Contemplating the fate of one of my wife's friends from college, it occurs to me that it is yet another case of the incessant desire of humanity to structure the rules of the status game such that they personally rank higher within it.
This friend of my wife's, who has subsequently drifted away, actually has a fair bit going for her.
She's about 2 sigmas in raw intelligence, probably around 90th or so percentile in terms of income/economics/career success, and slightly above average in the homemaker constellation of skills. Unfortunately for her, she's also about 50 pounds higher than her ideal weight, significantly overweight although not morbidly obese.
This means that effectively, she ranks around the 30th to 40th percentile among women her age in terms of the marriage marketplace (since about half of women these days are about as overweight as she is, and she'd actually be very pretty sans 50 pounds or so). In turn, this means that she's largely limited to men who are evaluated by women (primarily on social status) at around the 30th to 40th percentile. The dislocation between what she thinks she ought to be able to get (men comparable to the husbands of her college friends, who are in the 80th to 90th percentile on the same metrics) and what she can actually attract is profoundly jarring. I mean, earning around the 90th percentile or so would raise a man's status, so why not hers, she reasons. I'm about 98th percentile in brains, why can't I get a 98th percentile man in terms of status? But the marketplace doesn't work that way. There's precisely one way she can improve her prospects, and that is to get much closer to her ideal weight.
The American marriage and sexual marketplaces are really quite perverse when you think about it---all a woman needs to do to get to the 75th percentile or thereabouts is to be almost entirely average looking, but to be close to her ideal weight. 80th to 90th percentile is honestly not out of range for most women, in a twisted Lake Wobegon sort of way, because nearly half of the competition have effectively taken themselves out of the race. Avoid the abject failure of short hair and you're even closer to the mark.
The difference between the men who are available in the 30th-40th percentile of status versus the 80th-90th percentiles ought to be all the motivation you need.
What happened to this friend of my wife's, I can hear you asking? Let's just say it involves multiple cats and 'changing teams'.
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