Category Archives: conspicuous consumption

The Antithesis of Rich

Today’s post from one of my very favorite columnists discusses┬áthe extreme case of┬ápeople spending thousands of dollars every month on their personal appearance:

But something appears to be getting lost in this new, weirdly overblown mutation. Maybe it’s all just another example of that fantastic inverse relationship our popular culture is adept at perpetuating: The more we spend on externals, the more we scrape and inject and try to enhance every body part, the further away we get from, you know, true attractiveness.

I’m all for people spending their own money however they see fit. I fully understand that some people have so much of it that perhaps $50,000/year in Botox treatments and Creme de la Mer is really a drop in the bucket. And I also appreciate that in many professions that pay well, a bit of conspicuous consumption is expected, and personal upkeep required, so that some amount of outlay may actually be considered a sort of investment towards a higher salary. Fine.

But at a certain level, I think this crosses that line into some new territory of shallowness. And it also would seem to me that such spending just begets more spending, because the more you analyze (and try to remedy) what you perceive as your physical shortcomings, the more you’ll notice other faults, etc., etc., forever, until you’re fretting over every tiny wrinkle and freckle, no matter how imperceptible to others, and probably getting prematurely gray in the process! Talk about counterproductive.

These people may be financially well-off, but are they living a richer life? Quite the contrary, I would say.

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