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July 13, 2012

Male Emoticons....

...and other stories we construct to make the world seem more orderly and predictable:

I don’t text in long enough sentences to get in whether I think something is funny. In email, which I’m beginning to think is old-fashioned, I don’t use the bouncing emoticon because I think that is girly, but I use the little smile signs, with a colon and parentheses :) — a more male emoticon, where you comprise it yourself, because men build things? I don’t know.

The Editorial Staff found this amusing, as we have always rather favored the build-it-yourself smile thingy, mostly because we also detest the yellow happy face. Does this mean we're a man, trapped in a woman's body?

A while back, we ran across this post in Scientific American:

Dating back to the Great Depression, times of recession have consistently yielded anomalous gains for the beauty products industry, even while consumers rein in spending on household goods and recreational products. Journalists have dubbed this curiosity the “lipstick effect.” I recently sought to test the lipstick effect in a series of studies, the results of which were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Our findings confirmed that the lipstick effect is not only real, but deeply rooted in women’s mating psychology.

While economic recessions are a recent development in human history, fluctuations in prosperity and resource availability are not. Human ancestors regularly went through cycles of abundance and famine, each of which favorsdifferent reproductive strategies. While periods of abundance favor strategies associated with postponing reproduction in favor of one’s own development (e.g., by pursuing an education), periods of scarcity favor more immediate reproduction. The latter strategy is more successful during times of resource scarcity because it decreases the likelihood that one will perish before having the chance to reproduce.

For women, periods of scarcity also decrease the availability of quality mates, as women’s mate preferences reliably prioritize resource access. This preference stems from the important role that mates’ resources have played in women’s reproductive success. Because economic recessions are associated with higher unemployment and minimal or negative returns on investments, news of a recession may therefore signal to women that financially secure men—those able to invest resources in rearing offspring—are becoming scarce.

Now we might have fallen for this, had we not vividly remembered several articles about the bump in plastic surgery shortly after the financial crisis of 2008:

More people are getting everything from facelifts to liposuction these days. And it's the so-called less vain sex who is helping to drive those plastic surgery numbers up. New statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that cosmetic plastic surgery procedures among men rose 2% in 2010 from 2009.

Men underwent more than 1.1 million cosmetic procedures in 2010 -- both minimally invasive and surgical -- accounting for 9.9% of all cosmetic procedures last year.

(In 2010, 13.1 million people overall underwent plastic surgery, up 5% from the year ago period, according to the ASPS.)

Men and women between the ages of 40 and 54 make up the majority of cosmetic procedures, the ASPS says.

To what, you may ask, do The Experts attribute this decidedly masculine Man-ifestation of the Lipstick Effect? If you thought to yourself, "Obviously, this lipstick effect thingamajobber is not only real, but deeply rooted in masculine mating psychology", deduct 10 points from your IQ score:

Experts say the growth in male plastic surgery is partly due to the gender's efforts to gain marketability career-wise.

"Men have a new attitude toward cosmetic surgery than what we've seen historically," Dr. Phil Haeck, ASPS president and a board-certified plastic surgeon, told WalletPop. "Many stashed away some cash during the recession so they could come out of it with a younger look, ready to attack the job market."

Ann McMahon, a clinical psychologist based in New York City, says the still-tenuous economy and employment picture is driving older men to feel more competitive with younger men. "In our culture, younger is better" -- and that's true today more than ever, McMahon told WalletPop. And "lines and jowls are not [considered] attractive in our culture."

More men are undergoing plastic surgery "because of the economy specifically: There just aren't as many jobs out there. They're saying, 'Anything that will give us an edge, why not?'"

Well alrighty, then. Let that be a lesson to you, knuckle draggers :)

Posted by Cassandra at July 13, 2012 06:49 AM

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Comments

Yep, still looks like mating strategy if you assume men career climb to snag better women. (Remember the old "men as success objects" thing a few years ago?)

Posted by: Pogue at July 13, 2012 09:02 AM

Nah--it's all that female equality stuff. It's women's fault; the lipstick effect is unchallenged by these revelations.

Experts say the growth in male plastic surgery is partly due to the gender's efforts to gain marketability career-wise.

Especially with women leaving the home and taking jobs that men ought to be doing--now they's fewer jobs left to compete for.

More men are undergoing plastic surgery "because of the economy specifically: There just aren't as many jobs out there.

See? Besides, with the women being more overt, men have had to move beyond the cosmetic surgery of mere tattoos to more surgical...enhancements...in order to compete for mates. After all, a woman is just a sperm's way of getting more sperm.

Oh, and Luddite that I am (as well as troglodyte), I don't do emoticons. At all. Nope.

[g]

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at July 13, 2012 09:36 AM

// lifts knuckles from floor, scratches head and wonders about the formulas to calculate worth that must be in use today... returns knuckles to the floor thankful that he does not need to undergo rending carcass into a facsimile of a snare drum in order to simply compete in society/job-market. //

Posted by: bthun at July 13, 2012 11:18 AM

Nah--it's all that female equality stuff. It's women's fault; the lipstick effect is unchallenged by these revelations.

*smack*!

Posted by: Cass at July 13, 2012 12:52 PM

Men would never be vain enough to undergo surgery to be more attractive to women -- they do it to get jobs in order to be more attractive to women? You've got to wonder why the guys don't just take the cost of the surgery and use it to buy diamonds for the mercenary chicks.

I'm so far from using girly emoticons that I insist on building my own from scrap metal, getting my hands all dirty and greasy. Then I rewire them (grunt, grunt).

Posted by: Texan99 at July 13, 2012 01:43 PM

"You've got to wonder why the guys don't just take the cost of the surgery and use it to buy diamonds for the mercenary chicks."

Because we're talking guys on the low side of the bell shaped curve? :-)

Posted by: Pogue at July 13, 2012 02:44 PM

"I'm so far from using girly emoticons that I insist on building my own from scrap metal, getting my hands all dirty and greasy. Then I rewire them (grunt, grunt)."

I don't really like emoticons but as I am a snarky sort, I find them very useful in conveying that I'm only kidding around. They really do take the sting out of online communication that can be hard to interpret if you can't see someone's face or hear the laughter in their voice.

Posted by: Cass at July 13, 2012 04:14 PM

"I don't really like emoticons but as I am a snarky sort,..."

You!?!
Nahhhh, that's just a rumor spread by some nefarious sort what doesn't appreciate your totally undeserved association with the title Alpha Bitch Goddess.
0>;~}

Posted by: Snarkammando at July 14, 2012 01:53 PM

I am not nefarious!

Posted by: The Wizzerd of Izz at July 14, 2012 01:56 PM

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