Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hot Broads, Sweet Dudes

It’s a common phrase among us dudes, “the chicks at that bar are super-hot.” The claim is that some bars night in and night out host better looking women than others. Now I can think of a lot of reasons why this statement may be deluded, most of them having a lot to do with alcohol consumption, but I’ll let it be true. I have no real way of measuring, and I have experienced similar feelings (which means slightly more than nothing). Let’s grant it’s true and fool around with the implications.

Since we live in a relatively free society, I’ll knock out the possibility that male bouncers filter through the female applicants and systematically turn down the less ocularly pleasant.

OK, so the hot women must collectively choose a bar to patronize for this to work. Let’s take a normal population with a normal distribution of lookers compared to not-so-lookers. Given this population of female nightlife-seekers, more good looking girls choose a particular bar over another. Therefore, by implication a pretty woman must share similar preferences with other pretty women but these preferences must be distinct to the preferences of the ugly, at least on average. We need these different and distinct preferences to get this result.

So how do you as a bar owner go about attracting pretty women? Easy, you say. Make the place look really nice. Offer drink specials on martinis. Make it swanky, sexy, and trendy. Make it clean. Make it give off an aura of luxury. OK, sounds good. But wait, won’t this attract all women? what makes these things attract only good looking women?

Ah hah, I’ve got it. These are all nice things, but what hot women really want is men. Not just any man but a rich man, and maybe he’ll look ok and talk alright too. But in order to attract men, what do you signal or advertise? I would assume men don’t much care what the place looks like as long as the hot women are present. So the bar can go right ahead and mainly signal towards women’s desire with minimal consideration of men’s preferences (except the one preference).

Back to the rich part though. I’m not going to get into debate about what women value on average the most in men. I’ll just say it’s tough to screen men for anything other than wealth. And although wealth may not be the most important quality of a man, I’d make the safe bet that women on average would prefer a man with wealth over a man without it if all of their other qualities were exactly the same. So a bar can screen for rich men. How? Why charge high prices of course. Seems like a strange business model and certainly one with offsetting incentives at some point, but it certainly may help in weeding out the poor. After you charge high prices, put luxury items all over the place so the wealthy look more wealthy, and there you’ve got it—a room full of rich men. And what good is a room full of rich men with a normal distribution of looks, wit, charm? Well, it’s better than a room full of poor men with a normal distribution of wit, looks, and charm.

But wait a second; won’t the less than hot women prefer the room full of rich men better as well? Men don’t necessarily want rich women (not a bad thing), they want HOT women, especially when alcohol is involved. And since we can't restrict the supply, we’re back to square one.

Unless we delve into psychology and its games. Consider an ugly woman’s perspective. Let’s say that an ugly woman knows she’s ugly. She says to herself: “Men like hot women, women like rich men, therefore, many women will want to go the rich man’s bar. Men know that women like rich men. A rich man knows he’s rich, therefore, he will demand a better looking woman than had he not been rich. With these higher expectations, I [an ugly woman] will have less of chance of finding a mate at the rich man’s bar.” Or at least she’ll have to work a lot harder to showcase her other talents. You see it’s though this pyschologic process of circular expectations that an ugly woman may view her chances less favorably at the rich man’s bar.

[Tangent: If there weren't these cirular pychological expectations the first, say, 100 would get in the rich man's bar. The ability to show up early doesn't screen the population so a normal distribution exists. The ugly woman would have the same chances as she does in a normal population plus richer men to choose from so wouldn't be particularly disuaded from entering (they have no expectation that rich men have higher standards). So if these circular expectations are untrue or don't influence behavior much, this model breaks down quickly]

She also knows that poor men like hot women as well, but they have less to choose from (hot women know they’re hot so more go to the rich man’s bar due to higher expectations of success) so her relative status will be higher at the poor man’s bar. So if the ugly woman has a 10% chance of hooking it at the rich man’s bar and a 50% chance at the poor man’s bar, she’ll make her decision based on how much she values that differential between the two types of men. So within this framework, we could conceivably get a result where some bars have better looking women, on average, than others.

So do the swankier, more expensive bars have hotter women? I don’t know, all I can say is “maybe, probably” based on experience. This simple analysis opens up a wild world of signals and countersignals.

Example, ok I’m a rich man. I know that these swanky bars are going to have hotter women. But these women are going to expect me to be rich. I may be rich, but I don’t like that expectation. I want them to like me for my charm, wit and looks, not my money. And I especially don’t want them to expect me to buy them something expensive every other minute. So even though I’m rich I’ll go to the poor man’s bar and seek out the few good looking women there.

Or another. Ok I’m poor. I know the hot women like the rich guys, but I like hot women. I’m going to the rich man’s bar and living over my means for a night to score with a hot woman (and go back to her place of course, cause I live out in the suburbs). But women have heard about these “fakers.” So in the end if you play this game you are caught in and endless dance of signals and countersignals.

Fuck it, I quit. I’m not playing this stupid game [some crowd will say]. I’m above these petty signals. And here’s where you get your freaks in varying degrees. People seeking to send signals that they don’t send signals. They go to weird bars (and there’s a whole continuum of weirdness). Or maybe just dirty bars, dives. We of the dive bars don’t play games. Except we all play the game to see who can play the least games.

So are there hot-chick-bars? Maybe, but if you go, don’t look at your credit card statement in the morning.

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