I'm sure I even went for a time thinking that appearance didn't matter even outside of the relationships arena. I mean, as long as you're decent/presentable, then--no big deal. It just isn't important. That was my thought.
But then...over time, several things happened that have started to modify my thinking.
I realized that an attractive man still turns my head. For all my realizing that the inside truly does matter most, I definitely still have that kind of attraction goin' on.
I became a fan of makeover shows like What Not to Wear. On most of these shows, it's really not like "as long as the outside looks good, everything's cool." It really is about bringing out the person on the inside and making the outside match that. WNTW is forever finding people who are just great people--as raved about by their friends, etc.--but who just haven't developed the confidence (or whatever the issue is) to display their true selves. I'm forever amazed by the emotional transformation that almost all of the contributors (as WNTW calls them) go through and how far from just looking better, they come out so much more confident--and that's certainly a good thing.
I became a makeup artist through my work at Bare Escentuals.* Now, I had no idea when I applied there that I'd end up becoming a makeup artist! As hard as this may be for my coworkers to believe, I wasn't even aware that they applied makeup on people in their stores. (Why this hadn't occurred to me, I have no idea.) In any case, I now professionally apply and sell products designed to make people's outside look better. But here too, I have seen many women go from being not only skeptical to excited but also from insecure about themselves because of their appearance to glowing and happy because when we're done they see an even more beautiful woman looking back at them in the mirror.
And I must say, I love helping make other women look more beautiful and as a result feel better about themselves. It is so gratifying--to know that I've connected that woman to products that can enhance her quality of life and in a small way have helped her on her journey. As the Bare Escentuals Story says, "...while makeup can’t change the world, it can change people...It began when we asked women to imagine a makeup that would actually change the way they feel about their skin and themselves."
This is reminding me of something that I've actually known all along: how one feels about her appearance affects how she feels about herself--and how she feels about herself affects her entire life. In fact, a large part of my life story could be told around that concept. (That could be a whole other blog post.)
But what about the relationships arena? Should appearance truly matter there? If so, in what ways and how much?
Recently I had a conversation with a girlfriend about this topic. A friend of hers wanted to set her up with a guy she knew. My friend has seen his picture--and didn't find him particularly attractive. She asked me if I thought she should give him a chance anyway. As we were talking, I thought about it like this--and this is something most of us actually do know from experience: People can get better looking (or worse looking!) the more you know them. I even heard once that that's been scientifically proven--that when you look at someone you love, your eyes "airbrush" them as it were; you see them as more attractive than they might really be. (Speaking of which, what defines attractive, anyway? Interestingly, it varies from one culture to another. But again--that's a whole other blog post. I digress.)
Near the end of our conversation, my girlfriend said she'd decided to give her friend the go-ahead to set up a chance for her to meet this guy. I was really pleased to hear that.
So: what does this all mean? Well, here are some of the conclusions I've come to through all this:
- It is always worth getting to know the person inside regardless of the outside--whether as a potential significant other, friend, or whatever. Even if that person's sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others, lol, at the very least, you'll have learned something. You'll have added to your life, not refused to add to your life.
- When it comes to potential significant-other relationships, give a "less attractive" candidate a shot. While their appearance may cause a certain first impression, don't assume it's correct. Don't assume that you know how to interpret what you think their outside is telling you.
- My appearance matters, but only to a point. The ways I think it matters are: It IS the basis of others' first impression of me. It IS part of how I tell the world about myself...and that aspect, I care a great deal about. And especially when it comes to potential significant-other relationships, showing outwardly who you are inwardly; well, that's pretty key.
- Others' appearance matters, but only to a point. Gushing over a hot guy is fun, but if that hot guy is a total jerk, then yeah--I don't wanna date him.
*This post represents my opinions only, not necessarily those of Bare Escentuals.