The recent obsession over developing six-pack abs annoys me… It seems a lot of effort goes into an area of the body that is usually hidden under a veil of clothes. It would appear that the editors of Men’s Health regard chiseled abs as definitive proof of a man’s character, while a lack of them condemns the reader to a lifetime of sorrowful existence alone, devoid of any accomplishments whatsoever. In fact, why live at all if you don’t have rock-hard abs?

Rather than getting all worked up over this, though, I’ll take a cool and rational approach. Should I invest any of my time into this (neglected) area of my body? I’ll let some basic finance metrics help me decide.

Supply and demand
Supposedly, some women find six-pack abs attractive. This is something to keep in mind. Except that my abs are hardly ever exposed—it’s not as if I am a lifeguard or tend bar by a pool in Maui. Anyway. Another insecure male recently posed this question on Yahoo! Answers: “Women, are six pack abs attractive? is there any girl that does not like 6pak [sic] abs? do u wish ur man had em?”

One woman’s reply: “They're nice but not too over the top, or else it just seems plastic and weird.”

Another, Taylor, felt strongly about this critical issue: “Every girl i know likes a toned guy. Not over the top muscles, but a six pack is usually pretty attractive. So start on those crunches!”

Nooooo! So I guess there are women out there—on Yahoo! Answers anyway—who find the six-pack ab thing appealing.

Assets & start-up capital
You’ll need a nice wad of cash, or a functioning credit card, to load up on all of the ab work-out contraptions and books out there. I would say $200 should be enough to get you started on the path to six-pack glory. There’s the Ab Roller ($19.99 plus S&H); before you buy it, make sure it isn’t already in your closet somewhere. There’s the AB Circle Pro ($199.95 plus S&H) which looks—sorry—patently ridiculous… although it offers a tempting 30-day home trial for just $14.95. There’s the best-selling book, The Abs Diet, penned by Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko. There’s also a line of insane products that electrocute your abs to “stimulate” them—you can go find that one yourself.

Return on investment
The women on Yahoo! Answers like them. Other women, somewhere, like them. So the R.O.I. is pretty straightforward: buy the ridiculous work-out equipment, actually use it regularly, and attract the ladies. Keep in mind you’ll also need to invest in some nicely fitted shirts, unless you decide to go through life with an exposed midriff. Also, even though it’s not exactly Shakespeare, Zinczenko’s book is popular among the athletic crowd, and even has a testimonial from The Rock: “Remember: Don't cheat yourself, treat yourself.” When The Rock tells you to do something, you don’t question, you just do. 

Long-term investments
Finally, there’s the fact that once you have ‘em, abs could (potentially) be a good way to attract women at the beach or in genuine shirtless situations. You won’t even have to “open on a set” as Mystery advises; you can just point to your six-pack and let it do the talking.

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