The Beauty Advantage
Lunching as usual on the Riviera on a bright but chilly autumnal day, we ordered a round of dirty martinis. A rather sexy young man brought them out to us, leaving us all plastered with big grins, unable to say “merci beaucoup” enough times and staring lewdly at the poor lamb. As he walked (OK, ran) back to his station, Siobhan laughed at how, if we were men and leered like that over a young woman, we’d be chastised. “Yes,” I agreed. “But only if we were caught.”
Siobhan is an accountant, a naturally boring occupation often favoured by those with limited personalities. However, she’s quite a gem in a sack of rocks, having not only a great sense of humour but also good looks to go with it. She commented on how she’s used her looks to get ahead in the past, and how she thinks her current boss hired her based on her ass and not on her CV.
Magda, an IT sales rep, was mortified. Horrified. Shocked and outraged. How could such sexism and discrimination exist in today’s modern world? I had to laugh, as did Penelope, who then whipped out her iPad and brought up a news story about how Danish sperm banks were refusing red-headed donors. Because, come on, let’s face it, who would want a pasty, ginger-haired kid? Apparently, folks in the US, but that’s a long way to go for a wank.
“You should hear the things I get asked for when sourcing yacht crew,” I began. And, yep, I managed to disgust and appall the lot of them.
Back in my office the following morning — lunch had kind of turned into one of those all-day affairs — I went on a mission to find the worst job postings I could. (I’d like to name and shame, but you know how those boys at Yacht Essentials keep a tight rein on me.) I used my fake crew profile to log into all the different yachting agencies I’m registered with and have a good nose around their job boards on the iPad I’d smuggled in with me.
I found one particular website with job descriptions so hilarious I had to share them. I’ve seen plenty asking for English Mother Tongue, which is in fact illegal, but the best are the ones asking for pretty blonde girls who are no bigger than a UK size 8-10 (US 4-6). “Must be attractive” or “Must be willing to be available all hours.” Oh yeah? Hello! And I’ve seen great examples for the guys too, “No Italians, Spanish or French,” “Must be strong, fit and willing to get naked with a chamois.” Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I’m reading between the lines.
I can see their point, though, the captains or owners who put in these requests. Imagine you’re a kazillionaire. You wake up on your uberyacht in the South Pacific, have a nice stretch and a brief pause to look at Brad Pitt lying next to you. Then, you realize, “Oh I’m peckish,” so you wander out on deck to see a beautiful sunrise over a tranquil and shimmering sea, a gentle breeze tickling your neck and rustling the leaves on the trees of the nearby island and…ARGH, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? WHO HIRED FRIDA KAHLO TO POUR MY COFFEE?
If you’re loaded and possibly famous, you don’t want to be surrounded by ugly people, do you? God knows I don’t. Quite frankly, I find it offensive to be served by a spotty youth in McDonalds. So, when I’m lying on the deck catching rays, being fanned with a giant palm frond held by George Clooney, I don’t want to see some flaccid, freckly boy scrubbing my decks. Bring on the toned, muscular, sun-kissed boys. “No, no, honey, don’t talk… shhhh…just polish. That’s it. And leave your shirt off.” See my point?
Similarly, imagine you’re pulling into another superyacht marina. Your crew is standing by at the ready. Heads turn on other vessels because your yacht’s bigger and shinier than theirs. Would you want a bunch of drooling munters out on deck? No. You’d want hotties. Yachting promotes this glamorous and sexy lifestyle, so to that end we have to find glamorous and sexy crew. It’s simple, really.
That’s why chief stews don’t normally last much past age 32. However, it does seem acceptable for engineers to have a unibrow and absolutely no social skills whatsoever, as they’re highly sought after, but that’s why they’re not allowed out of the engine room much. It also seems men age better than women; a weathered face and sprinkling of grey at the temples is attractive on a captain. On a woman, it’s hello hagsville, time to go land-based. Have you considered a career as a crew agent?