Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Oct 31, 2009

Look Smart. We are Often Judged by our Appearance

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:51 am

When an American acquaintance of mine, out of her kind heart, offered to be my teacher of American popular culture, I started questioning myself. Do I appear this dumb, after 1/4 century stay mostly in higher education section?

This reminds me of the talks people so much enjoy engaging daily on how this or that dresses, in or out of fashion, and how much importance people attach to being right in one’s dress. Last week, I noticed how a CRC looked up and down at a monitor, as if making judgment on how people dressed.

All this reminded me of the time when I first reached this land in 1984 in Waco, TX. A nice highly religious lady, in an attempt to civilize me, blessed her heart, taught me how to eat apples. I was very much tempted to crack a joke telling her I used to live in cave or just got used to life off the tree. A salesgirl at a camera store ignored me at first but took a 360 degree change of attitude when I insisted on seeing her manager. All because I looked like a refuge fresh off the boat instead of a Ph.D. candidate.

Looking right has been important from very beginning. Yet I have all these years conveniently ignored it, lazily gone by my own rule, refused to yield to the shallow and superficial part of American culture, well, except during job interviews when I cared to look not-like-me. Meanwhile, I have observed the spectatular ignorance demonstrated by the nicely dressed and thickly-powered folks. A constant source of amusement at work.

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