economics of vanity

i saw this article on my fav blog. and i could not stop laughing.

I RECENTLY overheard an interesting conversation between two co-workers. After a female economist returned from a sun-filled holiday a male colleague (also an economist) remarked, “You look much hotter tan.”

She thanked him, but noted the decision to tan may suffer from time inconsistency. “A tan marginally increases your attractiveness now, but you will regret it in twenty years when your skin looks like leather. One day I will look back and think: why did I bother? I looked fine tan or pale in my youth. You fool yourself tanning by now and thinking you won’t care about the consequences in the future.”

He argued the value of looking your best when young is greater than the value of looking better when old. Beautiful women attract more suitors. Thus, looking great now improves a woman’s marriage prospects. The dividends of which will pay off for the rest of her life (securing the necessary botox). He suspected her discount rate is too low.

She countered as you get older the marriage market become more competitive for women, all the more reason to maintain a smooth complexion. Also vanity does not diminish as you age.

No complement between two economists goes unpunished.