Eleven times as many people would rather be called vain than selfish (33% vs. 3%) and almost 17 times as many would opt for vain over unkind (50% vs 3%). Vain is even preferable to dull (13% vs. 3%). A fourth of respondents to the fourth Lifescapes online poll through America Dialogue-a whimsical but important qualitative pulse on how Americans live-admit to being vain about their looks.
But looks, they say, are also relatively unimportant. Given a choice between a large visible run in their pantyhose or a painful corn on their toe, only 20% of women would rather suffer and look good.
Vanity can be a positive force-to build self-confidence and lead to a healthier lifestyle-but it sure brands a person negatively. Some 42% of Lifescapers feel Nancy Reagan is more vain than Snow White's mom, while 58% thought the queen of "mirror mirror on the wall" fame is vainer. Michael Jackson is so vain he beat out even Donald Trump (6l% vs. 39%). Lifescapers would rather see the oh-so-vain Ivana exposed in Vanity Fair than the current Mrs. Trump, Marla Maples (56% to 44%).
Some 18% of Lifescapers admit to having spent more than $50 on a haircut (22% of women and 7.5% of men) and 38% either perm, body wave or color their hair (including 17.5% of men styling and 22.5% coloring.) Some 11% have had a body part waxed, 14% have had a facial, 3% have had a tooth capped (including 2.5% of men for all), and 9% a pedicure. Almost a third (31%) regularly pluck their eyebrows-including 43% of women and 7.5% of men. Some 24% have fasted for a day or more to shed pounds and 32% have popped diet pills.
But many would rather have their places look good than themselves. Just 54% would rather gowithout their blow dryer than give up their Dustbuster, and 35% would give up the microwave rather than the bathroom scale.
Stranded on a desert island with the choice of one makeup item to take, 37% of respondents would spurn them all. Mascara tied with lipstick as the grooming aid of choice: 16% chose each. Another 6% chose blush, 3% powder and 1.5% hair mousse or spray.
Yet certain accessories are more indispensable than others. Fewer than a third (30% of both men and women) consider contact lenses "unnecessary" while just 41% regard tummy control underwear as frivolous. Roughly half (52% of both sexes) say a wig or toupee is not at all necessary while 45% could happily dispense with hair dye. And though miracle push-up bras are a relatively new phenom-just 62% consider them unnecessary while 4% couldn't live without a Wonderbra.
And not all disfigurements are equal. Lifescapers would much rather have lifeless than frizzy hair (58% to 40%). But that's preferable to a wart on their nose (89%). And 69% would rather have an overbite than acne scars (27%). Given a choice between a polyester outfit that they'd have to wear at least twice a week or a pronounced "New Yawk" accent, 75% would opt for the irritating voice. The same numbers would rather break a front tooth as a leg but 78% of Lifescapers would rather have chronic dandruff than (20%) bad breath.
Acne is a big turn-off, no doubt (40%), but 46% think facial hair on women is more unappealing. Other turn-offs: a double chin (20%); a tattoo (34%); cellulite thighs (27%); flabby upper arms (18%); chapped lips (16%); and, Cindy Crawford notwithstanding, a facial mole (13%). An equal number-12%-shudder at skinniness and love handles.
More respondents considered their eyes their best feature (35%) followed by their smile (26%), and hair (15%). Just 4% gave top billing to their figure or physique, (none were women); 2% to their legs and 1% to their nose. But when sizing up a member of the opposite sex, 33% said the smile was the most important feature while 26% said it's the eyes, 15% their body, 4% their hair and 1% their legs.
Some 68% of respondents say they want to lose weight while 6% would like to gain it; 39% would like to be taller, and 10% shorter.
Among female Lifescapers, 42% would consider getting a tummy tuck-and if it were instant and painless and totally confidential, 59% might do it. One in four is toying with the idea of liposuction-and 39% would if it were easy. More than 90%, on the other hand, are interested in undergarments that promise liposuction without surgery.
Some 18% are considering a face-lift-take away the bruising and other side effects-and 24% say they might undergo it. More than three times as many women are considering breast reduction as augmentation, (10% and 15% if cheap, painless et al vs. 3% and 6% with incentives for implants).
Some 6% have considered bobbing their nose (7.5% with the added incentives), and 6% with piercing a body part other than their earlobes. No one wants collagen injections in their lips-unless it's painless and permanent-and even then fewer than 2% admit an interest. Some 31% wouldn't consider any elective procedures-but that drops to 15% if it's easy and painless.
Some 13% of men say they've thought about a tummy tuck and 20% would be more inclined if it were painless, instant and secret. Another 6.8% have considered liposuction, penile and pectoral implants (13%, 13% and 11%, respectively, with incentives). Some 2.2% have toyed with a nose job-a number that rockets to 9% if no one would ever find out. Another 13% have mulled a face-lift (18% with incentives). Some 9% have thought about a tattoo and 11% are more inclined if it's painless. And while none confessed to an interest in piercing body parts, 9% might do it with all the incentives. Some 45% of male Lifescapers wouldn't consider these procedures under any circumstances: the inducements swayed just 5%.
Lifescapers think that overweight women are considerably more likely than balding men (61% vs. 38%) to worry more about their condition, that a gorgeous face is more potent ammunition than great legs (78% to 18%) and that rich folks tend to be better looking than poor ones (59% vs. 41%.).
They also think that good-looking people fare better in the workplace (90% vs. 10%), that unattractive women have a harder time than unattractive men (80% vs. 20%) and that overweight people are discriminated against (96% to 4%). Some 48% say they've been discriminated against because of the way they look, and 57% admit to discriminating against someone else for looks.
It may not carry as much weight as the Q score but a star's V score can help determine appropriateness as an endorser. Lifescapers regard Woody Allen as vainer than Mia Farrow (55% to 45%). Both sexes regard Don Johnson as more vain than Melanie Griffith (72% to 28%) and Bruce Willis far ahead of Demi Moore on the vanity scale (59% to 41%).
Hand the mirror to Warren Beatty; he's seen as more than twice as vain as Annette Benning (70% to 30%). Cindy Crawford gets 60% of the votes compared with Richard Gere's 40%; Julia Roberts 76% vs. 24% for Lyle Lovett; and Burt Reynolds snags 61% of the vote compared with Loni Anderson with 39%.