Oh, here I go. Full procrastination mode. Structural Procrastination, I hope though, as it is about an area of research I’m not currently in, but interested in, so of course it feels exciting and fluid, and is probably upping my dopamine release- or something. (No, I don’t do brains all that much, but I have watched Sapolsky on TED, and read somewhere that mere-exposure is related to dopamine release which indicates…. oh, never mind).
But, anyway, I came across this post on the Ev Psych blog.
Ring Wars. She thinks. Well there is where it starts. But, let me back-track.
A month ago or so one of my old students came by and told me of his last student toy – a helium shark you could guide around. Now, I have great appreciation for that kind of toys – at least abstractly. I want a little remote control helicopter, and I long to make the think geek shopping cart less lonely. Alas, my toy budget is limited to actual toys for my actual kids.
But, he emphasized this was a student toy. Grown up toys were Cars and Motor Bikes. Hmmm. Now, I appreciate these things too. But, I don’t really think of Cars and Motor bikes as grown up toys that I would get as soon as I could. I have always loved little sports cars – like Red Porches – but never owned anything remotely like it. Cars are utilities, and should be cheap and reliable in my world until I become obscenely rich, at which point I could indulge.
Motorbikes are donor-cycles in my world. I actually proceeded to tell him about my friend Steve who was not quite Steve anymore after he crashed his bike and hit his fore-head. (This is, incidentally, my argument agains the philosophical thought experiment that supposes one can transplant the cortex from one person to another, and who would that person be then? Well, considering what damage to a small part of cortex can do…). I also told of being on the back of a bike in 100 mph down the Glendale freeway. Appreciate, but not the first on my agenda.
I also thought – how male. Cars and Bikes. What was my…grown-up toys? What did I finally buy when I had money? Clothes. First fabric. Now, that I don’t have time to sew, clothing. Also books and music. But, none of this was really a shift. These were the toys I wanted. And, the place where I put way more money than I actually need is in clothing.
As you see in the article, women’s conspicuous consumption is not well understood. Geoffrey Miller suggested that the clothing and bags and shoes women indulge in are more signalling to other women than to men (who evidently pay no attention to the brand of the heels, but appear to like the heels anyway).
I enjoy clothing immensely, and always have. I loved playing dressup in my moms old ball-gowns (and she had some killer ones. My grandmother was an awesome seamstress). I seriously got into sewing, and got very very good at it. I’ve usually had a large wardrobe, even if I have never had much money. As soon as I could, I realized I should not skimp on fabric quality or pattern quality, because I would simply not like the results. The sewing was also very geared towards me. It was not just sewing. I have done it for others (like my kids and the Aussie and my parents), but it is not always as fun. (Well, the kid stuff was). It is very – decorating myself. Thinking about what would look good, what I could make, how to put it together, and in some ways, what I signal. It really is the one place where I have always cared (and the times I have not cared I have been severely depressed). I have given up on makeup – takes too long time, itches my face, and is no fun anymore when my face is falling. I hardly ever did anything with my hair other than let the yellow tresses fall down my back – occasionally made wavy through braiding (yes, I care about my hair, but in a very Samson way – long and flowing). But clothes. I even have my own laundry basket, so I can launder them carefully.
Now that I don’t have time to sew, I have a favorite designer that I follow, and buy way too many pieces of clothng from. (The optimal number of black skirts is 3 – a short narrow, a long narrow, a long wide – I still have multiples of that, and think I may need some more…). Why, even today her new collection is in the store, and i’m considering going, despite having both the catalog, and a first purchased set.
So, my grown-up toys are more and more expensive clothing.