“If the guys are hot, too, then sure, they can get a hot girl.”

There is so much to love about The Atlantic’s article “The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women.” It reports on a new study by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock which states that romantic pairings are more likely to be people who are closely matched in terms of compatibility and values than people who are exchanging one type of scarce resource for another (e.g. “wealth” for “beauty”).

Read the whole piece, because the way Atlantic writer James Hamblin gets to the conclusion is delightful — he invokes the Simpsons episode “Lisa’s Rival” and suggests that some of the scarce resources couples could swap might be “graduate degrees” and “marketable skills” — and make sure you read every single quote from his interview with Dr. McClintock:

“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do. That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking.”

“If the guys are hot, too, then sure, they can get a hot girl.”

“It’s not just this trade of his money for her beauty, and he’s going to dump her as soon as she starts to get some wrinkles around her eyes.”

(And now, the question for y’all: is your romantic pairing based solely on compatibility and values, or did you take into account resource-swapping — even a little bit — when you built your partnership?)

 

Economic Theory of Dating Websites

For New York Times Magazine, Shaila Dewan looks at whether it's worth it to pay for dating websites like eHarmony that charge a monthly fee. Your $60/month doesn't mean there is a human middle man actually vetting potential dates (algorithms don't count), but paid sites do act as their own filter:

When There Are Different Points of Views About Money in a Relationship

Scenario: You have an extra $5,000 in your bank account. You're up-to-date on all your bills, and you're on track for savings goals, so you get to choose where to put that $5,000. You'd like to pay off the $5,000 remaining balance on a loan and get it over with. Your spouse wants to use $2,000 of it to get something for the house. Who's right?

Account Joined

When we got home, though, I started to freak out. Not freak out because now our money was intertwined and swiftly dwindling and SOMEONE didn't pay the electric bill for a few months and so one of the first charges was like $200, which was historically something I wouldn't have been aware of. No, I decided to channel my anxiety of our ever-increasing co-dependence into the fact that this account was HIS account and not mine. I was simply on it.

The Do-it-all Spouse

Koa Beck at The Atlantic writes about spouses who support their partner’s career, or the “do-it-all spouse,” who was embodied by Vera Nabokov, the wife of Russian author Vladimir Nabokov:

Vera not only performed all the duties expected of a wife of her era—that is, being a free live-in cook, babysitter, laundress, and maid (albeit, she considered herself a “terrible housewife”)—but also acted as her husband’s round-the-clock editor, assistant, and secretary. In addition to teaching his classes on occasion (in which Nabokov openly referred to her as “my assistant”), Vera also famously saved Lolita, the work that would define her husband’s career, several times from incineration, according to Stacey Schiff ‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2000 biography, Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). With Vera by his side, Nabokov published 18 novels between 1926 and 1974 (both in Russian and English).

And it hasn’t been just wives supporting their husbands careers (which I suspect to be the case in a heteronormative society)—Virginia Woolf and Edna St. Vincent Millay had husbands who “assumed a Vera-esque role”:

The Cost of Love

I asked some Billfold pals if they had ever spent too much money on love. They had.

How I Got $1,000 Back From My Pot-Dealing Ex

I shouldn’t have continued dating Jason once I found out he sold weed. I probably should have just called it quits when he angrily threw a small McDonald’s French fry at me because I didn’t read his mind and buy a burger. And, I definitely shouldn’t have loaned him $1,000 over the course of the few months we dated.

When One Person Earns More Than the Other in a Relationship

Things are not even in most respects, and I get that.

My Cruise Ship Love Affair

Darlene and I met while working in the entertainment department of a large cruise ship sailing the Western Caribbean Sea. Darlene danced in the not-quite-Vegas-style stage productions, and I hammed it up on the mic as a host of not-quite-high-concept spectacles such as the Men's International Hairy Chest Competition and Late Night Adult Dodgeball.