SATURDAY’S CHILD – Weight a minute!
It used to be said that inside every fat woman there’s a skinny woman screaming to get out. Then, as times changed, the perspective shifted and it became “Inside every fat woman there’s a thin man dying to get in”, especially if the woman is better educated than her peers.
Annie Karnie, writing in the New York Post in an article headlined, Money Trumps Weight, says that Columbia University researcher Pierre-Andre Chiappori has created a mathematical formula to calculate the exact trade-off between billfold and belt size that both men and women make in choosing their partner.
Chiappori found that single people looking to get married rated each other’s eligibility by assessing two traits: physical and socio-economic attractiveness. Both men and women prefer slim, wealthy spouses to poor, fat mates, according to data collected from 667 white American couples by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.
But fatter men and women don’t have to settle for less desirable partners. According to Chiappori’s formula, men compensate for flab with cold, hard cash, while women make up for an extra layer of pudge with an extra year of education.
A hefty woman can make up for her less-than-perfect body by being more educated. If a single woman who is 5-foot-8 and weighs 140 pounds gains seven pounds, she must have one year more of education to remain at the same level of attractiveness to potential suitors.
The option for women is to decide whether it is easier and cheaper to lose seven pounds than to spend an extra year at university. Whatever option women choose, it is expensive and stressful.
Men have it easier. Hot women don’t mind overweight men as long as their wallets are fat.
There is a double whammy for overweight women because the workplace punishes them. New research by University of Florida psychologist Dr Timothy Judge, quoted in the Queensland Sunday Mail, shows that any weight-gain by women has a detrimental effect on earnings.
Judge found that a woman of average weight earned around $760 000 less across a 25-year career than a woman who was ten kilograms below average.
“The results suggest society rewards women who conform to the improbably thin female standard,” Judge said.
Men don’t have to worry. While women earn a lot more during their career if they manage to stay super-thin, for men the opposite is true. A bigger belly leads to a bigger bank balance. A thin man who gradually acquires a few extra kilos is likely to see his salary rise by about $16 000 a year.
The Sunday Mail cites research which has found that the differences were due to the subconscious judgments employers made about men and women according to their shape and size.
“Well-proportioned” men are judged to be friendly, polite, happy, smart and brave. Thin men, on the other hand, are seen as sneaky, sad, weak and sick, while obese men are perceived as dirty, lonely, stupid and lazy. The trick then is for men to be fat but not obese enough to show up on radar or leave footprints on concrete.
Being fat, whether you’re a man or a woman, can be embarrassing. The rather broad lady showed up at the theatre just before the performance started and handed the usher two tickets.
“Where’s the other party?” asked the usher.
“Well,” said the lady, with a blush, “you see, one seat is a little small for me and rather uncomfortable so I bought two. But they’re both really for me.”
“Okay with me, lady,” the usher replied, scratching his head. “There’s just one problem. Your seats are numbers 51 and 63.”
It’s not just women who are literally the butt of jokes. United States President William Howard Taft (1909-1913) weighed over 300 pounds. One of the Supreme Court Justices remarked: “Taft is the politest man in Washington. The other day he gave up his seat in a street-car to three ladies.”
Tony Deyal was last seen saying that his increasing weight is a good sign that while he is a financial underachiever, he is a nutritional overachiever.