Drawing on hard evidence, she illustrates how this potent force develops from an early age, with attractive children assumed to be intelligent, competent and good.
She examines how women and men learn to exploit it throughout their lives, how it differs across cultures and how it affects all spheres of activity, from dating and mating to politics, business, film, music , the arts and sport.
I felt like in this one little area in the world, I was Tom Cruise."Ross won't put a number on how many Wellesley students he's slept with, but admits he's been dating "a lot." One group of students placed bets on who could sleep with Ross, and there was also an informal competition to see who could get him into bed first.
"Wellesley women are different from other women," Ross says.
They are attractive, but also lively, friendly and charismatic. Dr Catherine Hakim's groundbreaking book reveals how erotic capital is just as influential in life as how rich, clever, educated or well-connected we are.