes mix and there is lots of inequality among passersby. That's in a museum, or in the Village, not in a Tiffany store or even in most of the upper East Side.

This competition is everywhere. When I lived in Ukraine in the mid-90s, there was an area which contained most of the bars that Westerners, particularly men, would hang out. This place had most of the attractive women. Some, of course, um, provided fee-based services. But the more common female was one searching for a mate. They were quite aggressive, much like the Lebanese story Tyler tells from a couple years ago. Many Western males ended up ensnared in trysts that lead to demands that they dump their wives back home and bring these Olgas and Natashas back with them. The success rate of these women with married men was surprising and depressing.

In his interview with Russ Roberts, Christopher Hitchens noted that Orwell once observed that the most attractive, or most intelligent, or most athletic Indian male could not enter the British club in Burma, but the most attractive woman could get in by marrying a British officer. If location theory is right, there should be some excellent colonial stories that fit.

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