We know all about this one first-hand. That old stereotype about how comedy writers and heavy Internet users tend to have bodies chiseled out of solid sex? It's true. One visitor remarked that the Cracked office "Looked like a Manowar album cover came to life."
Office Christmas party, 07
Yes, being physically attractive has concrete advantages. Attractive people earn more, get better grades, have better jobs and find more successful partners than average or ugly people. Strangers are more likely to help them in a crisis. They have wider social circles.
So What's the Problem?
Remember, we're talking about happiness here, not success. For one, attractive people have the same self-esteem problems the ugly people do. Like money, attractiveness is relative and if you're hotter than your friends, at that stage you start comparing yourself to people in the media. You know, like the magazine covers we mentioned before, the ones that that have had the living shit Photoshopped out of them.
Before and After
In other words, they've adjusted to the experience of being attractive the same as our high income earners have adjusted to having money; they just pick other flaws to worry about. Sure, if you used the magical artifact up there to become Angelina Jolie tomorrow, you'd notice the difference over how you're treated now. But if you were born Angelina Jolie, you'd have no way of grasping it, the same as right now you don't realize what it's like to live life with some kind of horrible deformity (if you do have a horrible deformity, then you don't know what it's like to live with a worse one. Work with us here).
Wait, it Gets Worse...
You know how when the hot girl at the bar tells an unfunny joke, all the guys laugh anyway? Or when the office stud makes a mistake, the female boss laughs it off?
Attractive people live in a world where most feedback they get is bullshit. The compliments mean nothing--they've learned that's just the sound people make when they walk by. That's why studies show they tend to dismiss the genuine compliments they get in other areas (their work, personality, sense of humor, creativity) because it gets lumped in with the same counterfeit flattery they've been getting their whole lives.
"I find your views fascinating."
We're using the broader definition of the word "genius" here, meaning anyone with an extraordinary talent or skill. So for instance Dennis Rodman was a genius when it came to rebounding basketballs, but was probably not a genius in the way that Einstein was.
Or was he?
But as Dennis demonstrates, genius--whether it involves writing ground-breaking computer code, picking stocks or writing the dopest rhymes--means one thing above all else: You are forever granted an exception to society's rules.
The fictional archetype for this these days is TV's Dr. House, whose being a genius means he gets a free pass to do drugs on the job, break hospital policy, insult his superiors and treat patients like shit. But don't blame the writers, the real world examples are just as extreme, from Hemingway to Kanye West. Being a genius means you get to do great things, sure, but it's also a blank check for douchebaggery.
Who could turn that down?
So What's the Problem?
Want to know what it's like to live life as a genius? All you have to do is go hang around with the stupidest, most incompetent people you know. Cringe at their stupid jokes, feel the frustration as they fumble even the easiest tasks and fail to grasp the simplest concepts. Being a genius must be like that, only everyday. Everyone is an idiot compared to them. They're living Idiocracy.
We can't imagine what it's like to make friends in that world. Genuine connections will be rare indeed when every honest expressions of thought or feelings on your end is met with a look of dull Keanu Reeves-esque befuddlement.
If you're not the Einstein kind of genius, it doesn't matter, any situation where you're 10 levels above your coworkers is going to be daily frustration. If you're a genius at spreading concrete, that feeling only occurs to you in the form of everyone else being sloppy and helpless. No wonder they wind up treating people like dirt.
Not that you'd have time for friends anyway. Genius takes practice. Lots of it. Shows like House don't tell you that to become as good at your job as Dr. House, you've got to devote an enormous amount of time to working, studying and practicing your craft (at least 10 thousand hours, according to that Malcolm Gladwell book everyone is quoting these days). Behind the genius is hundreds of weekends spent pouring over texts while everyone else was at the party, playing bikini Twister.
This is what they do at parties, right?
All of this is a great recipe for the stereotypical depressed, moody genius who dies alone and bitter.
Wait, it Gets Worse...
If your genius lies in some kind of creative field, then there's a good chance you have actual mental illness to deal with. While only one percent of the population suffers from bipolar disorder, it is claimed that 50 percent of poets, 38 percent of musicians and 20 percent of painters have it. It's just part of the package.
Eminem, prior to launching music career.
Compare the number of great musical innovators who have died of suicide or drug overdose versus, say, the number of plumbers who have died the same way. It might be better to just stand in the poop all day.