A new study indicates that driving a Porsche or engaging in otherwise flashy spending can serve a dual purpose. First, it successfully attracts women. Second, it gives off the distinct impression to women that the owners of such cars are interested only in “short-term mating liaisons.”
In other words, a Porsche is driven by a certain kind of man, and that Porsche attracts a certain kind of woman—and both are presumably OK having flings rather than committed relationships. It’s a match made in heaven, though one that’s not made to last.
The study, titled “Peacocks, Porsches, and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous Consumption as a Sexual Signaling System,” written by marketing and psychology professors from the University of Minnesota, Rice University, and the University of Texas-San Antonio, likens the driving of a Porsche to the flaunting of a brightly colored tail by the male peacock: It’s all about trying to attract women. Only the peacock doesn’t have to drop a few hundred thousand dollars on a sports car.
In the study’s conclusion, the authors state:
Conspicuous consumption was pronounced among men interested in short-term mating liaisons, and perceived accordingly by women.
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In a news release, Daniel Beal, a psychology professor at Rice and co-author of the study, wrote:
“When women considered him for a long-term relationship, owning the sports car held no advantage relative to owning an economy car … People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner, but in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message.”
Or perhaps they’re sending women exactly the message they want to send.