Monday, February 11, 2008

So, How Shallow Am I?


Seriously, though. I got into a discussion with a friend. We were talking about women and somehow it got on the discussion of clothing and style.

Apparently, I'm limiting my options by ignoring whole swaths of women who don't dress how I want them to be dressed. The "read between the lines" portion of that says that "I'm shallow," although he didn't say that. Hence, the reading between the lines part.

Maybe he thinks it's money? That's definitely not it. People can make the most of things, and I certainly recognize that. It might be harder, but someone who buys all their clothes at Wal-Mart could still look good. You might need to go with a more basic style and skip the "fancy" section, but that's fine. Basic done right is better than elaborate done wrong.

So, it's not the money, friend.

So, maybe I'm shallow because I'm not looking at who the girl is? Instead, I'm looking at what the girl looks like? I'm supposed to look at her personality. Her character. Very true. And, I do.

I'd have to think more on this, but I don't think I can see into someone's character by looking at their dressing style. Certainly, someone dressing beyond their means says something about character, but frumpy people are probably as likely to shoplift gum as someone dressed to the nines.

BTW, I didn't ask him, but I wonder if my friend voted in the little poll I did on smoking vs shoplifting. 3 to 1, people said they'd rather date someone who stole gum vs smoke! Stealing is a serious character flaw, smoking is not.

Anyhow, we're not talking about someone I'm looking to hire to watch my kids or analyze data back at the office. Frumpy or stylish means nothing in that area. In fact, I'll take the butt ugly nanny, please. Is she cheaper?

Character is covered, so let's get on to personality. It seems like I wrote about this before, but when people get dressed, they're selling themselves. Always.

It may be conscious or subconscious, but there's always marketing going on. You're marketing yourself to your boss, prospective new boss, a potential client, a repeat customer, your husband or wife, your girlfriend, etc. And, of course, if you're single, you look at your closet and at yourself in the mirror and get yourself dolled up all pretty for the person who want to meet. Even if you don't know who it is yet.

At the job, my company tells us to dress to the level of our customer, which I do. At my job, the clothes are rarely a make or break thing, but you don't want to offend or look like a buffoon to a CIO, and you don't want to make the floor manager of a offset press room think of you as a slick salesman who's afraid of hard work. So, you dress to each level for those meetings. Hopefully, these two appointments are on separate days... But, I digress.

A person's sense of style is dictated by their personality, just like their music selections and book choices are. These things are a window into their personality. But, I can't see what's on her iPod from here and most girls don't carry books around with them much. That leaves style. Style is like a sandwich board or menu posted in a window. Give it a quick glance to see if you want to check it out further.

If you consider the clothes, glasses, jewelry, hair, perfume, etc., there are a million combinations of good on the menu, but there are ten million combinations of bad. I'm looking to increase my odds of finding someone I want. I'm not just looking to increase my odds of finding someone. What good does finding the wrong person do?

I think that this discussion might never have come up had I said that I was attracted to girl x, because of her cool glasses and slightly bohemian scarf thing, rather than say I was going to pass on girl y because of a turtleneck and mom jeans. And, don't get me started on the one that smelled like soap and flowers. I'm sure someone out there likes that flower scent and is comforted to know that you're clean, but it's not me.

Before I forget, I'm definitely looking for pretty. In that, I'm shallow. No doubt. You (I) have to be attracted to the person. Certainly, style plays a part in that, too. It's the whole package. Turtleneck and Flower Scent were both very pretty, but I spent a little time with each, and it became clear; they had their target markets and I'm not in it.

In the end, I concede that I'm shallow, but it's really a matter of being just the right amount of shallow.

My friends in high school told me that I aimed too high. Maybe they were right. If I'd aimed lower in high school, I'm sure I would have gone out with more girls. But, what does that say about me (or my friends) to lower yourself to date someone? I'm sure the girls would have been flattered, too ("You'll do...").

What would have made me happier? A long dry spell with short bursts of the best the human race has to offer? Or a constant stream of the mediocre? You can't really know, you can only guess. I think I got the former, by the way. All of them were wonderful, beautiful women, with great things to offer. This, of course, is the non-shallow way of saying that they were all totally hot. And, that being said, I'm happy.


  1. Sounds good to me, but only because I'm equally "shallow". Didn't date a single girl in high school. Didn't think any of them were worth it.

    Lowered my standards my freshman year of college and regretted it. Let her go, and then met the awesome one who's still with me.

    Do your thang.

  2. "...but when people get dressed, they're selling themselves. Always."

    When I stop for my diet Dr. Pepper after the gym, my hair still soaked in sweat, sometimes still sweating through my what was dry 5 minutes ago shirt, sporting my melted mascara raccoon eyes, I'm not exactly trying to sell anything. Or maybe I am? - that I don't care what anyone I might see there thinks about how I look? Maybe? I don't care actually. But uhm, I just spent 2 hours in the gym so I must care at least a little, no?

    Why don't I just stop in before my workout? I don't know. Perhaps I'm trying to make a point?

    I'm as shallow as the next guy, in the dating world, looks matter to me certainly. I just don't know that 100% of the time if what someone is wearing represents what we interpret them to be selling.

    We all view the world through our own tinted lenses. Bohemian scarf probably says something different to me than it does to you.

  3. The question is my mind is do you have as much style as you are requiring? Do you put as much effort in as you want them to invest? If so, then I think you're not know what you want. If not, I would assess that you have a double standard and you are shallow.

    You decide.

  4. RL -- You done good.

    RB -- Maybe not 100% of the time. I don't get dressed any special way to take out the garbage, but I might start if the right neighbor moves in.

    Maybe people should just think MORE about who their target audience is?

    RW -- I'll bet I sweat more about how I look than most any chick, Nick, or Gabe.



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