Good looks are kind to the mir­ror and the bot­tom line

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

We’ve all heard again and again that you can’t judge a book by look­ing at the cover.

Maybe not. But we all do. We can’t help our­selves. We’re hu­man be­ings. By def­i­ni­tion we’re su­per­fi­cial and shal­low when it comes to the mat­ter of good looks.

Try as we might, we lack the proper grav­i­tas in truly grasp­ing that beauty is only skin deep. Which is why a splen­didly plumed bird al­ways will grab our at­ten­tion more than a squir­rel. And why we re­main suck­ers for a charis­matic sun-kissed pro­file.

We all know that if you’re beau­ti­ful, the odds are good that your life won’t be dis­mal.

The mar­quee gor­geous in our realm usu­ally are pro­grammed for the good life … un­less, of course, their ex­cesses and van­ity turn them into train wrecks. But that’s an­other so­ci­o­log­i­cal tale for an­other day.

Re­search in­di­cates that at­trac­tive peo­ple likely will be wealth­ier than their ugly-to-the-bone brethren. We all in­evitably are crea­tures of our DNA. If you are fea­ture­less as the wind, good luck. If you’re more hunk than lunk, send your par­ents a thank-you note.

It’s not a rev­e­la­tion to me that life is in­her­ently un­fair. I found that out years ago when I couldn’t hit a base­ball like Mickey Man­tle, throw a foot­ball like Johnny Uni­tas or drive a golf ball like Arnold Palmer.

Var­i­ous stud­ies (why aren’t these folks study­ing how to cure can­cer?) show that good-look­ing peo­ple charm in­ter­view­ers, get hired faster, are more likely to make more sales and get more raises. At­trac­tive peo­ple are likely to earn an av­er­age of 3 per­cent to 4 per­cent more than a per­son with be­lowa­v­er­age looks.

Alas, score­keep­ing is an in­ter­pre­tive art.

Psy­chol­o­gists call it the beauty premium.

There is more to the equa­tion than good looks. Not only do at­trac­tive peo­ple sparkle like fire­works in a cat­a­comb, they don’t flinch in the white gauze of the spot­light.

Good looks and self­con­fi­dence ride in tan­dem. Cou­pled with their looks, their self-es­teem makes them even more de­sir­able to em­ploy­ers and makes them high­er­paid em­ploy­ees. The sparkle of one’s per­son­al­ity tur­bocharged by lu­mi­nes­cent looks in­creases earn­ings, as­sum­ing the per­son can string to­gether a cog­ni­tive thought or two.

Granted, all gen­er­al­iza­tions have their fis­sures and flaws. For in­stance, 30 per­cent of CEOs are 6-2 or taller while only 3.9 per­cent of Amer­i­can men stand that high.

Well, such odds didn’t trans­late into my life. I was 6-2 for most of my adult life (some­how the bur­dens of the world have shrunk me to 6-0), and I’m not even CEO of my own house­hold (just ask my wife, who checks in at a diminu­tive 5-4).

I guess there are tall guys such as me who just don’t have a com­mand­ing pres­ence. I guess it would help if I had a 32-inch waist and a head of hair full enough to sprout from a ro­mance novel cover.

If you gri­mace when­ever you look in the mir­ror, chances are you live a life of mea­ger en­ti­tle­ments un­less you pos­sess a no­table and mar­ketable skill, i.e., rock gui­tarist or drum­mer.

I’m not a pro­po­nent of pre­des­ti­na­tion, but some­times it does seem that what hap­pens in the womb trails us like a tim­ber wolf un­til we reach the tomb.

Nev­er­the­less, I’m de­ter­mined to go out on top. While my lack of looks may have doomed me to be a poor man in­stead of a rich man, I’m sav­ing my pen­nies so I can be at­tired in a snappy cream-col­ored suit at my view­ing.

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