back to article Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)

If you're male, and splash your cash on fast cars and shiny things, then those around you likely think you're more interested in a short-term fling than something more romantic, according to a new study. The study, published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, took a group of diverse US undergraduate students and presented …


  1. Whitter


    This research actually got published?

    Is there a meta-trial going on behind-the-scenes seeing how far stuff like this travels?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: WTF?

      Wouldn't it be great to do an equivalent spoof with outrageously sexist women stereotypes. Perhaps linked to skirt length or neckline?

      1. kilgore trout

        Re: WTF?

        Actually - Mythbusters did that. They wanted to know whether guys' attractiveness was judged by the size of their wallets and women by physical features. Turns out yes in both cases

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        "Wouldn't it be great to do an equivalent spoof with outrageously sexist women stereotypes. Perhaps linked to skirt length or neckline?"

        I thought that was what Essex in the '90s was about!

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    What a pile of old bollocks.

    See title.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a pile of old bollocks.

      I was thinking Tripe, but Bollocks will do.

  3. Toltec

    Funded by a car manufacturer by any chance?

    Blowing the entire budget on a new car does not make fiscal sense, buy something a few years old that has taken the main depreciation hit, but should still be reliable. You can always get a make with a long warranty if you know nothing about cars and don't really care what you drive, then pocket the remaining cash to cover repairs or buy something else if not needed.

    Depends if you want to be attractive to intelligent women of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funded by a car manufacturer by any chance?

      Exactly. Why do you have to either spend your whole budget on the car, or on a cheaper car plus a bunch of silly upgrades? Where's the third option, for buying a cheaper car and banking the rest in case you need repairs or for vacations or whatever if you don't?

      Anyway, I wouldn't buy a used car so old it doesn't have some warranty left, so you'd be able to figure out pretty quickly if you've landed a lemon without fixing it out of pocket. If you have a lemon, sell it, take the loss, and try again - that's why you spend less than the whole wad on the car!

    2. Scoured Frisbee

      Re: Funded by a car manufacturer by any chance?

      Anybody have recent research on new car depreciation? I was shopping for a Camry (US) a few years ago; after straight-line depreciating for mileage the used cars were 10-20% more expensive than the new offers from Toyota, not even accounting for better interest rates. In fact for most of the slightly used vehicles I found (<3 years / 30kmi) they were -in asking price- more expensive than the Toyota new prices.

      I've driven old and fixable cars forever (mostly old Mercedes and Volvos) but shopping for a newish reliable one made me second guess the common wisdom. Now that cars are basically odd-shaped computer cases I'm not sure if it was a weird market thing or a new trend, hence would appreciate any pointers to reliable recent surveys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funded by a car manufacturer by any chance?

        Depreciation is heavily dependent on brand, and historic reliability data which often can only be inferred in hindsight (i.e. a brand with a good rep for reliability will still have a few lemons)

        In the US, gas prices have a major effect - if gas spikes to $4+ per gallon again, the value of used SUVs will plummet, if it dropped below $2 per gallon they would be worth much more and the value of extremely fuel efficient and electric cars would drop.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        @ScouredFrisbee Re: I was shopping for a Camry

        This is a Public Service Announcement for everyone who is considering the purchase of a 2018 model Toyota Camry:

        Raise your ambitions

  4. MJI Silver badge

    What cars people buy depends on a lot

    If you are a fan of machines or not.

    If you like sporty cars you will try to get one.

    Just because someone is boring does not mean they are more likely to stick around.

  5. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Gender bias...

    It's quite telling that the "research" was only about men buying cars..

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Gender bias...

      Yes , can we have another experiment about women and £3000 handbags?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gender bias...

        Just in, women with £3000 handbags are knee deep in balls.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Gender bias...

          Just in, men wouldn't notice a £3,000 if it slapped them in the face [1], and it is no more important than the day of the week it's owner was born in determining whether or not to ask her out.

          [1] They would notice that they had been slapped in the face by a handbag, but they wouldn't know the difference between a £3,000 designer bag and a £5 Primark bag.

          BTW my bag cost about £60. That's the sort of money you need to spend to get something that doesn't fall to bits.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gender bias...

            Here's an idea, why not buy clothes with pockets? Then you wouldn't need a bag.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: Gender bias...

              My bag contains a lot more than the typical male pocket contents of keys, wallet, travel card + phone.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Gender bias...

                "My bag contains a lot more than the typical male pocket contents of keys, wallet, travel card + phone."

                So does my wife's. She also complains of it being too heavy. I think it might contain a mini-black hole or at least a moderately sized anvil.

                1. Hazmoid

                  Re: Gender bias...

                  My wife's bag is nicknamed "The Leather Brick" because getting hit by it would be like getting hit by a brick. She also complains of neck pain because of the weight of it.

          2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

            Re: Gender bias...

            Indeed. Some years back a young woman stopped by our house. After she left, my wife observed that the visitor's family must be doing well, as she was carrying a Coach bag. If asked to describe the visitor, I might have managed to include "Oh, and I guess a purse."

      2. JLV

        Re: Gender bias...


        and $1500 iPhone Xs too, to avoid gender bias ;-)

  6. 0laf Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Who owned the money

    Were they given $20k?

    I'd spend $20k I was given very differently than $20k of my own money.

    I'd be far more likely to buy something stupid safe in the knowledge I'd be no worse off if it blew up or I wrecked it.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Who owned the money

      You mean like like when quiz show contestants say "Well Dave , i came with nothing so ... lets risk it all"

      I dont want to be pedantic but ..... that money is yours at that minute ... you see where i'm gong with this surely ?

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Who owned the money

        If I've been told that someone will spend up to £20,000 to get a car for me and make whatever changes to it that I want, and can only spend it on the car - nothing else (i.e. I get to keep the car, but not the money if there is any left over) then you betcha I'm spending that £20,000 on the car.

        Depending on what it would get me, I may even put some of my own money towards it too if the reward is good enough.

        I get what you mean with the quiz show though.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Who owned the money

          Yeah , its not clear if you get to keep the change , which changes things

  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    I've been both

    Flashy Dave and Frugal Dan in my lifetime... Well, no bling wheels on the old car, but I did take out the AM radio and put in some Kenwood apparatus with appropriate speakers ;-}

    I have bought two new cars in my life too.. The Dan phase(s).

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I've been both

      "I have bought two new cars in my life too.. The Dan phase(s)."

      Same here. I'm not sure how the 2nd hand MGB which was one of the cars in between fitted into the Dave and Dan scenarios. It was more a case of "this is the time to have one while we can still fit the children into the back seats".

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Binary car option

    I would have spent the $20,000 on inviting women out on dates to nice restaurants, etc until finding a steady partner, then spending the rest on other good things together, alll the while laughing at the other two fools who'd wasted it on a car.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. adrianww

      Re: Really?

      I suspect you do indeed do a lot of beating off.

      Doing it with a stick rather than the more traditional way? Well, that's your prerogative...

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. sebt27

    And so....

    They theorised that people would jump to certain conclusions about these men, based on folk-wisdom. Designed an experiment, and found that.... yes, people jumped to these conclusions?

    What is the point of evolutionary psychology again?

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: And so....

      "What is the point of evolutionary psychology again?

      It keeps the folks, who in the past would have been pumping gas for a living, off the streets...

  13. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    So, the best strategy is to appear 'Frugal' to as many women as possible?

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys ... Pay Prime Premium Rate, Get Magic Just Desserts

    I really don't care. It still has to be the likes of a Chiron. Park that in any driveway and there'll be nothing other than questions as to would dare share and drive that obscene wealth symbol and how did they earn and deserve it.

    Those sorts of revelations though may need to remain secret and be the Subject and Object of Non-Disclosure Agreement Arrangements .... but easily cloaked in the leaking of a Massive Undisclosed Jackpot Lottery Win to close down speculation and further intrusive prying.

  15. DiViDeD Silver badge

    Flashy or Frugal?

    I still reckon Flashy Dave has had more threesomes than Frugal Dan, mind.

  16. Long John Brass

    The reality is...

    Frugal Dan will be raising Flashy Dave's children whether he knows it or not.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    The way some get money for this kind of "study" is a mystery to me.

    This study lacks the proper question: in the end, whose guy gets the girl, the one with the shiny car or the one with the boring utility van? Looking at how the things works for other species, the shiniest may be the one with the better luck to mate.

  18. elaar

    My partner recently commented about her friend's husband's Porsche. Telling me something like "they must be doing well, he's got a flashy car!".

    I replied that her two year old reliable Golf was worth about 4 times what his 14 year old Porsche cost, to which she seemed very surprised.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Disk0

    1: find someone who loves to drive, is credible and doesn't mind working weird hours, who would like to run a car service.

    2: invest 10.000 in a down payment on a gently used deluxe vehicle for said person to drive and for them to earn money with, on the condition they pay off the vehicle and drive you around whenever you need them to. Have 10.000 on hand for running costs and replacement parts etc.

    3: Always have your own deluxe vehicle plus driver available on short order. Win at life.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This study really doesn't get it. Women are generally out to take as much as they can while giving the minimum back. They'll start with the flashy guy, he's already shown he's willing to spend money in an attempt to impress. This marks him as an easy target for short-term exploitation. Once they've taken him for all they can, they'll move on to another flashy guy. When they finally get bored of this game or start worrying about getting too old for it, they'll switch to the frugal guy. By this time, he should have a nice pot of savings to support them for the long term.


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