The Fundamentals

Ezra Klein spoke up the other day in defense of dating coaches. He notes that he pays for guitar lessons:

I would like to learn to play guitar well. But it's nowhere near as central to my happiness as my lovelife. Yet I'm allowed -- even praised -- for seeking expert guidance there, but would be roundly shamed if I sought a dating coach.

I think the issue here is a sense that if you're looking to expend time and money on you ought to be working on the fundamentals. Like maybe you should spend that cash on a gym membership or some better clothes or reading some interesting books or learning to cook (or play the guitar!) or whatever else it is that might make you a more appealing dating prospect. It's true, of course, that in the real world better marketing often does work even in the absence of better fundamentals, but as an announced plan of action it sounds a bit disreputable.

UPDATE: I don't even need a dating coach to tell me I should link to Sara Mead's article on education in the 2008 race.