Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The look of love

I have found that how you look makes people treat you differently. Well, d’uh, you might say. And your exclamation might well be right.

Of course we should all make an effort to look after ourselves. Looking good is a significant part of feeling good about ourselves. That’s why so many of us are dedicated followers of fashion. But, more than this, I’ve noticed that casual acquaintances – colleagues, friends of friends etc – tend to treat me differently on days when I look good compared to days when I look merely my usual average self.

Now, you know me gentle reader; I’m not one to boast. But at a stretch, on my very very good days I can see myself as quite attractive. Coming out helped me in two ways. The first is I made an effort to lose some weight, dress better etc. The revelation, supremely hurtful though it was, that Darren was slumming it with frumpy old me spurred me on to no small extent. I went down from 92kg (203lbs) to 75kg (165lbs) over a carefully planned six-month diet.

The second thing was the veritable human wave of man types willing, nay eager, to make Frumpella’s acquaintance. I even managed to convince some of them to hang around for a while.

So it worked.

But the fact remains if I dress just right, my hair is OK, I’m wearing the right shoes, people will talk to me and then the next day, when I revert to type, so do they: ignoring me.

I’m not talking about the superficiality of the average gayer. I’m as guilty as anyone of picking in the past a potential partner, for dates or assignations, primarily on looks. I mean: it’s bad but we’re not exactly looking for to oh-so-telling ample bosoms and wide child bearing hips are we? THAT’S not shallow at all…

The funny thing now is, having plumbed new depths of lightness (if that makes sense) people do keep complimenting me on my looks. Having gone down from a medium to a small I get to have even more retail therapy now; on the other hand having seen photo’s of myself throwing some shapes on the dancefloor last Saturday I know that MUCH work remains to be done. In many ways, despite opening up to valuing myself through others’ appraisals (a risk we all take when putting ourselves out there), being noticed makes me fell quite good. I try to get more of it. I try also not to be to vain… honest.

Some of my friends do get exasperated by my wish not to put the weight back on – I don’t know what this illness is but I bet I could make good money if it turns out to be contagious. But looking good – or at least making a real effort – is getting quite important to me.


etre-moral-etre-sincere said...

That's an interesting post. I guess it opened some new side of you to me. It all works very differently for me, I guess, and sometimes I jump into assumptions that other people who think like me in other situations, will approach the question of looks similarly as well. Basically, I try to make it into a rule to never judge people on the basis of their looks, and try to know a person better before deciding if I like them or not. Probably it might be related to the fact that I always accepted myself the way I was, and I would never think of loving myself less if anyone's stereotypes would suggest to them that they did not like the way I looked. Consequently, I never needed any kind of appraisal to feel good about myself. Does this make me arrogant or something?

Mike said...

Oh dear. I hope that new side is not my bad side! We all measure ourselves agaibst what we look like, what other people look like, etc to some extent: how could we know if we were attractive or not otherwise? But being assured in yourself is not only quite attractive in its own right - it makes you well balanced and emotionally mature :-)

etre-moral-etre-sincere said...

Oh no, do not take it wrong, it's not bad by any means, just unexpected!

Let me ask you: why do you think we need to compare ourselves to other people to find out whether we are attractive or not? I mean, if other people find us attractive, we are attractive, and that's the best criterion :) [and if not, most probably they are not people we want to like us anyway, and better ones are around the corner ;-)] so any comparison of ourselves with others being done by us is simply redundant, isn't it? ;-)

Mike said...

Hmmm. I think we do see others and think “I like and would look good wearing what they wear” and emulate their dress (fashion). We attach a value of attractiveness to them and, by choosing to emulate this (or not) we therefore must also attach a value to ourselves appearing attractive to other people. I am generalising a bit: I am insecure about my looks and I perceive rightly or wrongly others are too. If I think I can look good wearing nice/fashionable clothes, or I think because some people talk to me when they didn’t before, I must be perceived better than before, it can be a little boost.

etre-moral-etre-sincere said...

I see. Well, fair enough if it works for you. I guess I am happy enough to have had an upbringing that made me very secure about myself in general, including my looks (even if I am wrong here and I am ugly, this works for me ;-)) ...

Gauss Jordan said...

So do *you* behave differently if you dress differently? I noticed a couple of years ago that when I wear my suit (blue, pinstripes, custom-tailored) I walk differently, stand a little taller, and sit a little differently. My friends call it "CEO Mode."

The same thing happened a month or so ago when I had to talk at an award breakfast. I wore the *same* thing I normally wear to work, but swapped my $30 pair of jeans for a nice pair of black slacks. People suddenly noticed that I lost weight, more people said "Hi" in the hallway, and one of our managers even asked "What're you interviewing for?" in jest. ;-)

Hah! verification word: "anger"

Antony said...

Pardon my language, but f**k Darren's opinion for a start.

We can all be superficial - humans seem to love beautiful people and beautiful things.

I've never seen a photo of you but think you have a beautiful soul.

With love,

A x

GaySocrates said...

I was perceived as a fairly good looking guy by a reasonable number of the popular and fashionable people around during my adolescent and young adult life.
I did however used to get irritated by the fact that my two front teeth overlapped slightly. Maybe my internalized homophobia undermined my self esteem and caused me to overvalue my superficial appearance too much so that this imperfection rankled with me for years.
I finally decided at the age of 47 that something had to be done and went through nine agonizingly painful months of orthodontic treatment which left me with a perfect smile but unchanged as a person.
Interestingly I have no time now for those people who are mesmerized by my perfectly aligned teeth.
They are the audience whom I had hoped to please by my attempt to perfect myself. Now the niceness of a smile seems to me such a superficial and empty way to judge someone and those who are drawn towards it seem a little foolish.
The experience has been a great inoculation against future cosmetic surgery.
Mike-I can see you are beautiful regardless of your weight, hair, shoes. The more you know that to be true the more authentically beautiful you will become and the more you will attract those who love the unadorned you.
Maybe what you have noticed when people pay more attention is when you feel that you get everything right your confidence in your beauty can shine through you. The knack you might be able to cultivate is to feel that confidence without the accessories to bolster your confidence. That's a really sexy look :-)

m4m said...

I agree that looking good does make one feels good about himself. You have done a great job on losing your weight. It's like a curse in the gay community if you don't look good lol......

MadeInScotland said...

Well, Mike, I say let your silly haircut not define you.

Listen-in the most intimate way possible in a public forum-I wish you and the K-fella a v. happy Christmas at his.



MadeInScotland said...

Xfe dresses very well, and rather sharply.He often criticises me for taking less care about how I dress.

He says that I don't take as much pride in my appearance as I should. Especially at work.

But for me, it is simply not an issue. Work is a chore. I have to wear a suit; so it feels like uniform and did we really worry about how good school uniform looked?

That said, I have to admit, it does feel pretty god when I am dressed in my finest...

Mike said...

Thank you all for your comments. There have been so many, I've decided to write a follow up post! Thanks again