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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Which would you rather be--smart? or beautiful?
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07/19/2009 04:52:50 PM · #1
Yesterday, someone remarked, in the course of a conversation on a related topic, that she doesn't care what she looks like. By that I think she meant she has no interest in anything beyond the minimal effort in her appearance. She had no way of knowing that this is one of my pet peeves. People who don't care what they look like & who brag about it like it proves how above it all they are.

The topic under discussion was if you had to choose between smart & beautiful, which would you choose?

Caring what you look like doesn't necessarily mean you're basing your entire sense of self-worth on your appearance in the eyes of other people. Nor does it mean you're dedicating all your resources to your appearance. Nor does it mean you aren't smart.

What I saw before me was a middle aged housewife, whose hairstyle was determined by where the mouse-brown hairs broke off naturally, whose eyebrows were bushy & unshaped, whose face was innocent of make-up except for thin, vampire-red lips. She was wearing a shapeless 'coverup' type of a top in some kind of a small, pajama-like print. I could see for myself that she put minimal effort into her appearance.

There is a fine line between caring about what you look like & caring for nothing but what you look like. There is an art to dressing appropriately. Knowing that what you look like has an effect on people and caring what that effect is are 2 different things. People who announce they don't care what they look like strike me as self-deluded.

Their whole I-don't-are-what-I-look-like schtick seems to me to be carefully crafted to impress me with how little that person cares about anyone, including me. It seems defensive, an attack-apology. I believe we deliberately (if perhaps subconsciously) create an appearance that gets what we want, or re-affirms what we expect from people. To announce "I don't care what I look like" is just silly. And it is most definitely not the opposite of wearing whatever everyone else is wearing because everyone else is wearing it.

So, when she said "I don't care what I look like," I just said "um-hm."
07/19/2009 05:05:59 PM · #2
Unfortunately, here in America all too much emphasis is put upon personal appearance such that stating that you care nothing about what you look like makes such a statement in itself.

Why does it have to be so?

I know people who are genuinely oblivious of their personal image because it really doesn't matter to them, yet they then become tagged with making the aforementioned statement. Yet they are good people.

Personally, I hate it that it matters. I'm not a particularly attractive guy who has issues with self-confidence especially as it relates to personal appearance. It also bothers me that I'm more likely to approach a stranger at a social gathering if they're attractive in appearance.

Though I like to think that the longevity of the relationship I establish with people is based on who they are rather than what they look like, I'm guilty of the opposite when I seek out a new acquaintenance.

And I'm not really happy about that.....

I think it probably has something to do with my own sense of self-worth because of the negative opinion I have of my own appearance that makes me want to be around people more beautiful than I.
07/19/2009 05:11:32 PM · #3
I wear sensible shoes. They are often not beautiful, but they do not hurt my feet.

Message edited by author 2009-07-20 02:29:24.
07/19/2009 05:20:29 PM · #4
Honestly, I do care about to look a lot. My first impressions comes from the look most likely (first) I think that's also I am a photographer not psychologist :P

...but, it doesn't mean I would go for anything or anyone looks good, what's after the first impression is as good as the first impression. Decision maker is usually "what comes after"
07/19/2009 05:20:44 PM · #5
I'm not willing to give up either one. ;-)
07/19/2009 05:23:39 PM · #6
Beauty can be created - if we are born ugly we can get a face lift, a boob job (for the women), a penile implant (for the guys), a tummy tuck, liposuction of body fat anywhere on the body, etc etc etc. So, we can fix ugly.

We can't fix stupid.

So, I'd rather be smart
07/19/2009 05:26:43 PM · #7
I'm smart. I would not give that up any day for better looks. I am plain. I don't wear much makeup except for a bit of eye liner and sometimes face powder. You would probably look at me and say I don't put much thought into my appearance. I don't wear the latest fashions, I rarely wear jewelry, I don't wear nail polish, I wear what is comfortable and looks good (I don't go out in public in pyjamas or sweat pants though!!!). Do I care what you think of my appearance? Not one little bit. I think it is a shame that people are judged on their appearances. My partner is in a wheelchair. He is one of the most intelligent people I know (he went to university when he was 12 years old), he is funny and kind, he is a productive member of society with a great job. But I often see people treat him as if he were mentally handicapped instead of physically handicapped. It kills me.
07/19/2009 05:48:49 PM · #8
I'm confused. The title says one thing but the OP's post is about something else. Maybe the title should be "I don't like people who refuse to dress up"?
07/19/2009 07:01:42 PM · #9
I would rather be smart. I find it disturbing that beauty, for some people, seems to be judged by adhering to the current fads of cosmetics, hair styles, body type, clothing, etc... The fashion and cosmetics industries have done a marvelous marketing job to impress upon people what the "ideal look" for someone should be. If you were to examine some of the amazing street photography on this site, for instance, you can find multiple occurances of women not in fashionable clothing or wearing cosmetics but the aura of self confidence and perserverance that shines from their eyes or in evidence in their postures screams beautiful soul, not just outward beauty.
07/19/2009 07:42:19 PM · #10
Originally posted by pixelpig:



What I saw before me was a middle aged housewife, whose hairstyle was determined by where the mouse-brown hairs broke off naturally, whose eyebrows were bushy & unshaped, whose face was innocent of make-up except for thin, vampire-red lips. She was wearing a shapeless 'coverup' type of a top in some kind of a small, pajama-like print. I could see for myself that she put minimal effort into her appearance.



Susan Boyle?
07/19/2009 08:04:10 PM · #11
Originally posted by pixelpig:

Yesterday, someone remarked, in the course of a conversation on a related topic, that she doesn't care what she looks like. By that I think she meant she has no interest in anything beyond the minimal effort in her appearance. She had no way of knowing that this is one of my pet peeves. People who don't care what they look like & who brag about it like it proves how above it all they are.

The topic under discussion was if you had to choose between smart & beautiful, which would you choose?

Caring what you look like doesn't necessarily mean you're basing your entire sense of self-worth on your appearance in the eyes of other people. Nor does it mean you're dedicating all your resources to your appearance. Nor does it mean you aren't smart.

What I saw before me was a middle aged housewife, whose hairstyle was determined by where the mouse-brown hairs broke off naturally, whose eyebrows were bushy & unshaped, whose face was innocent of make-up except for thin, vampire-red lips. She was wearing a shapeless 'coverup' type of a top in some kind of a small, pajama-like print. I could see for myself that she put minimal effort into her appearance.

There is a fine line between caring about what you look like & caring for nothing but what you look like. There is an art to dressing appropriately. Knowing that what you look like has an effect on people and caring what that effect is are 2 different things. People who announce they don't care what they look like strike me as self-deluded.

Their whole I-don't-are-what-I-look-like schtick seems to me to be carefully crafted to impress me with how little that person cares about anyone, including me. It seems defensive, an attack-apology. I believe we deliberately (if perhaps subconsciously) create an appearance that gets what we want, or re-affirms what we expect from people. To announce "I don't care what I look like" is just silly. And it is most definitely not the opposite of wearing whatever everyone else is wearing because everyone else is wearing it.

So, when she said "I don't care what I look like," I just said "um-hm."


ilook like monkey but i am glad that i have minimum basic IQ.

PS: my wife is brave woman, she married me despite how i looked.
07/19/2009 09:02:00 PM · #12
There is a nonsensical truism in our culture that no-one can be smart & beautiful. And if you don't feel you are either beautiful or smart (and who among us doesn't feel he or she could be more beautiful?) there isn't a comfortable option to be just well groomed and well dressed. Why do some feel they have to not care about their appearance? True, maybe you are not ever going to be described as a beauty, but do you also have to have bushy unkept eyebrows and a no-maintenance haircut?

It's a form of respect for others to be well groomed and well dressed for them. I'm surrounded by perfectly ordinary people every day & some of them are remarkable well groomed & it lifts my spirits.
07/19/2009 09:10:48 PM · #13
I choose "smart."

To paraphrase a much longer tirade by Ron White on this exact subject...... You can't fix stupid.

:)
07/19/2009 09:58:35 PM · #14
I'm smart, and happy to be so. I've been told i'm also cute, pretty, lovely, and my husband (of course!) tells me i am gorgeous.

But i could almost be the woman in the OPs story, most days. I cut my hair once a year at best, have never been a fan of makeup, and don't give a rat's ass about fashion.

So, what's that to you? Does it mean i don't care about my appearance? I keep myself neat and tidy, but frankly - i don't give a crap about what YOU (the generalized "you") care about how i look.
07/19/2009 11:06:55 PM · #15
Originally posted by pixelpig:

It's a form of respect for others to be well groomed and well dressed for them.

I disagree.

Clean, neat, and presentable is one thing, well groomed & well dressed simply for others is unneeded and unnecessary.

If you choose to be well groomed and well dressed for yourself, that's fine, but I simply cannot see how just taking care of basic hygiene and dressing comfortably is disrespectful on any level.

Any society that dictates that is not one I would choose to be a part of.....
07/19/2009 11:10:05 PM · #16
whether you like it or not, society does (consciously or not) judge others by appearance.
07/19/2009 11:14:21 PM · #17
Originally posted by crayon:

whether you like it or not, society does (consciously or not) judge others by appearance.

As do I, but I also don't necessarily let it dictate how far I'll let it affect me.

I don't go to a nice restaurant in shorts and a tee, but neither do I wear a tie if I'm not in the mood.
07/19/2009 11:36:07 PM · #18
"Which would you rather be--smart? or beautiful?"

I thank God that I'm smart enough to know when "beautiful" matters.

At a business interview, "beautiful" matters. (And so does "smart".)

At a dinner out with my family, "beautiful" does not matter. "Love" matters.

If you come to my house, "beautiful" as it applies to my house does not matter. I assume you've come to see me, and not my house.

It's all relative... and not necessarily relative to the viewer.

I've found that, as I've grown older and wiser, things that used to seem so important to me, really aren't.
07/19/2009 11:39:54 PM · #19
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by crayon:

whether you like it or not, society does (consciously or not) judge others by appearance.

As do I, but I also don't necessarily let it dictate how far I'll let it affect me.
I don't go to a nice restaurant in shorts and a tee, but neither do I wear a tie if I'm not in the mood.


well said. it's like going for a job interview - you'd have to dress the part whether you like it or not, or that nicely dressed guy/gal fighting for the same vacancy (all other things equal) would get it instead.
07/19/2009 11:41:22 PM · #20
Whether intentional or not, you're coming across, in your OP, as more annoying and offensive as the woman you're railing against.
07/19/2009 11:44:52 PM · #21
Fashion minimalists may be unwilling to care more for their appearance than absolutely necessary, which is OK with me because it's actually none of my business anyway. Up until someone looks me in the eye & says "I don't care about my appearance." Then I have to wonder. [eta] or start railing. Whichever. I can only speak for myself & have no intention of attempting to speak for anyone else. Schlep if you want.

Message edited by author 2009-07-19 23:53:39.
07/20/2009 12:01:25 AM · #22
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by pixelpig:

It's a form of respect for others to be well groomed and well dressed for them.

I disagree.

Clean, neat, and presentable is one thing, well groomed & well dressed simply for others is unneeded and unnecessary.

If you choose to be well groomed and well dressed for yourself, that's fine, but I simply cannot see how just taking care of basic hygiene and dressing comfortably is disrespectful on any level.

Any society that dictates that is not one I would choose to be a part of.....


You know what Jeb I did say it's a form of respect for others to be well groomed & well dressed for them but I did not say it's a form of disrespect to be just taking care of basic hygiene & dressing comfortably.
07/20/2009 12:05:47 AM · #23
Originally posted by pixelpig:

Fashion minimalists may be unwilling to care more for their appearance than absolutely necessary, which is OK with me because it's actually none of my business anyway. Up until someone looks me in the eye & says "I don't care about my appearance." Then I have to wonder. [eta] or start railing. Whichever. I can only speak for myself & have no intention of attempting to speak for anyone else. Schlep if you want.


come to think of it, yeah... it does peeves me a little if someone "brags" about not caring about his/her own appearance. i think these are the ones who DOES care but is using reverse psychology to make the idea stick ;)
07/20/2009 12:13:30 AM · #24
Originally posted by pixelpig:

Fashion minimalists may be unwilling to care more for their appearance than absolutely necessary, which is OK with me because it's actually none of my business anyway. Up until someone looks me in the eye & says "I don't care about my appearance." Then I have to wonder. [eta] or start railing. Whichever. I can only speak for myself & have no intention of attempting to speak for anyone else. Schlep if you want.


I'd understand the peeve a little more if this person was either constantly insisting that she didn't care, or if she was rubbing it in someone's face and making snide comments about THEIR appearance, but it sounds to me like it was just a casual remark made during a relevant conversation. Of course, I don't have the whole story, and can only go by what you wrote.

Sometimes, context is very, very important.
07/20/2009 12:59:15 AM · #25
I have an IQ of 147 some people say that makes me smart! But often times I'm Blindingly stupid!

I've been bald with no eyebrows, I've worn wigs and fake eyebrows in public to please the public! My head was itchy and hot, my eyebrows sometimes fell off, I was uncomfortable and in all honesty probably looked ridiculous! I got to the point where I'd go bald and damn anyone who thought I should make more of an effort.

I've been overweight after coming off chemotherapy, I've been hairy because I wasn't allowed to shave or wax for quite some time after finishing chemotherapy. I've had bushy eyebrows and wild and wooly hair that I didn't cut just because I was glad to have some! I'm now thin again and I seriously don't give a damn what anyone thinks about me but me!

I've been told I'm beautiful in all states of appearance make-up or not, sick, or well. I've been beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside, Ugly on the outside, beautiful on the inside.

Brains are not something you should put on your personal CV as something to be proud of. Brains are something you're born with, not everyone is so lucky. Same goes for beauty.

This is also something I tell my daughter too, who is studying two years ahead of herself. That brains are a gift and it's her responsibility to use them to the best of her ability, that is what she can be proud of, not the fact she has them!

I suggest rather than spending time giving two hoots what you think of other people and their appearance, you spend more time thinking about WHY you care in the first place.

Judge not lest ye be judged!
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