“I’ve often speculated why you don’t return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Did you run off with a senator’s wife? I like to think that you killed a man. It’s the romantic in me.”
– “It’s a combination of all three.”
– “What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?”
– “My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.”
– “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.”
– “I was misinformed.”
I sprawled lazily across my bed this afternoon, wallowing in the non-specific guilt that assails me with every hangover, and feeling like someone was playing the konga with my skull. As I lay there feeling useless and unproductive, I reminded myself again and again that I had done this to myself, I had taken the decision to indulge, to let my hair down, and now I was paying the price. Ying/yang, action/reaction, drunk/hungover.
So I picked up the remote controls and started channel surfing, looking for the perfect material for wasting time on a slow day, something that would leave the usually over tasked centres of reasoning within my brain without stimulation for a while. And that was how, to my utmost surprise, I did something I would never have done if I was in the right frame of mind. I found myself watching an entire episode of ‘The kardashians’. But the most shocking thing of all was that as I sat there watching them prance around with their over made-up faces, perfect houses, and vapid conversations, a strange emotion snuck up on me, I found that I was consumed with envy.
While I curled my lips in disgust at the parade of vanity before me, I realised that I was envious of these people and the glamorous lives they led. What had they done to deserve it? Why didn’t I also have undeserved wealth and fame? What did they have that I didn’t? And then it struck me. I had been sleeping on my assets; I was guilty of the crime of neglecting to invest in my erotic capital.
What’s that? you ask. Well according to Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, erotic capital is:
“an underrated class of personal asset, to set beside economic capital (what you have), human capital (what you know) and social capital (who you know).”
in her book; ‘Honey Money’: The power of Erotic Capital, she further describes erotic capital as a complex mix of physical and social assets, consisting of beauty, sex appeal, self-presentation, social skills, liveliness and sexual competence. Like other sorts of capital, the erotic kind is important for success; but unlike others it is largely independent of birth and class. It is especially valuable for poor people, young people, the newly arrived and the otherwise unqualified.
Her basic premise is that the world smiles at good-looking people, and they smile back”. Now this is not some great and wonderful discovery, in fact its basic common sense. People who look good radiate more confidence and people respond to them accordingly. But the theory of erotic capital takes this a bit further; MS Hakim posits that erotic capital should be exploited for advantage in every possible way, especially by women. And especially in societies where women have had to worker harder than men to succeed.
The critics and media have bashed Ms Hakim’s book and she has been accused of urging women to pander their bodies to get ahead.(as if they need any urging)
But is this such a bad thing really? It’s nothing new. Women like Helen of troy, and Cleopatra brought the world to its knees by exploiting their erotic capital. Ever since Cleopatra batted her eyelashes at Mark Anthony and caused kingdoms to crumble, physical allure has been a currency just as valid as dollars and Naira.
So It got me wondering why I had been frittering away my erotic capital when clearly I should have been spending it. I have always believed in looking good, but as I have frequently discovered, ‘looking good’ is a very subjective phrase.
I never gave a fuck in the past, but now I was beginning to think of my appearance as an actual career tool. Would I have gotten that promotion earlier if I had worn shorter skirts and false eyelashes more often? Would I have banged my dream job by now if I had invested in some Brazilian or Peruvian hair? Had I gotten it all wrong by practicing discretion and subtlety when I could have made me a fortune by cultivating and flaunting my erotic capital assets?
I can see now, I have been too frugal with my erotic capital, but the good news is my low spending record must mean that I’ve accumulated quite a nice nest egg, which I am now ready to dip into. I have decided to make some investments.
Gone are the days when I used to berate reality TV stars, socialites, and the like for their vanity and supposed stupidity. I’ve come to see that they’re actually rather clever. Especially the ones from modest backgrounds. Faced with a deeply socially immobile society, these people are skillfully utilizing alternative assets to have a greater chance of climbing up the ladder. These ‘airheads’ are taking advantage of the sexualisation of society which has led to erotic capital being incredibly useful.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world people, and according to natural selection, those best equipped for the fight will rise to the top.
I draw the line at attaching false body parts; no false lashes or nails. Although a butt implant is not totally out of the question in the future, as I am sadly lacking in that area.
I am ready to dip into my erotic capital savings and spend, spend, spend. Brazilian hair and shorter hemlines here I come!
*unleashes sexy beast* The world will never be the same again.