This was a post I wrote about a year ago on an old Blogspot blog of mine, that I found quite interesting. I’m reposting it here:
“For the last two weeks, I’ve been conducting a little social experiment on how people perceive/treat you differently depending on aesthetic factors. In layman’s terms, attractiveness. The experiment was conducted on my peers and customers at the Target store where I work in North Buffalo.
I have only been working in this Target store since April, due to transferring from the Niagara Falls Target store. Right around this time I decided to stop cutting my hair. I think I was going through a “Boho” phase, or maybe I was just plain cheap, I couldn’t tell you; the point is I had never had my hair short at my new store, I had also stopped shaving for the most part, and wore only my glasses, never contacts.
Two weeks ago, I buzzed off all of my luscious curls, and I decided to go the whole nine yards after receiving compliment after compliment on my hair. This led me to the creation of my hypothesis, which was: the more effort I put into my appearance, the more likely people were going to A.) treat me abnormally and B.) customers would be more willing to buy things from me. The next day I showed up in a Target polo, tight khakis with a belt around my waist (typically I would wear khakis with some sag to them and no belt.), my earrings in, contacts in, chapstick on (making my lips look fuller and shinier in a “manish” way, and white Nike Air Sneakers (usually I would wear a pair of Nike running shoes). I shaved my unruly beard into something much more tame and not so long; just a thin chin strap to accent my face better. I also threw on a splash of cologne for good measure.
The response was instantaneous. Over the course of the next week my co-workers were asking “where are your glasses?” There were also a ton of double takes from my peers and customer’s alike. Some of my co-workers thought I was somebody else entirely or a new employee. The compliments and exclamations of disbelief kept on pouring in. Eye contact increased, people smiled upon laying eyes on me, and I have found that I was approached with questions more and more.
The other thing that I found insane was how different I felt. I felt confident. I found myself smiling for no reason, and I found myself flashing my teeth and teasing my co-workers and customers. I found myself flirting harder than I ever had with everyone. I used lines and winks that I didn’t even know I had in me. I was bubbly, and now I realize I had become an independent variable, and an unexpected one at that.
I think the mixture of my confidence and people bolstering that confidence led to the biggest increase in my sales. People have begun buying things without question simply because I suggested it and smiled. I’ve also begun to get people to sign up for credit cards through Target which before my transformation, was almost impossible for me. I would just get a stoic “no” when I asked customers.
So in conclusion, it would appear that my hypothesis was spot-on despite the unexpected variable of my confidence increase, which I didn’t even know I was suffering from a lack of. People treated me differently, smiling at me more, complimenting me more, hitting on me, flirting with me, and staring/talking to me longer than usual. My sales have also increased ten-fold. Hell, yesterday I got a lady to buy an iPod Touch with four accessories, and a replacement plan, and a couple to sign up for a credit card despite their reservations. People treat you better when you take care and groom yourself. People treat you better when you feel good and look good. People treat you better when you are confident in your own skin, and smile more often.
Making little changes in order to feel good about yourself can never steer you wrong. Have confidence and unleash it on the world! Let this experiment be a little indication on what you can do too!
Make it a great one!”
What I find appealing about this certain piece is the idea that physical appearance can in fact attribute to how people feel about you and treat you. But what naivety I had a year ago to not consider socio-economic differences, prejudices, pre-established biases, among other factors.
A final note to consider is confidence and the role it has to play in perception. Regardless of appearance if you give off an air of confidence and people see you as confident, studies have shown that they will be drawn to you and may treat you in a more favorable light.
Honestly if you’re just yourself, there’s no one better you could be. If people can’t accept that or don’t agree with it, it shouldn’t matter because at least you’re comfortable with yourself. While we can always improve upon ourselves and evolve further, the way we perceive ourselves is so important.
I have a ton of old posts from my Blogspot blog, and I’ll be posting the best ones to this blog. (That one is being deleted, it’s entirely too depressing and bleak.)