How Humans Are Traded As Social Currency


A while back, a buddy of mine was visiting L.A and while I was showing him around, he turned to me and said, “It just seems like affluent rich neighborhood in any city also have the largest number of hot women. Have you ever thought about that?”

Nope. I never consciously thought about it. Why? Because I had already accepted it on a subconscious level. It was so ingrained and basic that I had never even bothered thinking about it. My mind simply associated an affluent neighborhood with hot women.

Because that’s the way it’s always been. If I am in Los Angeles, I intuitively know that certain neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and certain Beach communities will have a plethora of physically attractive women living there. Just as I intuitively expect a large number of less than stellar physical specimens in certain beat up and ragged neighborhoods.

This isn’t unique to me. I am willing to bet it’s ingrained in all of our brains. The question is why does this occur? L.A. may be considered a shallow place, but this phenomenon exists in every major city in America. (Except for Newark perhaps, which is just one giant dump.)

One explanation is that wealthy people live in affluent areas. It’s a simple linear model. Wealthy people marry the more physically attractive women. Hence, this leads to a physically better looking offspring, and the cycle repeats itself. (Not to mention access to better health care and dentists who can ensure that beautiful pearly white smile.) Many people correlate evolutionary psychology to such occurrences and that is partially responsible, but it is a social construct of our culture, and it is part of our social fabric at this point.

On a secondary level, people by nature are drawn to the “Nicer things” in life. Hence, all men and women would like to live in a nice beach house with view of the Ocean and immaculate sunsets over the pacific. So why do then the better looking women reside in these nicer neighborhoods?

This is where it gets tricky. It comes down to what I call “Social Currency.” Everyone is looking to trade in his/her social currency to get to upgrade the current status amongst the masses when it comes to access to coveted social spots… Often coveted places have that attachment because they’re perceived to be high status.

Physically attractive women have a built in mechanism in place to trade as social currency. It’s pretty simple really: It’s their physical beauty. That gets them into parties, hot spots, perceived prestigious night clubs, and so forth. (And this lasts until they’re about 30.) Men on other hand can’t really trade in looks as social currency even if they’re handsome. They rely on other things.

So let’s assume there is a fantastic exclusive party in a mansion this coming weekend and it’s by invitation only.

  • Women will trade in their looks as social currency to get in. “You’re a hot chick? You’re in!”
  • Men use affluence, wealth, women, and drugs as their social currency. For a guy to enter the party, he has to either bring with him “Hot women,” or drugs. Either that, or he has to have some sort of affluence.

Nowhere is this more exposed and self-evident than standing outside a hot nightclub. In fact, it’s amazing to watch. This is THE venue to watch social currency in action. It’s where self-indulgence meets the shallowest human values possible. Hence, it’s a perfect place to examine Social Currency in Action.

Stay tuned for the next blog entry to dissect the Night Club Scene under a microscope.