Obviously the entertainment industry plays into some of this, due to the incentives around not hiring unattractive people (big shame, I mean can you imagine Billions without Paul Giamatti?). But I just heard on Rework's episode You Need Less Than You Think that car cleaning and detailing is highly seasonal with the downtime in the winter. But cars probably take more abuse from the environment (and are exposed to more persistent moisture and rust risk) during winter, so why would that be the case?
The obvious answer is that people want their cars to look better when people are outside to see them. It's honestly so obvious that just noticing the surprise is probably the difficult part. But most of America drives everywhere, and cars aren't frequently admired in transit. They're jewelry, but I guess I'm having a hard time using the power of my imagination here. If I have a conversation partner (romantic or otherwise), cold weather encourages spending more time in a car – instead of going to a local park, we drive to laser tag, instead of rushing into the house we stay and chat in the warm, enclosed space. It seems like having a nice car should matter more.
I admit, this is a strange thing for me to write about – if I had ever detailed a car, I might have a more useful perspective. I could have at least had my car detailed by someone else. Or drive/own a car.
I'm not particularly useful in these discussions.
Which is why I want to use this as a lens to make a guess about how people view each other, and how important looks are. I grew up in Minnesota, and, generalizations aside, they really are less superficial than L.A. – almost everywhere is. Except maybe Manhattan, albeit they seem to be two different places looking for two different things. And the obvious joke is, of course people in Minnesota don't care, their shapely figure is covered up by tons of coats all the time. You'd need advanced statistical methods to detect a six pack, so of course you couldn't a priori care about six packs.
This is an exaggeration, of course. And I don't mean to admonish people for caring about how someone looks – we've entered an era where (with rising obesity rates, as well as quite advanced knowledge of makeup for men and women) looks are more meritocratic, in the sense that you basically select how good you look. I'm in the same camp as Alice Fraser, who said she wants to evoke "she'd look good if she put in some effort". Certainly, I like the optionality of being able to put in effort for good results, I'm just concerned that some of the makeup tutorials on YouTube are geared more towards women, and I might not notice that even after applying the makeup.
The tail end of winter is making us a bit more self-conscious, I suppose, and it's worth exploring how we interact with both the people and the actual physical spaces we take up. At the end of the day, the healthiest thing, perhaps, is to have someone you want to impress with your figure – that certainly seems to drive a shocking amount of the actual fitness in the world, and I'm not one to judge the #1 Most Effective Strategy just because it doesn't get the 'Master of Self-Sufficiency' gold metal. We're social beings. That's not a bad thing.