Financial Benefits of Primping

by Honolulu Mother

This Washington Post article reports that for women, having a groomed and coiffed appearance seems to bring higher pay, well beyond the halo effect of attractiveness in general. I guess that Ipsy subscription isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment.

While men also get an attractiveness bonus, theirs doesn’t hinge so much on grooming per se:

They found that a substantial amount of attractiveness was the result of grooming, and here’s where they found gender differences, Wong says. “For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”

For women, on the other hand, it seems we look disheveled at our peril:

In fact, as the charts below show, less attractive but more well-groomed women earned significantly more, on average, than attractive or very attractive women who weren’t considered well-groomed.

When I picture a senior woman in my field, the look that comes to mind could certainly be described as well-coiffed. I wouldn’t say the men are not well-groomed, though; it may be simply that there’s a lower bar for men to clear there. Totebaggers, do you see this effect in your profession?

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150 thoughts on “Financial Benefits of Primping

  1. I hate these findings, because I am not well-groomed. I also think that “well-groomed” is such a regional thing that it’s hard to know what it means. Ever since I let my hair go gray I think I’m just completely out of the well-groomed competition, Christine LaGarde notwithstanding.

  2. I think that bonus points for being well groomed is better than bonus points for attractiveness (or height). At least I can control how well groomed I am.

  3. I think “well-groomed” is harder to do when you’re overweight. Many years ago I saw two fast-food workers walk past me. They were wearing identical uniforms, but the thin one looked tidy and well-groomed and the fat one looked sloppy, because the uniform pulled and bulged and hitched up oddly. That was eye-opening to me.

  4. This is what I’ve told DH. I might spend $100+ to get my hair cut and colored instead of going all frugalwood, but it is an investment in my career.

  5. And Rocky, I think you can go gray and still be ‘well groomed”

    agree that it is easier for thin women

  6. Definitely in my industry. I’d say attractiveness is entirely irrelevant, but presenting an image of “I have my shit together” is critical. Non-scuffed shoes, clothes that fit properly, hair that is maintained (I don’t necessarily mean colored, but maintained). Being well organized with personal property (purse, papers, etc). It’s amazing the wide variation when I go to meetings/conferences, but certainly the women who are pulled together are the ones running the show.

  7. Agree that this is important but I don’t see too many schlubby guys being successful either. In my field you need to look put together because you’re dealing with donors and there needs to be a certain level of sophistication.

  8. What counts as grooming for guys? If we include gym time, I’d say a guy can put as much time and effort into looking good as a women.

  9. @Lark – I agree completely. “Having your shit together” is always a good look, and I feel like that is more of what this is getting at than “wearing makeup”. Clothes that fit & are reasonably put together, nails that are not ragged (don’t need to be manicured), hair that is in some sort of a style, etc.

    I think it’s easier to look put together if you are thin, absolutely. But ill-fitting clothes are bad for anyone – they are just especially bad for chubby women. Of course, there are people who assume that anyone overweight couldn’t possibly have their shit together or else they would be thin.

    @RMS – You’re nuts. You are well-groomed!

  10. What counts as grooming for guys?

    I think it’s the same thing. Looking like your appearance is somewhat intentional – clothes that fit & are not worn out, neat fingernails, facial hair that is intentional (e.g., doesn’t look like you were just too lazy to shave), looking like you’ve showered, keeping hair trimmed whatever the style, lack of BO.

    Of course different industries have different standards, but some of the basics don’t really change. WCE will say that engineering is different, but I don’t know that it’s acceptable in engineering to be a smelly dude with worn out dirty clothes and raggedly chewed up fingernails either. Just like it’s okay to have a beard & tattoos and wear casual clothing in my industry, but it should still look intentional.

  11. I find that the older I get, the more important it feels to me to be well dressed, well groomed, etc. I turn 50 this year and I do worry about ageism. I view clothes etc. as more of an investment in my career than I did 15-20 years ago.

  12. Pulled together is very regional – from hair to makeup to clothing to shoes. However, a few things transcend – clothing should be clean, in good condition, and fit; hair and body should be clean (or at least appear clean and not smell); and your choices should be age and event appropriate (this is the one that is much more region/industry dependent, but there are still known limits).

  13. I agree that showering, wearing deodorant, and appropriate dress are important in nearly every field. I can’t see the paper, so I don’t know what fields were studied, but I am curious how much of the correlation is accounted for because people choose to dress better as they move up in their careers, and also what fields were considered. If I consider the most common fields for women,
    1) Teachers are paid based on years of experience and degree attained. Any correlation with grooming is not causality.
    2) Nurses and doctors often wear scrubs. People who want to be in medical administrator roles may be better groomed and paid, but that’s because of the role they choose, not because their grooming influences their pay.
    3) Women “of a certain age” in academia/research have more money/time to prepare and so dress better. My manager friends and an optometrist friend have talked about how when their kids were young, they were lucky to wear matching shoes to work. I dye my hair (time, a little money) and buy better shoes than I used to. I will be buying more expensive clothes if/when I decide they are worth it. I may get a real haircut (vs. Mr WCE cutting it) when I don’t wear a fab bouffant at work and have to get a babysitter to get my hair cut at a shop.

    Without seeing the paper, I remain unconvinced that they haven’t uncovered a correlation rather than a causation. (especially outside fields like business, law and marketing, where the judgy women congregate)

    I agree that body shape/type is a huge factor for women. I think people preferentially ask me for directions to the university-associated building on our corporate campus and I don’t know if it’s because I look friendly, am female, have a body-type that makes people assume I’m a student or if it’s all my imagination.

  14. WCE will say that engineering is different

    Maybe not for guys in their 20s but at least in software engineering it can be fiercely ageist. If you get laid off at 50 the less you look like this:

    And the more you look like this:

    The easier it will be to get a job.

  15. “business, law and marketing, where the judgy women congregate” — Hm, well, I’d say judgy about appearance, at least.

    I’ve seen that attractive people often have a professional advantage in the fields I’ve worked. The grooming part also plays a role. No question in my mind.

  16. Looks, clothing and quality of grooming matter in my industry in my city. There could definitely be fewer promotions or lower comp increases if you don’t look the part. I don’t think it would be obvious, but how you look in front of internal and external constituents does matter.

    I spent a lot of time last month as the parent representative for teacher and administrator interviews. The looks are different, but it came up more than once when deciding whether to call someone back for the final observation.
    Low cut shirts, or too casual was a negative. They cared about young teachers that fidgeted with their hair or bra straps too. Also, too much makeup came up a couple of times.

    It wouldn’t have ruled out a candidate, but it was a contributing factor.

  17. CoC, agree that I should have emphasized “judgy about appearance.” I wrote too casually.

  18. I agree with Rhett about appearance in the two guys above.

    For me, as a young professional trying to prove oneself, clothes mattered more and in general people dressed up more. Now, in my 50s, dress pants, a nice top and, now that it is summer, sandals are perfectly fine for 98% of the times I physically go into the office. The other 2% of the time, add a jacket or make it a dress and wear pumps and I’m good to go.

    I will say that any time I have changed jobs or been in situations where I felt that I needed to “prove” my abilities, I would dress up a bit more. At one time where I lived I ran into many colleagues in the grocery store, at the gym, at the bank after work hours and on weekends. I tended to be more careful about how I dressed as I felt even my “relaxed” weekend look reflected on their perception of my professional life.

  19. Back in late 60’s a study was done on service at upscale shopping venues. They sent the same women into stores – once in around the house clothes, no makeup and hair not totally groomed and then dressed for the City – There was a great disparity in service between the two trips. I always try to look my best when I go out to shop and to Doctors. I have found that I command more respect and help when I am properly dressed.

  20. For guys, having a muscular, athletic physique is definitely helpful. I see professional looking guys working out at the gym all the time. Does time and money spent in the gym count as grooming?

  21. I wish we could see the original data with pictures – what counts as well-groomed? And the bias inherent in “Interviewers also rated their interviewees on how attractive and how well-groomed they appeared” is problematic – are the interviewers representative of society at large or only of sociologists? :)

    I agree that well-groomed doesn’t count as much for men, but if I am speaking for myself, I’m more likely to give a referral to someone who is non-skeezy, and I include in that definition being reasonably well-groomed.

  22. Rhett, your photos of the older software guys are spot on. When my Dh was looking back around 2006, he made sure to discuss his marathon running hobby, and to look older-dude-hip. It must have helped because he found a good position very quickly.

  23. I definitely dress better and wear makeup when I go on campus. Research shows that for both men and women, students give better scores on evaluations to better dressed, thin, attractive professors. (they also give better scores to men overall, and to whites compared to blacks or Asians, but don’t get me started on the bias inherent in student evaluations)

  24. When my Dh was looking back around 2006, he made sure to discuss his marathon running hobby, and to look older-dude-hip.

    Yeah, we’re all going for the “amazing wealth of experience in the field” look rather than the “past it, counting the days till retirement” look.

    And of course a couple of decades ago I was going for the “yes I am definitely a grown-up professional who is worth my hourly fee” look rather than the “she looks just like one of my teenage daughter’s friends dressed up for student elections!” look.

  25. Maybe part of it is definition of what “well-groomed” is. I have a wool coat and a North Face rain coat that I wear almost interchangeably in the winter. When I look at East Coast centric blogs of what is OK to wear, they are heavy on black and sleeveless, and a camel-colored trench coat would probably be more appropriate than a brightly colored raincoat. I don’t know whether being better dressed would result in better service, but when I see someone wearing a North Face raincoat and Columbia hiking pants, I don’t think “poorly dressed”.

    My job requires that I wear low heeled, closed-toe, closed heel shoes and I’m usually the only one with that shoe style at childcare pickups. I’m wearing mostly Naturalizer slip-ons right now because I have to take my shoes off and on when I drop off/pick up Baby WCE from childcare. I don’t wear sleeveless clothes because I tend to be cold. None of the cheap maternity options would fit in at my workplace (too tight, too see-thru, too low-cut) so I ended up borrowing tunic sweaters from a friend. In short, my choices are practical within the limits of what I think is OK for my environments.

    In typing this, I think I’ve decided that well-groomed is another of life’s threshold variables, where staying out of the bottom 20% gets you 80% of the return. In Rhett’s pictures, I’m not guy #1, but I’m not guy #2 either.

  26. “In Rhett’s pictures, I’m not guy #1, but I’m not guy #2 either.”

    same here

  27. I think it also matters if what you do is client-facing. My organization has a lot of people who work on the phones and/or process a large volume of documents and IT people – either mail or email and getting them into the correct electronic folder/format. These folks dress pretty much in jeans and nicer t’shirts with either some atheltic-type shoe or sandals (rarely flip flops unless they are lady nicer ones). Contrast that with roughly the same number of the legal assistants, receptionist and those in the similar pay grades – nice pants and shirts, skirts, dress shoes (men and women) – who see the clients/customers.

  28. “when I see someone wearing a North Face raincoat and Columbia hiking pants, I don’t think “poorly dressed”.”

    I wouldn’t either in a lot of places. Definitely not at the grocery store. And I definitely wear my raincoat & rainboots to/from work when there is rain in the forecast. I also switch shoes at the office, so at school drop off & the elevator ride up, I am often wearing gym shoes, winter boots, or some other practical footwear.

  29. The worst groomed professionals I know of are actually not the academic folks (though they are not great) but medical professionals. I think it is because they wear scrubs all the time, and are always on the go. I always remember the nurses at MSKCC alll had hair kind of pinned up randomly, with strands sticking out oddly. The doctors, both male and female, looked kind of professorial.

  30. Columbia hiking pants would not even cut it on my campus, let alone in a NY financial company or law firm!! I realize my campus is very professionally dressed compared to most campuses.

  31. Austin – I am often appalled at what our legal assistants wear, but I suppose it presents a greater contrast when the lawyers are all wearing blazers or suits. ;)

    I definitely dress for the weather, but if I am going to a meeting or event in the winter, I wear my nice wool coat and not my Patagonia parka, and I wear appropriate boots and change into work shoes at the venue.

  32. “I don’t know whether being better dressed would result in better service, but when I see someone wearing a North Face raincoat and Columbia hiking pants, I don’t think “poorly dressed”.”

    That’s well dressed, for running around or shopping purposes IMO. Certainly a name brand like North Face is better than the JC Penney version.

    Accompanying photos would have been helpful for this article.

  33. The acquaintance who works with major donors for the university dresses well. She is the only one who meets the standards you are describing for “client-facing”, but she is also the most “client-facing”.

    Part of local standards may be what is locally available for shopping. My optometrist friend shopped at local stores when she had to make childcare pickup but now I think she shops at Nordstrom’s, which is a trip to Portland. It hasn’t changed her insurance reimbursement rates for optometry.

    I agree that Mooshi’s campus sounds unique. When she has discussed her fashion limitations, I’ve thought about all the well-regarded land grant schools I knew engineering coops from, and none of them had high standards for professors.

  34. I don’t think we are unique. I think we are typical of NYC, and private schools. My first school was an engineering oriented R1 in the metro area. My department was all male, heavily Asian, and they mainly dressed in black or gray suits. OTOH, at my grad school, also R1 engineering but out in rural New England, the largely male professors wore jeans. However, the one woman in the department at that time, who had done her PhD at CUNY, wore beautifully tailored suits.

  35. It hasn’t changed her insurance reimbursement rates for optometry.

    The more likely metric would be patient volume.

  36. Rhett, making more money because you choose to see more patients (vs. working part-time because you have 3 kids) is not a function of grooming.

    Mooshi, your comment about private colleges made me look at our local prestigious private. Only the physics department had faculty photos, at a quick glance. http://www.reed.edu/physics/faculty/

  37. “I agree that Mooshi’s campus sounds unique. When she has discussed her fashion limitations, I’ve thought about all the well-regarded land grant schools I knew engineering coops from, and none of them had high standards for professors.”

    I think our professors felt similar standards to what Mooshi described, but that probably is to be expected when all of your students are wearing ties to class.

  38. the Mathematical physics professor looks like he is pondering a complicated formula

  39. At my old job, there was a recently-departed employee that everyone seemed disdainful of. I would ask “what was wrong with him?” and people would say, “oh, he was too academic”. Well, that made me nervous, since I spent time in academia. Finally I cornered a coworker and asked “What does everyone mean that James was ‘too academic’?” and she said, “well, he didn’t bathe regularly and his clothes weren’t clean and he smelled.” Made me want to ask everyone where the hell they’d gone to college such that that was their view of “academics”.

  40. Rhett, making more money because you choose to see more patients (vs. working part-time because you have 3 kids) is not a function of grooming.

    But patients returning to you and keeping you as one of their health care providers very well could be.

    My primary care physician is one of the most impeccably pulled together women I know. Always in a simple sheath dress, with boots or flats, and a perfectly crisp white coat that fits her just right. She exudes capability. I have no basis for evaluating her medical skills, but just the way she presents herself inspires confidence. This, I think, is much of what the article alludes to.

  41. WCE – It looks like on the Reed page, a number of the guys in T-shirts used pictures that were probably on their phones and taken when they were out hiking.

    I only see one such example here (that’s not a lab technician), and for the pics apparently taken at work, jackets and/or ties are much more common:

    http://www.usna.edu/PhysicsDepartment/Faculty.php

  42. I suspect that looking pulled-together is more of a patient volume factor in areas where there aren’t wait lists to see a medical provider, period. I remember talking to my Mom about something ~3 months out, and her telling me she couldn’t do it because she had a dental appointment, and I said, “Just call and reschedule” and she responded, “But they won’t have a slot for 6 months.”

  43. Rhett, making more money because you choose to see more patients (vs. working part-time because you have 3 kids) is not a function of grooming.

    The ability to see more patients if you so chose certainly is.

  44. I don’t think it is unique to Mooshi’s university. Business school professors dress in business attire, or business casual to teach classes when I visit schools to recruit.

  45. Why doesn’t Reed spring for a photographer to take faculty headshots once in awhile? They are just allowed to use whatever is sitting around? Is this typical of university websites?

  46. I’ve done my best to step up my game since starting this job. There are days I dress more professionally than my boss, and days where I don’t. It really depends on my day – do I have a meeting, where the meeting is located, etc.

    I have a good friend who is a researcher with the EPA. She always calls my business pants/skirts my “big girl clothes”. She has 1 suit because the EPA is very casual. She usually wears jeans or dresses with leggings and cute shoes. I, on the other hand, am usually in dress pants/skirt and a shirt. I usually wear flats because I’m too lazy to wear heels.

    For my field, I’m quite well dressed. But I would never pass muster in a lot of the situations described here. I rarely wear make up and never do my hair.

  47. Ivy – Reed’s photos are pretty standard from my experience. My grad school hired a photographer to take pictures of everyone who worked at the place in front of this pretty art installation. It worked wonders to increase the visibility of the website and make it look very professional.

  48. “My grad school hired a photographer to take pictures of everyone who worked at the place in front of this pretty art installation. It worked wonders to increase the visibility of the website and make it look very professional.”

    My suspicion is that many academics would think that’s somewhat beneath them. They’re learned thinkers, not real estate brokers.

  49. Reed is famous as a hippie school. I would not expect their faculty to be in anything more than a Tshirt (unless maybe a tie dyed Tshirt). Reed is not a typical school.

  50. Why doesn’t Reed spring for a photographer to take faculty headshots once in awhile?

    Why would they, they’ve captured exactly the look they were going for? Look at Jonny Powell with the crazy hair and the soccer jersey or Lucas with the pony tail. They look exactly how physicist should look.

  51. The Harvard photos look like the photos that all research people keep for use in journal publications. Most likely Harvard just asked for those rather than take their own photos.

  52. I didn’t click through all of the Harvard ones, but I did half a dozen, and they look to be mostly professional looking shots with thoughtful backdrops. Not blurry photos from someone’s iPhone from a vacation.

    This guy isn’t wearing a suit, but he’s got a plain white backdrop.
    https://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/demler

    This guy looks to be in a lab – fine, he’s a biologist. And that shot wouldn’t be possible on an iPhone with the blue, dimly lit background and properly lit face.
    https://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/desai

    I’m sure that there are some academics who would find a photo shoot beneath them, but that’s what the annoying administration is for – to send someone to their lab & force them to do it.

  53. I’ll admit I picked Reed because it’s the opposite of what I imagine Mooshi and Lauren have for fashion standards. I would have to change my wardrobe to live where they do.

  54. Yale Physics professor or “People of Walmart”?

    Only one of the Yale profs is over weight.

  55. The vast majority of the CalTech photos were clearly taken by someone with a real camera that knows how to use it though.

  56. MM,

    Do you think the just had one day designated as Picture Day with one hapless administrator trying the herd the cats into a jacket and tie?

  57. There is a distinction between pictures taken for client facing sites and internally like our directory at my workplace. Anything posted to to the outside world looks professional. Internally it is a mix, some people have pictures with suit and tie, others in their business casual with varying backgrounds. It throws me off to see colleagues who look very different from their pictures. If people change their looks they ought to update their pictures.

  58. One of the things about being a lawyer who works in the same small town where I live is that I am constantly running into clients and professional contacts during what should be my “off” time. So I try to look somewhat presentable at all times, even when I don’t feel like it. At a minimum, I put on some lipstick and mascara, earrings, and a decent outfit, even if I’m just going to the gym or the supermarket.

    When I started my firm, I spent a fair amount of money getting a really good photographer to take headshots for my website, and I got my hair done professionally the day of the photo shoot. Based on feedback I’ve received, this was money well spent. People hire me largely based on their first impressions of me, so a decent photo definitely helps make a good first impression.

  59. Change in hair color threw me off. I was to meet a senior manager. In her picture she had jet black hair. When I met her it was brown to blonde. Another guy was much younger than his picture suggested….all such things.

  60. I do love looking at realtor pictures. They always look so nice but interchangeable.

  61. I am not client facing, and can get away with s wide variety of clothes, but since I work near our VP I try to look put together even when I’m casual. When I go to our California offices I typically dress up more. At the more casual location, I noticed that people really deferred to me. Little things like going to the break room or the elevators, if someone was approaching from another direction they always slowed down to let me go first.

    Lately, I’ve been pretty casual going shopping. Perhaps I should put a little more effort out. But it’s hot!!

  62. Come to think of it, I wonder how long I can get away with using the photo on my firm’s website. It’s four years old now. At some point, I suppose I will need to get a new photo that reflects the sad reality that I am aging. :(

  63. “or these? (click through slide show)”

    What do you mean? Those guys are all wearing ties.

    I think what it comes down to is doctors and professors and engineers aren’t typically hustling for more business, and their professional credentials are already established somehow.

  64. My grad school likes to use the “first day of our first year at grad school” photos and compare to one taken at the end. The PhD students never believed they looked that young ever. It’s like looking at baby photos. Fair enough – most spend 5-8 years at the school during a time when people change a lot.

    My photo had me in field clothes (complete with my undergrad alma mater t-shirt) with long hair and my final one had me in a blue sweater, looking rather adult-ish with my shoulder length long-layers and highlights. It was 8 years apart and like looking in a time capsule.

  65. I took DD to pediatric dentist and orthodontist. Several dentists in the office and theyre dressed up with white jackets. The make dentist had a tie. Only the hygienists in dental uniforms.

    Most of my male doctors in the city and burbs wear ties in their office. Women in dresses or pantsuits with heels or boots. I spend A LOT of time in doctor offices and hospitals all over the metro area with parents and in laws. Unless it’s in a hospital, the doctors generally look like they could be in a bank or law office.

  66. Our ped dentist wears scrubs and has wild hair. We are actually good friends with her – knew her from the daycare days.

    When my DS1 was a newborn, he was admitted to a major pediatric teaching hospital for severe jaundice. My DH and I, in our 30’s at the time, were completely shocked when we saw the residents. “They’re teenagers!” my DH exclaimed. And indeed, that is what they looked like. They were so young, and the women were all in short little skirts and the kind of heels teen girls wear. The guys all had polos under their lab coats, and looked like boys. That is when we realized we were truly middle aged. We still joke about it.

  67. I just took a look at DH’s department website, and the photos are pretty good. Mostly headshots, so you can’t see their entire outfits, but the women could all appear on a law firm website, as could many of the men. Other departments at the university are far less professionally attired, both on their websites and in person.

  68. “I’ll admit I picked Reed because it’s the opposite of what I imagine Mooshi and Lauren have for fashion standards.”

    DS’ CC told us that Reed has a clothing-optional policy.

  69. “When my DS1 was a newborn, he was admitted to a major pediatric teaching hospital for severe jaundice. My DH and I, in our 30’s at the time, were completely shocked when we saw the residents. “They’re teenagers!” my DH exclaimed. And indeed, that is what they looked like.”

    Almost all of the flight crews look like teenagers to me!

  70. “Business school professors dress in business attire, or business casual to teach classes when I visit schools to recruit.”

    Perhaps they know when you’ll be visiting.

  71. “Maybe it was like Senior Portrait Day where the photographer drapes a mock tuxedo over everyone.”

    Perhaps they should get one of those photo cutouts with a suit and tie, and the profs can just stick their heads in for their photos.

    I’ve visited a lot of tourist sites recently.

  72. At every school I have ever been to, the business school profs (and the law school profs) teach in suits. Even at schools where the engineers wear jeans.

  73. I think good grooming can signal sexual availability – which is why it matters for women and not so much for men. A friend in med school was above average looks – homecoming court, but not queen. There were a few in the class who were model beautiful. However, Homecoming Princess was impeccably groomed – hair blown out, meticulous makeup, good shoes – all the time. This was coming right out of the nineties and most of us were still wearing ill-fitted pants and sloppy sweaters. It always took me by surprise how much attention she got everywhere we went – men slowing down their cars to ask if she would come to a party (it was a college town). She looked available. I’ve not had that experience with other people who I think are objectively more attractive.

  74. I don’t wear scrubs, and I think dressing somewhat professionally helps with my patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction matters financially, as well as for my job security. (As MM noted above for teacher evaluations, a lot of things matter for our evaluations that shouldn’t – race, age, accent, gender).

  75. That NC State picture sort of looks like they want to say that our professors are approachable, an average Joe/Jane type look. There also seems to be sort of a team approach, instead of scrolling through each picture you get to see everyone at a glance first and can scroll through if you wish.

  76. A recruiter relative was telling me the other day how important LinkedIn headshots are. In his specialty, he won’t even talk to someone who doesn’t have a photo on their profile, and it better be a good one. Another relative has a side business of doing headshots, primarily for people in show business. It’s relatively inexpensive to get a few good headshots to use professionally. Of course I see some good amateur photos, even selfies, that seem to do the trick.

    It’s a shame we have to age, and sometimes the difference between a photo only a few years old and seeing someone in person can be shocking. Those filters do wonders.

  77. I remember the movie Working Girl, and how the Melanie Griffith character dressed as an assistant and then as a professional. I’ve seen this in every place I’ve worked, and I tried to dress appropriately. Here’s the 1980s version of before and after.

  78. This blog has made me laugh today. It’s nice to know that y’all look to physics and engineering professors to set the standards for professional attire.

  79. I think it’s past time for the government to back off and allow open season on gators:

    The American alligator population in the United States “reached all-time lows in the 1950s, primarily due to market-hunting and habitat loss,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But in 1987, the alligator — a member of the crocodile family — “was pronounced fully recovered, making it one of the first endangered species success stories,” according to the government.

    Still, the American alligator is a federally protected species, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which notes:

    Although the American alligator is secure, some related animals — such as several species of crocodiles and caimans — are still in trouble. For this reason, the Fish and Wildlife Service continues to protect the alligator under the ESA classification as “threatened due to similarity of appearance.” The Service thus regulates the harvest of alligators and legal trade in the animals, their skins, and products made from them, as part of efforts to prevent the illegal take and trafficking of endangered “look-alike” reptiles.

    In Florida, the American alligator is listed as “a species of special concern,” according to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which notes that “state law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators” — though the state does have three programs “for harvesting alligators from the wild.”

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that though alligators fall under federal protections, state-approved management and control programs permit those with proper licenses to take them.

  80. Did y’all see the story of alligator taking kid at Disney World last night ?

  81. Ivy – you’re in Chicago, right? This is crazy short notice, but I’m heading there today for a bookish thing tonight (6:30) at TBS in Winnetka, then staying downtown. Any chance either of those is anywhere near you? As ssk can attest, when I do these things in places where I don’t know anyone, it’s usually a pretty empty house–I’m in a different stratosphere from the people who can attract a crowd of complete strangers. So, if you happened to stop by the bookstore, we’d have lots of time to chat b/c it’s likely no one else will be there! :) Eleventh hour, so completely understand if it doesn’t work out. Silly not to have thought of it before.

  82. “Did y’all see the story of alligator taking kid at Disney World last night?”

    It’s all anyone wants to talk about at work. That’s how I came across the article I posted.

  83. Milo – I thought you mentioned staying at that hotel/lagoon in one your posts on Disney but can’t recall.

  84. We stayed in that hotel. I lived in Florida for a while due to work. I went to several developments where my friends and colleagues lived all over the west coast and central Florida. The reality is that there are gators all over the place. I’ve seen them walking on the grass near little streams or ponds in small condo developments.

    This is a very tragic story, but if there is water in Florida – there might be a gator.
    I feel terrible for this family.

  85. We stayed at Contemporary twice and Wilderness Lodge once, both of which are on that lagoon. We never did anything on the beaches only because it’s generally hot and humid, and we preferred the pools. Only from reading the articles, I understand that swimming was prohibited at the beaches, but the kid was just wading a few feet in.

    Seriously, these things have got to go. They’re running rampant like the deer around here, except they’ll kill you. If I lived anywhere with gators, I’d buy a gun and shoot any that I saw. As WCE has pointed out many times, there are laws, and there are enforceable laws.

  86. ““They’re teenagers!” my DH exclaimed. And indeed, that is what they looked like.”

    MM – When DS was in the NICU, a friend came to visit me. We were chatting while DS slept in the isolette. His pediatric dentist came in to check his mouth. She exchanged pleasantries with us and was off. My friend looks at me astonished and says “they sure grow them young!”

    When I finally found out the dentist’s age, I nearly fell over. She was mid 20s. I felt very old that day.

  87. I’ve stayed at that resort. Iirc the lagoon is not for swimming but only for boating. Unbelievably sad accident for that family.

  88. On gators – a friend of mine teaches in a town outside Orlando. A gator once *got into the school*. It wandered through an open door about an hour before the students got there. One of the admins asked my friend to get rid of it, like the gator was her pet. My friend called the police instead.

  89. I know alligators are around in Florida, but I wouldn’t expect there to be any in this lagoon in Disney. (I haven’t been to Disney since I was a kid) Apparently it isn’t uncommon for alligators to be on Disney grounds.

    There was a no swimming sign, but the kid was only wading a foot in it said.

    Very sad.

    Hopefully after this, they will put up signs to watch for alligators.

  90. Milo,

    They’re running rampant like the deer around here, except they’ll kill you.

    You’re 130x more likely to be killed by a dear than a gator.

  91. “You’re 130x more likely to be killed by a deer than a gator.”

    Not directly.

    This would be me:

  92. Milo,

    Dragged into a lagoon, having a deer come
    sailing through your windshield, you’re dead either way.

  93. Has anybody else watched the first 2 parts (of 5) of the OJ documentary? We’ve been watching because we lived in LA during that time, certainly not because of any love of OJ, and, besides which, I went to college at the other school, the one in the good neighborhood.

    Gotta tell you, we would watch the 11pm news every night and hear about all the gang violence, the arrests, claims of police brutality and their other bad behavior, and pretty much think nothing of it. That stuff was not happening in our part(s) of the city. Looking back, it is amazing to see how bad it was for the blacks in LA.

    (Oh, and in the first part, there was some time spent on how bad it was for the blacks in SF…shunted off to public housing on Potrero Hill and treated about the same way as blacks in LA. Not really to the same degree, but similar).

  94. And we cull deer populations when they get too big.

    Seriously, it’s a little snide to equate a car accident with deer to a baby getting eaten by an alligator.

  95. When I visited the Everglades this winter, there were alligators lying about everywhere. They would move out of the way of the trams, but otherwise they looked like large rubber toys. Families with kids spread out their picnic lunch right next to one, and it never moved. The tour guide told us that there had been one incident in which a child was grabbed by an alligator, but his parents managed to pull him to safety and he survived. No fatal attacks since the park was established in the 1960’s — the guide claimed it was because of the strict rules against feeding them. There were some warning signs, but nothing sufficiently alarming IMO as a totebag lawyer mom.

    What a horrible horrible tragedy. Perhaps it will lead to a more sensible attitude towards the alligator menace.

  96. There are alligators all over the place where we live. We frequently have to stop our car because an alligator is crossing the road. I have had to turn and run in another direction because an alligator is sunning himself on the sidewalk where I run. There have been numerous incidents of alligators getting pets. I’m all for allowing more hunting of them, but right now they can only be removed if they are classified as “nuisance.”

  97. “Dragged into a lagoon, having a deer come
    sailing through your windshield, you’re dead either way.”

    yes, but a deer is only a threat while driving, it won’t stalk you and eat you

  98. the stats per Google

    130 people killed across the U.S. by deer, almost exclusively because drivers hit the deer with their cars.

    53 people die each year in the U.S. because of an allergic reaction from being stung.

    The statistics, which go back to 1948, show that the highest number of people killed by alligators in one year was 3

  99. me too, and something about it happening at Disney really strikes me, because I can imagine us saving the money to take this wonderful, magical family trip and have it end in nightmare

  100. Just need to vent to you guys. Town inspector will not guarantee that he will get to our house in time for our closing next week. But we have waived contingencies on the new house so we will still need to close on our new house or lose our 5%. ARGH. This brings us into scary territory like bridge loans or loans from our IRAs. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I am almost past anxiety at this point and just resigned to the fact that we will be both homeless and poor.

  101. I’m never going to Florida again.

    Don’t deer also live in a substantial part of the country whereas alligators are limited to the swampier areas near the Gulf?

    @Risley – yes I am! Winnetka is not that close to me but it’s doable – I am close to the Loop. Unfortunately, Dh has plans tonight, so I can’t easily get out. Dang! Let me know next time you are here because I would love to come fill in the bookstore & grab a drink!

  102. USA TODAYVerified account ‏@USATODAY 1h1 hour ago
    #PrayforOakland is trending because a shooting at a vigil in Oakland has left one teen dead and three others injured

  103. But we have waived contingencies on the new house so we will still need to close on our new house or lose our 5%.

    What position are the sellers of your new house in? Maybe they are behind in their packing and would love a two week extension or their new house also has a delayed closing?

  104. Rhett – hmm. Could work. Sellers do not really need to sell (they are rich and have other houses etc.) and I do think they are behind in their packing. I am hoping the buyers of our house will still want to close, because they have already closed (this week) on the house they are selling and are homeless until they move into our house.

  105. Risley- you need to come to Carmichaels in Louisville or come to Indianapolis!

  106. We have a lot of deer. I must disagree with people hitting deer. In the past year, I have seen two deer t-bone cars. The first time it was the car just ahead of me. Thankfully, I could move over into the next lane or the deer would have been on my windshield.

    I agree that deer do not look at people as prey. My understanding about Florida is that if you have water that isn’t clorinate (or similar treatment), that it is almost impossible to prevent a gator from deciding it should call that place home. I am not sure how Disney could have fully prevented it, but it seems that considering the unfamiliarity their guests are likely to have with gators that they would have warnings posted, etc.

  107. agree Austin, sometimes the deer hits the car!

    “but it seems that considering the unfamiliarity their guests are likely to have with gators that they would have warnings posted, etc.”

    +1

  108. I was surprised to see an alligator last fall when we were at Disney. It was hanging out in some shallow water a few feet from the main boardwalk. Near where you board the boat to Tom Sawyer’s Island, but not in that big body of water. It was separated by the hundred thousand people in the park by a 4 foot tall thin wood fence. I remember thinking, “They really must not ever bother anyone if Disney doesn’t mind that they’re so close to all these people”

  109. “Near where you board the boat to Tom Sawyer’s Island”

    Ada – This gator’s about to be hunted down like Injun Joe.

  110. what are the bear stats? I don’t hike in girzzly territory because I am petrified of bears!

  111. “what are the bear stats? I don’t hike in girzzly territory because I am petrified of bears!”

    I’m so not scared of anything furry. It’s the reptiles that I’m terrified of. The gators should have left with the dinosaurs.

  112. “I think it’s past time for the government to back off and allow open season on gators:”

    Not to be heartless, but maybe if the Endangered Species Act starts hurting the populated east, maybe there might be some impetus to reform it.

  113. @Milo – I’m with you. I have never been an nervous hiking in the West as I have hiking in Florida. I don’t even care if it is logical, but alligators and giant and/or poisonous snakes scare the bejeezus out of me.

  114. Business profs wear suits? Maybe on the east coast but at Cal 20 years ago they didn’t.

  115. “sometimes the deer hits the car!”

    A friend in northern CA told me about the time he and a friend went hunting, but didn’t shoot anything. On their way home, a deer ran into their car.

  116. “You’re 130x more likely to be killed by a dear than a gator.”

    My guess is that domestic violence is more likely than that.

  117. “My guess is that domestic violence is more likely than that.”

    This really challenges the definition of “*you’re* more likely.” Domestic violence is not evenly distributed.

    I would also think that deer collisions disproportionately harm motorcyclists.

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