*Very Important People*

The author is Ashley Mears and the subtitle is Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit.  I loved this book, my favorite of the year so far.

Haven’t you ever wondered why more books shouldn’t just take social phenomena and explain them, rather than preening their academic feathers with a lot of non-committal dense information?  Well, this book tries to explain the Miami club where renting an ordinary table for the night costs 2k, with some spending up to 250k, along with the underlying sociological, economic, and anthropological mechanisms behind these arrangements.  Here is just a start on the matter:

Any club, whether in a New York City basement or on a Saint-Tropez beach, is always shaped by a clear hierarchy.  Fashion models signal the “A-list,” but girls are only half of the business model.  There are a few different categories of men that every club owner wants inside, and there is a much larger category of men they aim to keep out.

Or this:

Bridge and tunnel, goons, and ghetto.  These are men whose money can’t compensate for their perceived status inadequacies.  The marks of their marginal class positions are written on their bodies, flagging an automatic reject at the door.

A clever man can try to use models as leverage to gain entry and discounts at clubs.  A man surrounded by models will not have to spend as much on bottles.  I interviewed clients who talked explicitly about girls as bargaining chips they could use at the door.

The older, uglier men may have to pay 2k to rent a table for the evening, whereas “decent-looking guys with three or four models” will be let in for free with no required minimum.  And:

Men familiar with the scene make these calculations even if they have money to spend: How many beautiful girls can I get to offset how I look?  How many beautiful girls will it take to offset the men with me?  How much money am I willing to spend for the night in the absence of quality girls?

How is this for a brutal sentence?:

Girls determine hierarchies of clubs, the quality of people inside, and how much money is spent.

Here is another ouch moment:

…I revisit a second critical insight of Veblen’s on the role of women in communicating men’s status.  In this world, girls function as a form of capital.  Their beauty generates enormous symbolic and economic resources for the men in their presence, but that capital is worth far more to men than to the girls who embody it.

if you ever needed to be convinced not to eat out at places with beautiful women, this book will do the trick.  Solve for the equilibrium, people…

You can pre-order here.  (By the way, I’ve been thinking of writing more about “lookism,” and why opponents of various other bad “isms” have such a hard time extending the campaign to that front.)

Comments

"Girls determine hierarchies of clubs, the quality of people inside, and how much money is spent."

That's called life, friends. :-)

Someone has apparently never heard of a man only club. True, they have become considerably more discreet in the last thirty years.

... men-only clubs have faced more robust legal resistance. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously to outlaw Rotary Clubs’ reluctance to accept female members in a decision that had implications nationwide, and set a legal precedent.

Business clubs, fraternal orgs like Rotary etc., aren't what he's talking about. But you knew that...

Sorry, I meant "she". This board needs an edit function.

I do know a men-only nightclub, with a Sailor theme. Women can get in as guests, but nobody will be interested in them there.

Nicely done.

I read that as a Sailor Moon theme and was confused for a minute.

I thought it was a 'Sailer theme'. Very confusing.

None of this makes sense for normal people. I guess we are in that class of people they want to keep out of the club. I have never spent more than $20 at a bar and haven't even done that in 30 years. I don't even go into restaurants who don't have the price on the menu and a typical bill for my wife and I at a restaurant is $45 including tip.

To be honest, I have exceedingly little idea of what sort of club is being talked about, and exceedingly little interest in finding out more.

One assumes that the reference to restaurants is not quite the same thing as clubs, though clearly there is a spectrum.

Forgive me for being ignorant of whatever sort of clubs are being described. If it helps, it certainly seem unlikely to be a jazz club. Reading below before hitting send, I see that someone was thinking along my older fashioned lines too. Who provides enough context to realize these are basically disco/dance clubs.

Bro, he's not talking about Rotary or the local Elks chapter lol

Here's a 2001 article I wrote on Frank Salter's ethnographic study of the bouncers at the top disco in Munich:

https://www.upi.com/Archives/2001/07/04/Science-of-nightclub-bouncing-studied/6982994219200/

Nice review but too short.

Did you go to Russia to write that article?

Why would you ask that? Of course he did. Stevesky Sailervich.

"Bridge and tunnel, goons, and ghetto. These are men whose money can’t compensate for their perceived status inadequacies."

They forget libertarians. They are the most inadequate of men.

Yeah, but our women make up for it! :-)

What women? Libertarian gatherings are sausage fests. Women are biologically programmed to avoid low status men so this is expected.

Only high class women are attracted to libertarians. :-)

A real libertarian deeply understands that his evening spent on his IPhone 11 watching Netflix means he is living better than Julius Caesar ever did. Nothing, not even high class models, can take that away from him.

I know you are joking, but the case that this is wrong is not trivial.

For one thing, life expectancy for those surviving infanthood is more than 25 years greater than it was in the Roman empire--and that's excluding treacherous stabbings.

DST this weekend. Change the batteries in your sarcasm detector.

I don't have a sarcasm detector. Does such a thing even exi... WAIT. I see what you're doing!

"life expectancy for those surviving infanthood is more than 25 years greater than it was in the Roman empire" Do you have specific data for that. I had a conversation a few weeks ago where a friend claimed people of that era died at 35. I was able to find some data that, after you've reached 10 y.o., you could likely live to 65 or 70. I couldn't find anything that seemed authoritative though.

"you could likely live to 65 or 70. "

Likely is not the same as average.

" A rough estimate (gleaned from tomb inscriptions that give ages) is that half of Romans who lived to age 15 – and therefore escaped juvenile mortality – were dead before age 45."

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/life_history/age-specific-mortality-lifespan-bad-science-2009.html

Romans is in residents of the city of Rome? That's credible; cities everywhere had high death rates down into the 19th century. If it means Roman's throughout the entire empire then it's m9re dubious.

Thanks for the reference. One I saw claimed immediate pre-Roman period had longer longevity than the Roman period. It seemed to vary a lot for the past 3000 yrs, and in no way constantly rising. I wonder how much war contributed to that 45 yr mark.

Every single thing listed is just common sense for anybody who has lived in the world. I guess it's a revelation to some here but come on people get off the web and live a real life.

Really, do you go to places where you only get in, or pay a different rate, by bringing beautiful women?

Yes, the underlying trends about appearance and wealth are ubiquitous. But such a crass, blatant expression of that is not common. The specifics highlighted here will be news to many people.

It's not surprising if you have an active night life. I don't think it's crass as much as it is fantasy. Some people enjoy playing dress up and make believe. Ugly guys want to feel validated by beautiful women and small-timers pretending to be a big shot is pretty much a reality of the world isn't it?

I find it surprising, but I don't have an active night life.

It's on display every time I board a large aircraft until they close that curtain to shield first class from the eyes of the riffraff.

Not quite. The majority of those seats were pre-purchased. They were not awarded on the spot by a “bouncer”/host based on the market of looks etc.

I know that’s the stereotype but first class (at least, domestic first class) is mostly full of overweight middle aged traveling salesmen who got there for free on an upgrade. Very rarely do I spot a beautiful woman.

Des Moines to Tulsa ?

Every single thing listed is just common sense for anybody who has lived in the world.

I've lived a long time in the world, but was never remotely interested in absurd places like those even during the few years I was both an adult and single. I live in a neighborhood of upper-middle class people (doctors, lawyers, business owners), and AFAIK, none of them ever did or do bother to frequent places like that. They may have luxury cars and even multiple golf-club memberships and vacation homes -- some also a yacht and/or private plane, but 'drop 2K for bottle-service at a club surrounded by models' is just not on anyone's radar. Nobody even wants that. They want a lot of expensive things, but not that. Obviously, this status-obsessed clubbing culture does exist, but it's not remotely close to universal.

I wouldn't enter a club that would let me in.

I wouldn't enter a club like that would or wouldn't let me in. You'd have to pay me a fair amount to spend a night in one of those places -- the idea of paying for the privilege is laughable. I have to say that the rich guys in search of pretty gold-diggers who don't love them and the pretty gold-diggers in search of rich jerks who don't love THEM do richly deserve each other and it's a good thing, I guess, that they have special places for them all to get together and waste their time and money while keeping them away from the rest of society.

+1

The music is lousy in those places, too.

I wouldn't join a club that would have me as a member

Latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm is a good comedic example of the “lookism” thing

Most books are not written nor read by academics, so no, I have never wondered why more books shouldn’t just take social phenomena and explain them, rather than preening their academic feathers.

That it is books preening instead of authors would likely cause Ruskin to despair.

"In this world, girls function as a form of capital. Their beauty generates enormous symbolic and economic resources for the men in their presence, but that capital is worth far more to men than to the girls who embody it."

No, dollar for dollar, it's worth enough for the ladies, otherwise, why would they do it? You gotta pay for capital. :-)

Signed,
Charlie Darwin

Those are low quality women cavorting with low quality men. It all works out.

Sounds like both the women and the men are paying the club a lot to maintain the illusion that this isn't a high-status brothel.

When climate change hits Miami all that money spent on tables and women would have been better spent on a compound in the middle of America.

As most things that start with 'When climate change hits...' - just like now.

"When climate change hits Miami ..."

Miami will move 5 miles inland. You do realize that current projections by the IPCC are a maximum of about a yard.

"If emissions remain very high, the IPCC projects sea level will rise by 52–98 cm (20–39 in) {by year 2100}"

Yes, people show pictures of sky scrappers halfway submerged, based upon much larger sea level rises but that's all fantasy.

Currently Miami Beach is 48 inches above sea level. Miami is 66 inches above sea level. So, just moving Miami Beach to Miami deals with the low end by year 2100. Fort Lauderdale for example is 9' above sea level and after a 3' sea level by the year 2100 will be at the same elevation as Miami is today.

Now the Florida Keys may be much smaller.

A huge amount of very pricey property will end up beneath the waves. The financial consequences will not be trivial.

Even a few inches of sea level rise for places already very close to sea level means the ground around all the buildings will flood with even a little rain. The area around those houses/businesses will be basically muddy and marshy all year round, and not pleasant to live in.

This is happening already in many coastal areas of VA, NC, and SC, not just FL.

Nah. Large swathes of Amsterdam and Jakarta are technically underwater. That don't mean they get flooded. If the real estate is expensive enough, they will find a way. Here's a pic of Copenhagen in 2150+: https://www.reddit.com/r/copenhagen/comments/eb00gn/shot_of_future_copenhagen_in_the_expanse/

But Amsterdam famously has a ton of dikes and seawalls to keep the water out.

Which won't work in Miami, since it sits on a bedrock of porous limestone and water will just rise up from the ground.

@Johnfarnz
Single story homes can be lifted up. Mult-story building might lose the 1 floor, not good but workable.

Will the roads be converted to canals?

Maybe flying cars?

"A huge amount of very pricey property will end up beneath the waves. The financial consequences will not be trivial."

It's 3 friggin feet over the next 80 years. The costs will indeed be trivial.

If the ocean rises 3 feet, the storm surges during hurricanes will be 15+ ft.

That will submerges a lot ( approx 20% ) of Florida several times a year.

People engage in all sorts of status game, which when deconstructed seem pretty silly. Getting into exclusive nightclubs is one such status game, highly important to the people playing it, but mostly irrelevant to the rest of us. Status games are generally win-loose games, with the loosers outnumbering the winners, so on balance net from a utility point of view. I think a big reason that older people get happier is that they no longer feel the need to enter these status games.

Yes. But status games follow mating strategies, or at least a runaway evolutionary adaption of mating strategies.

I'm surprised Tyler posts so often on Status but doesn't credit it as both inevitable and a near-zero sum game which accounts for so much of the utility function. Perhaps because its such a bleak consequence. He's very much IPhone > Julius Caesar's slaves, but if humans mostly consume status, (or after a certain level of satiation, mostly consume status).....

People usually care less about status as they get older, so perpetual status competition is not inevitable. The desire to compete for status is highly dependent on testosterone levels. Moreover, even if status itself is zero-sum, you can simulate the feeling of status through better technologies like video games today, and perhaps in the future there will be robotic slaves that are available to everyone and even better than what Julius Caesar had, so it’s not completely zero-sum.

Yes, agreed; status fights slacken somewhat with age (with direct mating opportunities), and it's not fully zero sum then ('cos status isn't uni-dimensional, as Robin Hanson has argued). And absolute consumption levels do determine utility; and probably even account for the majority of utility until incomes are over $40k or more.

So the situation isn't hopeless. But it's a lot less Panglossian than the TC "median 21st person beats Julius Caesar" argument.

Well, it is worth observing that almost everyone who can play the silly nightclub status game.. does.

What does that tell us?

Is that really true? I know plenty of rich successful people who never go near a night club. Actually Bill Gates is a great example, richest guy in the world spends his time as devoted father.

Yeah I bet there would be a LOT less class resentment if most rich people were like Bill Gates and not these models & bottles guys.

Most rich people ARE more like Bill Gates than the 'models & bottles' guys. But because they're not flashy, people don't identify them as rich in the first place. It's the whole 'millionaire next door' thing. How can you think 'rich people are OK' if nearly all the actual rich people you run across don't come off that way?

I don't quite buy that. Most Americans are more than happy to see rich people do their thing, it's part of the national story. But they are more concerned about their own situation. If housing or healthcare keeps eating away their paycheck then their inner populist will come out and has come out. But even then it is directed at the uncaring, faceless system not the rich. Rich people that flaunt their money on social media should be more worried about the IRS. Ask Fifty Cent.

How much class resentment is there? Seems most of it is stoked by a few socialists who are trying to use it to take control of their money.

Actually Bill Gates used to hit da club. One Oak in NYC was a favorite of his right when it was peak “models and bottles” territory.

If I could teach these guys to be introverts they would save SO MUCH money. Now, how to make the most of this market opportunity?

Invent a really good sex robot.

Well, no. The article says these men are often in the company of several women and go to a club anyway, even though I would have assumed that meeting women was the whole point of going to a club. Perhaps a hug bot is what they need? (Maybe it's time to take ED-209 out of mothballs...)

Interesting topic, but I wonder how universal this is across time and space.

A few generations ago, "clubs" generally referred to all male organizations and settings. They were "old boys network" style environments. Even in co-ed events and dinner parties, it was normal for men and women to segregate after some mingling, with the men retiring to the smoking room and women to the drawing room.

Nowadays, heterosexual men are atomized, and exclusive associations of heterosexual men are anathemized. "Club" no longer refers to private associations of like minded men like it used to. Rather it refers to the the semi bordello meat markets that derive from 70s discotheques.

And here I thought "club" was a perfectly good neutral word for a social venue not open to the general public.

These are interesting times. Pretty women like Paris Hilton are paid large sums to attend parties or go to clubs because she raises the status of who she is with, and of everyone else in attendance. Kim Kardashian defies logic. There have always been women like that, but they were written about from the point of view of tragedy: beauty is not timeless. The music eventually stops. Sure, beauty is a commodity that can be bought and sold, and having beautiful women around has always raised the status of men. Harems are important in Muslim culture, but also in Japanese culture. Harem can also be offensive, as when the male boss refers to the women who work for him as his harem. The group of women who attend a club with a man is his harem for the night. But unlike the traditional harem, they are free lancers, able to pick and choose the highest bidder for their services. Their status is as high as their male escort; indeed, higher in that they are paid while the male does the paying. It's a variation on Woke.

Is Paris Hilton still an "it" girl? Isn't she starting to get long of tooth?

You expected him to be hip? Surprised he didn't say Kate Moss or Cindy Crawford.

Lookism is already under siege. Various grievance groups, like trans, attack the idea of hierarchy in sexuality, complete with uber ridiculous notions like saying it’s irrational to not date trans people. Then there’s no fat shaming people, people who say heterosexual sex is patriarchy and oppression, feminists who don’t like models at Formula One, etc.

Those attempts won't go anywhere, because Lookism is based upon innate biological attraction. Fringe groups claiming that it's not fair is not going to change the biology.

For every feminist who don't like models at F1, there is one Elettra Lamborghini.

Regarding lookism, I think something has to meet two requirements to be an “ism”: it has to be based on characteristics that are primarily determined at birth (like race and sex are; people could only change those with extreme efforts), and it has to be materially irrelevant to the thing that you’re trying to achieve (refusing to hire a black person to be a cab driver is racist, refusing to hire a black person to play George Washington in a movie is not).

I would argue that lookism is not an “ism” because it fails on both counts. While looks are partially determined at birth, there is a lot people can do to improve their looks, both through things like exercise and diet, and fashion and makeup (look at one of those “celebrities without makeup” articles for instance, and there’s a clear Flynn Effect for looks too). In fact, looks are on the whole probably less immutable than IQ, yet people also do not have a concept of “smartism” because it is understood that although intelligence is partially determined at birth, there are still things people can do such as learning to improve theirs. I would also argue that looks are a materially relevant consideration to dating and mating, where “lookism” plays the largest role, in much the same way they would be to casting an actor. “Lookism” plays a significantly smaller role in situations where it is not relevant, like I can’t imagine looks entering into the equation when your typical company wants to hire a computer programmer.

Of course wealth is also something that you can improve with a bit of effort but this doesn’t seem to stop people from arguing against inequality.

Yeah, but discrimination based on wealth isn’t considered wrong like racism or sexism is. We discriminate based on wealth all the time, such as progressive taxation that charges different rates to people based on wealth, or having income/wealth minimums for receiving anything from credit cards to citizenship.

Promoting equality is an admirable goal, but with looks as with money equality should be achieved by improving those who are lacking rather than bringing down those who have it.

The Moonies had a solution to Lookism: Assign partners by random process (or secret decision of the Leader). Assuming no one tries to subvert the process. Traditional marriage was (to a degree still is) also a sort of counterweight to Lookism (and sexual attraction in general, although Looks can be an indication of fitness/health/reproductive and resource gathering capacities). No shortage of research on this topic, feel free to consult scholar.google.com/ncr.
Being attracted to attractive people might in the current climate be perhaps be considered as inappropriate, even unacceptable, yet one suspects hot girls and studly dudes will never go out of style. OK sure, we can't stop young people from being attracted to hot members of their preferred orientation. But It might be politically advantageous to prohibit them from talking concrete actions in pursuit of their preferences. Or perhaps a tax on beauty/studliness, to level the playing field? The collected funds could be distributed to ugly people, who could then enhance their overall attractiveness with money, because we know that money is very attractive, especially to hot girls. People will go so far as to lie, steal, even kill, to get it. No lack of research on this topic, see scholar.google.com/ncr.

Indeed, Helena Rubinstein famously remarked that "there are no ugly women, only lazy ones". This is of course an exaggeration but it is more than a kernel of truth. Estee Lauder espoused a slightly more delicate version: "There are no ugly women – only women who don't care or who don't believe they're attractive."

I think Diana Vreeland referred to it as "romantic artifice".

What are bridge and tunnel men?

People who commute to Manhattan from not-Manhattan.

People who don't live in Manhattan. Manhattan is an island, and people in the "outer boroughs" have to use a bridge or tunnel to get there.

Oh thank God for that. I assumed it was some kind of deviant reference.

More like, if you ever needed a reason not to want people like Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Sounds like the bouncer's job is to let Tony Montana in but keep Manny out.

This has long been a business model. You want a certain crowd aesthetic at your establishment. You keep the worst cases out. You subsidize and encourage the most attractive. Everyone in the middle range jumps through hoops trying to get vouchers for Almack's. That was the Regency era, early 19th century. Beau Brummel and his clean linen was always in, at least until he was out.

Where do the readers of Marginal Revolution fit into the greater club class hierarchy?
So many funny comments can be made about this post.

MR readers could form a group to flash mob the lines outside these clubs and bring down their value.

You can spot a boomer in the comments from a mile away when it takes a whole paragraph of thinking out loud to wrap their heads around a concept that is self-evident to anyone that has ever been under the age of 30. We get it, you prefer consuming rate Canarian wine in the privacy of your suburban cigar rooms (does it smell of rich mahogany too?) and wouldn't be caught dead in a Miami, Ibiza, or Vegas night club, that doesn't mean it isn't an extremely common thing to do for social people from all walks of life.

At this stage in life, I carefully avoid being caught dead anywhere whatsoever.

FYI - I recently cut out the cigars after two bouts of asthma problems.

"that doesn't mean it isn't an extremely common thing to do for social people from all walks of life"

There were exclusive clubs when boomers were under 30 too. That doesn't mean it was an extremely common thing for people from all walks of life then or now.

Indeed, the mere fact that the clubs are exclusive means that it's not an extremely common thing for people to do.

Clubgoing is a subculture. It isn't some defining characteristic or universal cultural practice of the youthful demographic, any more than online gaming or extreme sports or comics fandom or STEM nerdery or whatever.

Like any other subculture, sometimes it's your turn to be the insect under glass. We're peering from the other side, with our monocles and our value judgments.

Yep. But an odd thing about it (unlike other subcultures), is the insistence that everybody wishes they were part of it too, and anybody who says otherwise must be lying (and just not young, hot or rich enough to join in -- or some kind of inexplicable weirdo). It seems that without the belief that 'everybody else wishes they could be like us' the appeal might collapse and the stupidity of paying $2000 for a table and a bottle of vodka might become clear.

It smells of fine Corinthinian leather, I'll have you know. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvyTTx33PPQ

I have been working on Lookism (still am) over the past few years. If you're interested, I've written about it here https://philpapers.org/rec/MINTID and here is a podcast https://philosophy247.org/podcasts/lookism/. Happy to share more papers, in case you're interested.

Except you're not sharing. It costs $8 to download your paper. No thanks.

Comment of the year

Man on the internet wants something for free, film at 11.

(I understood that she was talking to Tyler who would have access. That may not fit your concept of fairness, but it's certainly the way it is.)

Send a photo. Pretty people read for free.

Hmmm, I might get upcharged.

Haven't sent one of these for a while, but:

https://lmgtfy.com/?q=Francesca+Minerva+lookism

(no charge)

Oh, and, I caught myself getting a bit more interested when I saw how Prof Minerva looked but then stopped myself, realizing that by reading any of her stuff, I might be discriminating against other, less-attractive lookism researchers. So I urge you to join the fight against against lookism by not watching any of this video.

(I kid, I kid)

Lookism is tied to genetic fitness, but "the look of fitness" may be confused by fashion and culture. You are a brave man if you take that on. There are a lot of taboos to the discussion. Principally, who is reasonably and who is unfairly "less valued."

(I mean, should socks with sandals really be a disqualifier?)

I added a joke at the end but I actually consider that a pretty serious answer.

Serious / taboo example would be "how much overweight should be accepted?"

Why has our culture become so attention seeking. It's as though everyone is insecure. Rene Girard knew, and so does Cowen's friend and Girard disciple Peter Thiel.

Pinker tells us that status seeking is a universal. There are rational foundations for that, but irrational extremes as well.

Since there is a universe of wealthy people for whom the bare description of that club would either be purely off-putting, or at the most something they would seek to do once, in the manner of a tourist, out of completism - it seems like there might be an ethnic dimension to this. If that offends - well, it would be a dull world if people were all the same.

Status is all relative to your peer group. There is a global party circuit, okay. There is also a global network of statisticians. There is a community of people called "academics" and another one called "HR professionals." There are "professional athletes" in one sense -- FIFA or NFL players, for example -- and "professional athletes" in another sense -- people like Kilian Jornet and Jimmy Chin. There are the people clamoring to the top of the corporate ladder, and there are the people clamoring to the top of their kids' T-ball league.

If some of these status communities seem unappealing to you, you're not alone. The funny thing about status-seeking is that we only ever want status among our chosen community. Many people dream of being movie stars, but how many of them go out, take acting lessons, and try to land a role in a local theater? Only the ones who actually care about status in the acting community. The rest of us just want the abstract concept of "fame and fortune."

The "global party circuit" is the trappings of status, minus the status itself. They're going to let Brad Pitt into the party no matter how many models he brings with them. They'll probably let Danny DeVito into the party, for that matter. All these other people are chasing the trappings of fame and fortune without bothering to actually chase fame and fortune.

Seems like a weird hobby. Probably fun to do every once in a while, but I wouldn't want to invest years or even months of my life in that kind of pursuit. Ultimately what makes people happy is health and family.

So back in the late 2000’s my wife and I went to NYC and saw a taping of the Letterman show. We got to the front of the line and some guy was like “hey if you can answer this trivia question we will put you in the VIP line!” And it was a ridiculously easy question. Then we get into this little room with a bunch of other young people and get escorted to the front of the theater.

I didn’t realize what they were doing until an episode of 30 Rock where Kenneth the page is working for CBS and says “and now, we’ll sort you all according to attractiveness.”

TL;DR - lookism is everywhere and a humblebrag that my wife and I are hot

...or at least you were, in the late 2000s.

They probably don't want a bunch of frumpy middle-age moms in their t-shirts and capri pants taking up a lot of room in the front rows.

Well yeah, that's Lookism, isn't it.

I have a few pals who chat about visiting these places. They describe them exactly as Mears and Salter do. They discuss the price of a bottle, of a table, and the quality of the "birds". All of these pals are wealthy but not super-wealthy businessmen, harmless rather good looking fellows in their forties.

Larry David has beat you to the punch -- 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - current episode -- "The Ugly Section"

Thanks for the review. I clicked and wanted to browse the book for a bit. But, pre-order not available until late May... By then I'll barely remember.

On the other hand you can use what Tyler wrote here to ascribe if a club has gone down hill. My wife and I were out in DC some years back and a friend invited us to a club on K Street, telling us a friend of his had bought a table and bottle service. We're reasonably attractive people but neither of us were dressed terribly well, yet we made it pas the velvet rope with ease, in quick order and once we were inside it was clear why. The guy-girl ratio was bad (might've been over 50%, which is never good, and borderline inexcusable in DC given the number of young women who live here) and too many people looked trashy. We're not at all club people but we'll always partake in someone else's bottle service.

I take it for granted that all people act all the time, consciously and subconsciously, to maximize their status within their tribe. That's the core of human nature. The only thing that changes is the tribe, and perhaps the greatest appeal of a liberal society is the ability to change tribes at will.

Whenever I read something like this, I think about higher taxes on rich people.

That's ok, I'm sure there are tons of very attractive people in Hollywood and look at Gates, Bezos & Zuckerberg and think there should be higher taxes on rich people, too.

Beauty has always been a form of currency. It's usually associated with women, but men have to have the right look too. As the article notes, if a man looks like he is in one of these categories, "[b]ridge and tunnel, goons, and ghetto", for example, he won't be allowed in the club. The club wants decorative people of a particular type. They'll accept money to compensate, at least up to a certain point, but the average beauty level of a group has to meet a threshold. It pays to read feminist theorists who have explored how this works in depth.

Interestingly, in the 1930s and into the 1960s, high tone clubs like the Stork Club and the Morocco, didn't admit women regardless of appearance unless they had a man wearing black tie with them. There were agencies to hire appropriate men as escorts. They were often Columbia students. Back then Columbia students knew how to dress. At least the legacy admits did. The idea was that you had to hire a man to show that you weren't the kind of woman a man could hire.

A wise man said [paraphrasing and adapting a bit],"I don't want to go to anyplace where they'd let someone like me in."
Moral: Be someone other than who you are.

One thing that people overlook is that these clubs are the primary forum for social competition. Many aim to be successful so they can compete and dominate here. It's not the side dish.

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