Photo (cc) by FotoSleuth
Maybe you’ve seen a Porsche Carrera GT flying down the highway. But you probably never considered it from an evolutionary perspective. Six researchers at the University of Minnesota have.
“The vehicle has very little cargo capacity, only two seats, gets terrible gas mileage, and is frightfully expensive to repair,” wrote the researchers in a 56-page report called Conspicuous Consumption as Sexual Signaling [PDF]. So why do men – and it’s mostly men – spend $440,00 to drive one? You don’t need a Ph.D. to know why, but here’s how the researchers describe it…
Although showy spending is often perceived as wasteful, frivolous, and even narcissistic, an evolutionary perspective suggests the blatant displays of resources may serve an important function – namely, as a communication strategy designed to gain reproductive rewards.
In other words, men buy flashy cars and other luxury goods to get women in the sack.
Yup, the University of Minnesota applied academic rigor to prove what we’ve always known. But the study did reveal one intriguing novelty: It doesn’t really matter how rich you are, it only matters how rich you look.
The researchers tried several experiments on about 200 undergraduate students at two different universities. Some involved the students reading a romantic story and answering questions. Others involved studying photos of members of the opposite sex and answering questions.
In one of those experiments, the men and women were asked about what it meant when men sported expensive wallets and fancy jeans. Obviously, the men thought these items would impress women. But interestingly, the women knew what the men were up to – and they were just fine with it.
“Just as peacocks have evolved to flaunt their wasteful tails before potential mates, men might similarly woo with wasteful expenditures to charm potential mates,” the researchers concluded.
Here at Money Talks News, we just can’t support wasting money to impress the opposite sex. But we can help you look like you waste money…
- If you don’t have the cash for a new luxury car, buy a used one. Money Talks news founder Stacy Johnson boasts spending about $5,000 on a Mercedes that looks like it cost much more: 8 Tips for Buying a $5,000 Car.
- You can also buy a classic car that looks hot but doesn’t cost a lot: 5 Classic Cars for Less Than $15,000.
- Nothing says extravagance like jewelry, but you can still be frugal about buying it: 5 Tips for Buying Jewelry.
- You can wear brand names without paying brand-name prices: 4 Tips for Buying Brand-Name Clothes on a Budget.
- Live in a fancy house for a non-fancy price: How to Steal a House – 4 Steps to Buying an REO.
- Buy high-tech gadgets at low prices: Don’t Get Shocked: 3 Tips for Smart Electronics Shopping.
Finally, check out our Deals page – Karla Bowsher features not only bargains on everyday goods but frequently highlights luxury items you can get for a steal.