It’s fairly well-known that attractive people have a good thing going. Not only are they more appealing to the opposite sex, but studies reveal that they are also more likely to land a job or incur altruism from strangers on the street. In a study by NBC, they put professional models and average Joes into the same situations in order to observe how others reacted to them. In almost every case, the professional models got special treatment – be it a seat on the bus, forgiveness for cutting in line, even more time during a doctor’s appointment!
Most behavioral scientists think our affinity with attractive people is innate. Babies smile more when they see attractive (read: symmetric) faces. Children associate more positive words (“kind,” “trustworthy,” etc.) with lookers than with with ugly ducklings. It is thought that attractiveness is a physical measure of biological fitness and that this is what we are, in essence, responding to.
I make no claims about my own attractiveness (see earlier comments re: sweatpants). I mean, I’m far from ugly, but I don’t necessarily think I’m about to stop buses on the street. But I am a female, and a relatively young-looking one at that. And yesterday, I brought my young-looking female self down to the local mechanic shop to fix a headlight on my car. Sans child, I might add.
The person who waited on me was a young-looking male. He was very friendly and very apologetic that he couldn’t get me in for an appointment. He quoted me a price ($40) and said I could come back first thing the next day. $40 seemed like a reasonable price, so come back the next day is exactly what I did.
However, instead of the young-looking male, I was greeted by a middle aged-looking female. She told me very directly that: 1) My foreign-made car might require a special light bulb (which came with a heart attack inducing $250 price tag); and 2) the cost for the labor would be $70 (not $40 like I had been told yesterday). When I balked at the price – almost twice what I had previously been quoted – she somewhat sheepishly agreed to honor the original quote. This of course got me wondering whether he was giving me a discount or whether she was trying to take me for a ride (sorry, bad pun not intended).
I am now more convinced than ever that one of two things must be true: 1) Attractive women receive special treatment from men; or 2) I look like a walking target. Perhaps they are both true – that would account for such a gross difference in quoted price for the same service.