ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

Look beyond the looks

By Plato's Girl and Average Joe

We've all heard the age old saying 'never judge a book by its cover.' But do we ever really bother to turn the pages?

Appearance is everything in this day and age. Take a job interview for instance. Dress smart, comb you hair, polish your shoes, shorten your nails and smile the right way and the job is yours. Even a psychopathic mass murderer/serial killer/rapist/drug dealer/terrorist/burglar/etc., etc., will land the top job of a high profile company if he impresses the interviewer with his pearl whites and twinkling eyes. (This is, of course, assuming that he has the other required credentials).

The way you present yourself to the rest of the world is of utmost importance because, apparently, it tells the world who you are and what you are. Dress to impress, they say. But what lies beneath that perfectly made up face, the flawlessly ironed shirt, the friendly smile and pretty blue eyes? No one knows for certain. You have to dig deep to find out. Or pray for psychic powers.

It's important you look beneath those or rather, through those, to get a better understanding of the other person. Get to know them. Cross examine them. Interrogate them if you have to. If they don't look you in the eye, they're probably not being entirely truthful. But be sure to always give them the benefit of the doubt. Everyone has something to hide, including you. And everyone is entitled to have their secrets

However appearance does say something about you – if you do something about it that is. It says you actually give two hoots about the way you look and are willing to make yourself look presentable; particularly when you're going out on a date with your significant other. It shows you care about the other person enough to make yourself look nice for them.

Appearances can make or break a person. They can also be deceiving. Someone or something can look wonderful, appear to be of superior quality than another, etc., etc., but what we find inside will not always be what we see on the surface.

Let's say there is a restaurant – supposedly high end, with a beautifully designed exterior and interior with attractively arranged dining areas, furniture, fountains, red carpets and whatnot. The place is of paradisiacal proportions. But there's a catch – the food sucks. It's too late to do anything about it when you find out. You've already gulped it down.

Similarly, you walk into a Dosai joint in Pettah and it doesn't exactly look surgically clean. There are all sorts of people coming in and going out of it, and the place is a complete mess. But the food is simply delicious. You've never tasted anything like it before.

The above two scenarios apply to every single person we meet, place we go to, and material we purchase. Appearance matters. They say first impressions go a long way, be they good or bad. You can't afford to not care about the way you look or present yourself to others. The world works in such a way that people find it easy to trust someone who is well dressed and/or looks good over someone who is considered shabby.

But always keep in mind that that is only what a person appears to be. It is up to us to look beyond outside appearances, to look beneath the surface. The cover maybe glossy or it may even be dusty and torn. The good stuff is inside. Be sure to turn the pages, look at the contents page and browse through the chapters. Use X-Ray vision if you must. Or you won't know what you're really dealing with.

Have a nice day.

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