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Society & Appearances -- where's the line?

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posted on Jul, 30 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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So I've been reading about Confucius, (specifically an essay on his teachings) and he says that there are ways that humans should act in society, specifically on terms of respect and civility. Now, I understand this when considering physical interactions -- I reach out to shake your hand, you shake mine, we've done a 'ceremony' of respect/civility. I get that, and I understand its purpose.. both in his day-in-age and ours.

"Rite brings out forcefully not only the harmony and beauty of social forms, the inherent and ultimate human dignity of human intercourse; it brings out also the moral perfection implicit in achieving one's ends by dealing with others as beings of equal dignity..."


However, as far as I've gotten, he makes no reference to outer appearance, to dress..

Now, as far as my question to everyone...
Does outer appearance play a part in this idea of social interaction? Is dress another level of a handshake? (meaning, 'I take care of my outer appearance as a function of respecting society')

In today's society, Virtue and one's moral character is decided by other people judging the way one dresses.
If random person X is grungy (torn up clothes, messy hair), they are outright disrespected by the public. However, if that same person puts on a suit, people are suddenly holding doors for them.
Without any words of deeds, or any gestures of respect/civility from random person X, the levels of respect shown from others changes dramatically.

Is this morally correct?

The reason I ask is simply this: Social interaction is, so I understand, physical/verbal interaction between people. I shake your hand, you shake mine. Outer appearance is not an issue.

Does/should the phrase 'social interaction' include some clause of 'outer appearance'?

Do you let physical appearance decide your level of respect for random person X? Why?





Post Script: I'm trying to look at this objectively, step outside of the box, that whole thing.
I understand the internal instincts, and while I agree that instincts are necessary, they are only necessary to a point. Inherent or not, Humans are capable of looking beyond and work past those instincts. ...besides that, if it is 'normal' that random bum is not worthy of respect simply because of how he/she looks, then my instincts must be all messed up because I feel inherent disrespect towards peeps in business suits..)




posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 12:03 PM
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A bit more explanation, I guess..

The thought for this thread was started because of a response to my 'Alright, *why* do you shave' thread.. it was along the lines of: I shave because I owe it to society.

That concept seems slightly foreign to me. This might be my inner-rebel speaking, or my lack of understanding what, exactly, one owes to society where appearance is concerned.

For the most part, people dress however they like, and that's that. But anyone who's treaded the non-conformist/rebel/punk/anything-outside-of-the-norm line knows that people scoff, snicker, and are generally rude. Is this simply a reaction to not staying in the proverbial box set forth by the culture? Or is there some social interaction that's necessarily being played out, set forth by our modes of dress..?
The questions are very close, I know. I'm trying to find the fine line between the two.. trying to understand if there is a dress code to social interactions, especially when there doesn't seem to be any dress code necessary, outside of work/formal occasions.
We do not live in a caste system (officially anyhow), therefore, there is no necessary need for dress to delegate respect/civlity given.. Or is there?

What do y'all think?



posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 02:02 PM
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What a thought-provoking question! My initial, gut reaction is to remember Polonius's fatherly advice to Laertes:

... Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man...
-- William Shakespeare
Hamlet; 1, iii

This is often misinterpreted as the old saw "clothes make the man." I always took it more as advice to try to be prepared for whatever situation one might find oneself in; being reasonably well-dressed and well-groomed never hurts, whereas the reverse could put one at a disadvantage.

I guess you have to make the decision as to what constitutes "poorly dressed." After all, we live in an age in which people pay large amounts of money for pre-ripped blue jeans and torn T-shirts -- apparently some folks find this to be the height of fashion.

General slovenliness and/or filthyness is never acceptable; it proclaims disrespect for oneself, and thereby for others. If your clothes are dirty, if your hair is unwashed and your breath stinks, then (rightfully) nobody is going to want to deal with you. If your clothes are fashionably wrinkled and your beard is fashionably stubbly and you're fashionably not wearing socks, etc. you may be OK for most social situations, but you might feel like an ass if you encountered your favorite aunt or the President of the United States or a supermodel or whatever.

Best to be prepared for whatever curveballs life throws you, and look as good as you can at any given time -- as long as you're comfortable and being true to yourself (i.e. there's no need to walk around in a suit and tie 100% of the time.) Pay more attention to the rules of style than to fashion, that way you maintain your individuality and your presentability, without cost to either.

I guess it's simplest to say that visible self-respect shows in turn your respect for others.

On the other hand, that's just me... I could be wrong.

Baack



posted on Aug, 1 2006 @ 02:48 PM
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Originally posted by Baack
What a thought-provoking question! My initial, gut reaction is to remember Polonius's fatherly advice to Laertes:

... Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man...
-- William Shakespeare
Hamlet; 1, iii


So many good quotes from that play.. And Polonius, babbling idiot that he is, gives the greatest advice I've ever heard!



General slovenliness and/or filthyness is never acceptable; it proclaims disrespect for oneself, and thereby for others. ....

Best to be prepared for whatever curveballs life throws you, and look as good as you can at any given time -- as long as you're comfortable and being true to yourself (i.e. there's no need to walk around in a suit and tie 100% of the time.) Pay more attention to the rules of style than to fashion, that way you maintain your individuality and your presentability, without cost to either.

I guess it's simplest to say that visible self-respect shows in turn your respect for others.

Baack

(emphasis mine)

While your words make sense, and speak truthfully to our time and age, I still ponder the idea of being true to oneself, and how it may proclaim disrespect for oneself at the same time... and how subjective it all really is!
(Example: My mother *hates* dreadlocks.. abhored seeing me with them, even tho they were clean. Meanwhile, others gave me thumbs up for having the guts and patience to get them going. So who was (more) right?)

How does one know the difference between a person who's simply not concerned with fashion... and someone who lacks respect for themselves?
(In my mind, clothing simply relays one's financial info...)

My answer is that posture/composure denotes one's level of self-respect, rather than one's clothing. Hanging one's head rather than holding one's head up...


It's all so curious.. No, I wouldn't wanna hug a bum. But, I have respect for them in that they manage to survive on the streets. Right off the bat, you're right -- my nose wrinkles and my mind slings out its usual flippant and shallow judgements.. But, the respect dawns on me when I stop to think about it..

So is it merely a difference between simple observation and conscious/objective thought?


And on a kinda sorta sidenote -- I'd rather be dressed like a bum if I ever meet the Pres., because then he'd be forced to personally deal with the poor of the country..
And My favorite aunt knows me well enough to look past my clothing. ...that's why she's my favorite.

(I know, I'm nit picking a random example that you gave. However, I don't understand why my clothing is the thing that determines my inner virtue. If I 'dress for success' then people's expectations are higher, and they, invariably, grow disappointed.. However, when I dress like a bum, nine times out of ten, they are pleasantly surprised...)

Maybe this is just a case like 'takes a stoner to see/know a stoner'... If random person X has no idea of virtue, or looking past people's appearances, then they will not understand why one should? ...advertising propaganda teaching us the 'morals' of fashion/styles?

Are they simply ill-educated? Or, is this a moral weakness (in that they know, but refuse to follow through)? (Confucius speaks again!)


I love social/cultural conversations!!
And, above all else, thank you for your thoughts, Baack!!



posted on Aug, 1 2006 @ 03:37 PM
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Good thread. Kind of complex.

I've always wondered why people cared how anyone dresses. As long as a person doesn't emitt a foul odor, behave erradically or display symbols of hate, I see nothing wrong with dressing any certain way. People deserve respect no matter what they wear, as long as they don't literally offend others.

It is my guess that the type of clothes you wear reflects the beliefs you hold. Maybe it is not the clothes or hair that turns people off, it is the type of life-style and belief this outfit/fashion reflects.

If you dress and wear your hair like a hippie, people automatically connect this fashion with the stereotypical behavior of a "tree-hugging, live-off-the-land, dope-smoking, VW-bus-driving hippie".
If you dress like a business man/woman, people automatically associate the business suit with knowledge, power and success. Here's a person who works! This is no lazy bell-bottom-wearing hippie.

Take also into considerations uniforms. You've got monks, nuns, soldiers, workers, (and in history we've got Kings and Aristocrats dressing a certain way) all wearing 'uniforms' to distinguish themselves from other groups within our society. We know what they do (and in some cases what they believe) based on their uniforms.

It is all about stereotypes and association. Humans are very prone to associating images to meanings/events. It is one way for us to survive. Smoke means fire, red means stop, an angry face means danger, bell-bottoms, long hair and tie-die shirt means lazy/non-productive member of society,......etc. etc. etc.

As long as you look like someone who leads a productive lifestyle, you will most likely receive respect before you've earned it with your actions.

Fashion would go a step further. Now you're not just a productive member of society, you're also cultured! After all, what are fashionable clothes except a piece of wearable art? They serve more than just the basic function of keeping us warm and covered. They also reflect our artistic tastes.

Like it or not, Clothes are 'usually' (and I say usually, because sometimes known stereotypes can misrepresent how we really feel) a reflection of who we are, and what we 'might' believe.

Is it 'right' to dis/respect people based on what they wear? Absolutely not. We can't possibly know whether a person is good or bad according to their outfits. There are plenty of business-suit-wearing men/women who belong in jail.

The fact that humans continue to associate images with messages/events, however, won't change (at least not in the near future). It is one of our basic instincts.
I say Dress accordingly.



posted on Aug, 1 2006 @ 03:41 PM
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Confusious say...

"Boy who go to bed with sex problem wake up with solution in hand."

a mighty sage indeed!

Confusious"



posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria
(snip)...
How does one know the difference between a person who's simply not concerned with fashion... and someone who lacks respect for themselves?
(In my mind, clothing simply relays one's financial info...)

My answer is that posture/composure denotes one's level of self-respect, rather than one's clothing. Hanging one's head rather than holding one's head up...


I mostly agree, except, I think, there's a difference between being not concerned with fashion (or not being able to afford the current fashion,) and being not presentable.

When I was a teenager, I had a job in a local supermarket. Every Saturday night, a lot (at least it seemed like a lot,) of Mexican-Americans came in to do their shopping. As poor as they may have been, there were always impeccably dressed. The men's jeans were clean and unfaded, their shirts crisply pressed and tucked in, their hats and boots spotless. The women wore dresses and were equally neat in all respects. These people didn't have much money, but clearly took care that their appearance was faultless. Likewise, I remember a lot of old Russian immigrants in my church who always wore a coat & tie and hat. Again, no money but sufficient respect for themselves to dress correctly when "visiting God's house."

If I wanted to be cynical here, I might suggest that maybe it's an immigrant thing -- that us home-grown Americans have gotten so used to dressing like slobs, or perhaps dressing like children, that we can't even imagine ironing a shirt to go to the grocery store or putting on a necktie to go to church.

Or maybe it's just a thing of the past. :shk:


It's all so curious.. No, I wouldn't wanna hug a bum. But, I have respect for them in that they manage to survive on the streets. Right off the bat, you're right -- my nose wrinkles and my mind slings out its usual flippant and shallow judgements.. But, the respect dawns on me when I stop to think about it..


You're right, it's a whole 'nother issue as regards the homeless. They wear what they wear purely for survival. Any other considerations are so far behind that basic fact that they're rendered moot.


And on a kinda sorta sidenote -- I'd rather be dressed like a bum if I ever meet the Pres., because then he'd be forced to personally deal with the poor of the country..


On the other hand, if you're dressed like a bum, the President is either going to A.) not meet with you; or B.) not take you seriously. Hence my point about being prepared for unexpected events. More importantly, what about the supermodel scenario?



...advertising propaganda teaching us the 'morals' of fashion/styles?


Nah, advertising simply tells us what new things we "gotta have," and from whom to buy them. The "morals of fashion/styles" come to us more, I think, through TV and movies, wherein costuming plays an important part in quickly identifying for us who the good guys and bad guys are.

Fun conversation!


Baack



posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 03:29 PM
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Originally posted by Baack
When I was a teenager, I had a job in a local supermarket. Every Saturday night, a lot (at least it seemed like a lot,) of Mexican-Americans came in to do their shopping. As poor as they may have been, there were always impeccably dressed. The men's jeans were clean and unfaded, their shirts crisply pressed and tucked in, their hats and boots spotless. The women wore dresses and were equally neat in all respects. These people didn't have much money, but clearly took care that their appearance was faultless. Likewise, I remember a lot of old Russian immigrants in my church who always wore a coat & tie and hat. Again, no money but sufficient respect for themselves to dress correctly when "visiting God's house."

If I wanted to be cynical here, I might suggest that maybe it's an immigrant thing -- that us home-grown Americans have gotten so used to dressing like slobs, or perhaps dressing like children, that we can't even imagine ironing a shirt to go to the grocery store or putting on a necktie to go to church.

Or maybe it's just a thing of the past. :shk:


My parents/family are the same. Their clothes are always clean, no matter where they're going. My mother irons (used to iron everything from socks to undies.. she blames it on being raised in Germany), but not to go to the store.
Me, I figure people should be happy that I have clothes on, and that I don't stink. If there's a stain or a wrinkle -- so what? C'est la vie. (I do draw the line at holes in the seat of my pants.. those I patch, but wear the pants just the same.)
(I never understood why people got dressed up to go to church.. but, there too, I'm not a religious person. ((I don't understand why people go to church, period.. but that's another thread.)) )


On the other hand, if you're dressed like a bum, the President is either going to A.) not meet with you; or B.) not take you seriously. Hence my point about being prepared for unexpected events. More importantly, what about the supermodel scenario?



I'd like to think that my words and manner/-isms would mean more than the clothes I wear. If I came running up at him screaming, I'd expect the secret service peeps to pounce me.
Frankly, I don't take him seriously anyhow, because of his mannerisms, nevermind the suit..

The whole supermodel thing, not considering the idea of 'women as objects' (which is bothersome, no doubt), seems to take the idea of appearance much too far. However, they are praised for it.. Do people take them seriously? I don't.. Surely the pres. would meet with them, but would he expect intelligent thoughts to bound from their painted lips?
They've chosen to value their looks above and beyond anything else.. they've chosen the route of, in my opinion, being art, rather than being human. (Maybe better said as 'human art'?)
But does that make them more virtuous of human beings for staring in a mirror? For making sure that every hair is just so, that their clothes are just right.. ?

Extremes are fun to nit pick, simply because they are extremes. Walking the line is where it's at, methinks.. and tis the line that I walk, but still..

I work at a local convenience store/gas station. I'm paid $7/hr to smile and be nice to people, to help where I can, et cetera. 'Tis truly a learning process..
They have learned that yes, I am a girl with a shaved head. Some people call me sir, others ma'am, and I smile just as kindly whatever they choose to call me -- because they have shown a level of respect and civility.
I have learned that no matter how they are dressed, they are human beings. They laugh at my jokes, suit with tie, or shirt with stains..
In this repsect, I have learned to 'un-dress' them.. that their clothes do not matter (as one day it's a raggedy shirt, the next a nice blouse or what have you..), but they themselves matter. The clothes don't make a person.. and they certainly don't make them automatically 'good' or 'bad'!


...advertising propaganda teaching us the 'morals' of fashion/styles?

Nah, advertising simply tells us what new things we "gotta have," and from whom to buy them. The "morals of fashion/styles" come to us more, I think, through TV and movies, wherein costuming plays an important part in quickly identifying for us who the good guys and bad guys are.


Tv and movies advertise just the same tho.. 'Ooo.. so-and-so's wearing this, I want it!' Nevermind the instant gratification issue, but the idea that if we look like a celebrity, then we automatically gain the virtue and respect that that celebrity/all celebrities have.. (*why* they are virtuous, I don't know.. Celebrities and supermodels remind me of parrots who do nothing but stare and mirrors and cluck at themselves!)

And truly, the idea of what is 'presentable' seems to be subjective too.. My parents refuse to wear clothes that have holes, unless they're doing housework. Seems a waste of a perfectly good pair of pants to me! I see absolutely no problem with wearing my nose and lip rings; however, my mother thinks it's positively disgusting. *shrug*
Maybe it is a generation thing.. not necessarily immagrant, but simply the changing of the times. My personal philosophy has been 'if you don't like it, don't look at it.. just turn the other cheek!'


Fun conversation indeed!!



posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 05:02 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria

The whole supermodel thing, not considering the idea of 'women as objects' (which is bothersome, no doubt), seems to take the idea of appearance much too far. However, they are praised for it.. Do people take them seriously? I don't.. Surely the pres. would meet with them, but would he expect intelligent thoughts to bound from their painted lips?
They've chosen to value their looks above and beyond anything else.. they've chosen the route of, in my opinion, being art, rather than being human.
(Maybe better said as 'human art'?)


Now who's being judgemental based on appearances and stereotypes?
Are you not judging these supermodels based on the way they dress and how they are portrayed on TV/in Magazines? Why would you not take them seriously simply because of the fact that they are 'Supermodels'? Does their pretty image reflect EVERYTHING that is inside their hearts and minds? Their 'job' is to look good. They are getting paid to look this good. Some are not very intelligent, some are cruel, some don't deserve respect,... but many are kind, intelligent, ordinary human beings who deserve respect as much as you, I, or anyone else who does not purposely offend.



But does that make them more virtuous of human beings for staring in a mirror? For making sure that every hair is just so, that their clothes are just right.. ?


Just as you smile and stand behind a counter to get paid, they stare in the mirror to make sure they can perform the job they are supposed to perform;....... to look good for the camera.




And truly, the idea of what is 'presentable' seems to be subjective too.. My parents refuse to wear clothes that have holes, unless they're doing housework. Seems a waste of a perfectly good pair of pants to me! I see absolutely no problem with wearing my nose and lip rings; however, my mother thinks it's positively disgusting. *shrug*
Maybe it is a generation thing.. not necessarily immagrant, but simply the changing of the times. My personal philosophy has been 'if you don't like it, don't look at it.. just turn the other cheek!'


Maybe your parents have preconceived notions of people with piercings and holes in their clothes, just as you have preconceived notions about people who look good for a living.
Maybe TV and the natural desire to associate smoke with fire got to you too.

Maybe the reason your parents don't like seeing you dress the way you do is because they know others might show disrespect toward you/their child simply because of the way you are dressed. Maybe they don't like the idea of you getting hurt simply because of what you are wearing. Sometimes you have to look at it from their point of view.



posted on Aug, 4 2006 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by 2manyquestions

Originally posted by Diseria

The whole supermodel thing, not considering the idea of 'women as objects' (which is bothersome, no doubt), seems to take the idea of appearance much too far. However, they are praised for it.. Do people take them seriously? I don't.. Surely the pres. would meet with them, but would he expect intelligent thoughts to bound from their painted lips?
They've chosen to value their looks above and beyond anything else.. they've chosen the route of, in my opinion, being art, rather than being human.
(Maybe better said as 'human art'?)


Now who's being judgemental based on appearances and stereotypes?
Are you not judging these supermodels based on the way they dress and how they are portrayed on TV/in Magazines? Why would you not take them seriously simply because of the fact that they are 'Supermodels'? Does their pretty image reflect EVERYTHING that is inside their hearts and minds? Their 'job' is to look good. They are getting paid to look this good. Some are not very intelligent, some are cruel, some don't deserve respect,... but many are kind, intelligent, ordinary human beings who deserve respect as much as you, I, or anyone else who does not purposely offend.


Touche.. Touche indeed.
And thank you for that mental check... you are correct.



Maybe your parents have preconceived notions of people with piercings and holes in their clothes, just as you have preconceived notions about people who look good for a living.
Maybe TV and the natural desire to associate smoke with fire got to you too.

Maybe the reason your parents don't like seeing you dress the way you do is because they know others might show disrespect toward you/their child simply because of the way you are dressed. Maybe they don't like the idea of you getting hurt simply because of what you are wearing. Sometimes you have to look at it from their point of view.


Again, touche.
However, I would add that while my mother shakes her head at me, both my parents get a good chuckle with the stuff I pull off sometimes. In fact, my father and I used to troll the malls simply to watch the reactions of people! hehe
They told me, "You can dress however you want.. you are the one that will have to deal with it.. not us."

My parents still wish (sometimes) that I was a little girl... and frankly, I wish the same. With the knowledge (biased and unbiased) that I have now, I miss the years of naivete... when clothes and skin color didn't matter, so long as you had someone to play with.. when all people were good, honest, and trustworthy.. No, it may not be the most correct way of living life, but dang it..
Where now everyone I meet automatically gets a grain of salt, life was not so salty back then.

To be fair, I've been on a 'visual abstinence' kick... I don't watch tv. I have one, I just don't use it. And after about 4 years, I don't even miss it. (In fact... I think I'm gaining memory space back! I'm forgetting lots of ads that I thought would be engrained forever!)



posted on Aug, 4 2006 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria
(snip)...
The whole supermodel thing, not considering the idea of 'women as objects' (which is bothersome, no doubt)... (snip)
But does that make them more virtuous of human beings for staring in a mirror? For making sure that every hair is just so, that their clothes are just right.. ?


First, I'm embarrassed to say I didn't realize you're a woman; the whole "meeting a supermodel" scenario was mostly an attempt on my part to be funny -- I certainly didn't mean to be inappropriate, and I apologize for any sexism I may have displayed.

Having said that, if they're making sure that every hair is just so, and that their clothes are just right, because they're being paid a lot of money by people who have
put their faith of them to do their job perfectly, then yes, they're definitely being virtuous. Modeling is tedious and physically demanding work that also requires a goodly degree of intelligence and talent -- idiots need not apply. At any rate, professionalism in the faithful execution of one's job is a virtue, and, I think, a high one at that.


I work at a local convenience store/gas station. I'm paid $7/hr to smile and be nice to people, to help where I can, et cetera. 'Tis truly a learning process..
work of two They have learned that yes, I am a girl with a shaved head. Some people call me sir, others ma'am, and I smile just as kindly whatever they choose to call me -- because they have shown a level of respect and civility.


I suppose it would be just... too easy to observe that a girl with a shaved head (previously dreadlocked), nose rings, et cetera is in the process of trying out various fashions? Perhaps for fun, perhaps to try out new identities? (Which is certainly a prerogative of the young.) Anyway, how is that different from putting on expensive designer clothes, or expensive hip-hop fashions, or a Tucker Carlson bow tie, or any other of the countless fashion statements people make to assert their individuality?

Frank Zappa (you kids all know who Frank Zappa was, don't you?
), at a concert he was doing in the late 1960s, commented that "everyone in this room is wearing a uniform." Of course, everyone in the room was wearing their antiestablishment, countercultural, bellbottomed Levi's, which they purchased at the mall. Hippies, punks, grunge fans, rappers, skateboarders, preppies, yuppies, jocks, cyberpunks, soccer moms, NASCAR fans, all have their uniforms, which any number of clothing manufacturers and retailers will be most happy to accept money for. Tattoo artists, body piercers, and hairstylists are all ready, willing, and able to help an individual proclaim that they don't care what people think of the way they look.


And truly, the idea of what is 'presentable' seems to be subjective too..


I agree there is a sliding scale as to what constitutes presentability. I don't think there's any moral value one way or another as regards holes in one's clothes, or even the level of one's cleanliness. I still say that it goes back to self-respect, which reflects on one's respect for others. Speaking purely for myself, I'd be more inclined to engage in conversation with, or appeal for help to someone who, at quick appraisal, at least appears to be sufficiently pulled-together to be out in public. No moral judgments made, and it's only an inclination, not a rule. But there you go.


Maybe it is a generation thing.. not necessarily immagrant, but simply the changing of the times.


I hate to sound like an old guy here, but that's pretty much whatever generation thinks. It's what me and my friends thought when we put on our faded Levi's and Frye boots, all the better to go with our white-guy Afros. I'm sure it's what my dad thought when he switched from a wide-brim fedora to a narrow-brim, and stopped wearing undershirts.

And so it goes...

Baack



posted on Aug, 4 2006 @ 05:07 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria
Touche.. Touche indeed.
And thank you for that mental check... you are correct.


You're welcome.
Baack has made some great points as well.




To be fair, I've been on a 'visual abstinence' kick... I don't watch tv. I have one, I just don't use it. And after about 4 years, I don't even miss it. (In fact... I think I'm gaining memory space back! I'm forgetting lots of ads that I thought would be engrained forever!)


Good for you. I wish I were able to banish TV from my life. I tried once. I lasted two weeks. It was great while it lasted.



posted on Aug, 5 2006 @ 03:35 AM
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Funny this thread came up.

My wife was kidding me for shaving, on a morning when we'd be driving all day on vacation. She knows I hate it, and was surprised that I'd do so on vacation. I explained that I planned to speed, and the officer who stops you has nothing to judge you on, other than what he sees. . . . Yes, it is superficially, but until he learns more about you, all he has to go on is what you see.

I worked in law enforcement for a time, and I can tell you, that if drug runners would shave and keep a clean car, cops would leave them alone. It is actually in most police profiles, that slobs get extra attention . . . whether it's stupid or wicked is irrelevant---it's the way things are.

Thinking people have always enjoyed mocking the fashions and styles of the day. But fashion is a social cue, a way of proclaiming that you are capable of conforming. Not everyone is.

Necktie is a good example. I hate them, but have to wear them a couple of times a week. People treat me better, look me in the eye, start conversations. Particularly when I'm in a govt. institution (courthouse, etc.) They also let me skirt the rules more.

Now, they are making an assumption, but it is one that our experience bears out:

While not every snappy dresser is morally upright, the reverse DOES hold---many criminals and immoral people don't bother with societal norms.

Another example is saying "please" and 'thank you.' My children do this, probably a tiny minority in the United States. Adults are always eager to interact with them. Think for a minute about what that means for gaining the positive regard of teachers, store clerks, etc. My kids have an edge in the world, and get preferential treatment, because they know the rules of etiquette.

My kids, in turn, learn how to interact comfortably with authority figures. Which means they will probably grow up to BE authority figures. Hey, it's fine with me. That's where the money is.



If all of this seems shallow, answer me this: who would you rather have as a house guest, someone who was clean and courteous, and an easy conversationalist? Or someone who left his smelly socks on the sofa, who drank from the milk jug, who took a fiver off your dresser, mumbled a lot, left lights on, and who cleaned out your fridge before they left????

.



posted on Aug, 5 2006 @ 11:00 AM
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Baack -- No worries!!! It takes a lot to offend me, and I didn't think anything you said was sexist. Even if it was, I'd probably have laughed.

Truthfully, yes, I am a girl.. but mentally I'm androgenous.. I am merely a human being. Body parts are just that.. parts, and do not make up the whole person. And in today's society where people change their parts like their undies.. well, the parts just don't seem as important anymore.




Having said that, if they're making sure that every hair is just so, and that their clothes are just right, because they're being paid a lot of money by people who have
put their faith of them to do their job perfectly, then yes, they're definitely being virtuous. Modeling is tedious and physically demanding work that also requires a goodly degree of intelligence and talent -- idiots need not apply. At any rate, professionalism in the faithful execution of one's job is a virtue, and, I think, a high one at that.


True, and well said. However, what about people who look like models, but aren't? Those who primp and preen, but aren't getting paid to do so?


Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
(snip)

I worked in law enforcement for a time, and I can tell you, that if drug runners would shave and keep a clean car, cops would leave them alone. It is actually in most police profiles, that slobs get extra attention . . . whether it's stupid or wicked is irrelevant---it's the way things are.


So mannerisms play no part in the instantaneous judgements of a cop? My car was always wicked dirty, but I addressed them with respect, no matter how angry I was that I was caught.. Depending on their mood, and what time of month, sometimes I slid, sometimes I didn't.



Thinking people have always enjoyed mocking the fashions and styles of the day. But fashion is a social cue, a way of proclaiming that you are capable of conforming. Not everyone is.


Do you suppose, outside of a caste system, that that is the entire purpose of fashion/clothing, nothing more, nothing less.. (outside of simply covering ourselves, of course.. speaking in terms of 'civilized' society..)


Necktie is a good example. I hate them, but have to wear them a couple of times a week. People treat me better, look me in the eye, start conversations. Particularly when I'm in a govt. institution (courthouse, etc.) They also let me skirt the rules more.


*knocks on wood* I've never been in a courthouse, so I can't say anything about that. However, even with holes in my pants, knots in my hair (or the complete lack of hair), stretched ear lobes.. the whole nine.. People still start conversations with me. In fact, I've had more people come up and talk to me out of the blue when I'm walking with my head up, than when I'm staring at the ground. People respond better to me when I simply greet them.. sheer civility and respect.. nevermind what I'm wearing.
I've been allowed to skirt rules if my mannerisms are proper, and my questions well framed.. If they know that I'm trying to understand and work with them.. they are willing to work with me...


While not every snappy dresser is morally upright, the reverse DOES hold---many criminals and immoral people don't bother with societal norms.


I may be playing Devil's Advocate, I'm not sure.. But, I'd still argue that this is subjective.. Outside of the fact that it's been hot, and the majority of people are grumpy because of this, the people that I *know* are immoral dress the same as everyone else. Some I know because of prior experience, but otherwise my cues are given by their mannerisms, not their nice clothing.. their lack of manners, their sneers, the tone in their voice.. the way they carry and compose themselves. Again, slobs and suits have ticked me off, and other slobs and suits have made my day.



Another example is saying "please" and 'thank you.' My children do this, probably a tiny minority in the United States. Adults are always eager to interact with them. Think for a minute about what that means for gaining the positive regard of teachers, store clerks, etc. My kids have an edge in the world, and get preferential treatment, because they know the rules of etiquette.

My kids, in turn, learn how to interact comfortably with authority figures. Which means they will probably grow up to BE authority figures. Hey, it's fine with me. That's where the money is.


It's good to hear that someone's teaching their kids manners and etiquette. I'm starting to think that either people have given up on teaching, or they themselves never learned manners in order to teach them. It's amazing how rude people are in everyday situations...

And honestly, I'm split on the idea of authority figures. My inner rebel says, "I don't like them".. which is not always true. I know several cops who are very nice men.. nice mannered, I should say.
And since money has no real value to me (which is another reason that I'm broke
), I have no urge to join in the ranks. Really, if I get my wish, I'll be living out on a farm in the middle of nowhere.. as far from the ranks as possible. ...it's hermit time!



If all of this seems shallow, answer me this: who would you rather have as a house guest, someone who was clean and courteous, and an easy conversationalist? Or someone who left his smelly socks on the sofa, who drank from the milk jug, who took a fiver off your dresser, mumbled a lot, left lights on, and who cleaned out your fridge before they left????


I see the point you're trying to get at, but would you even let the second person in your house if they didn't *at least* say please? Being 'courteous' and 'an easy conversationalist' does not, *really*, have anything to do with how they dress.. And I'd assume that you'd be able to sniff out the moocher by their overall mannerisms, no matter what clothing he/she was wearing.
So long as the person is civil and respectful, has decent manners, and they aren't crusty or otherwise infested, they are more than welcome on my couch.


On a complete sidenote: How was your vacation? Well spent? Mind if I ask where you went? Next week I'm going to visit my family in Germany. I shall, as always, carry my social experiment with me and see how things go overseas.. (my hypothesis is that I'll get the same results.. altho for my mother's sake, I shall be sans nose and lip rings.

[edit on 5-8-2006 by Diseria]



posted on Aug, 5 2006 @ 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by Diseria



Having said that, if they're making sure that every hair is just so, and that their clothes are just right, because they're being paid a lot of money by people who ....


True, and well said. However, what about people who look like models, but aren't? Those who primp and preen, but aren't getting paid to do so?


What if that's all they have?



posted on Aug, 5 2006 @ 12:11 PM
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Vacation was to northern new mexico. It was a hoot. Hermit time, except with the wife and kids . . .

I was posting purely about the manner of dress. But obviously, we all give mannerisms a lot more credence than clothing. As far as cops go, they are actively seeking more input about you than simply your clothes and dress. The classic example is a person with slurred speech and tired eyes, with saccades and a "liquor" smell on their breath. Yes, those are frequently the signs of serious intoxication; but they are also the signs of someone slipping into a severe diabetic episode . . . and some serious alcoholics are both.

About 80 percent of the people locked up by the police are inebriated. And they usually aren't "well" dressed, even when they're wearing prom dresses or tuxedos. Many (not all) drunks have stains on their clothes, or are missing a shoe or something. That was my only point.

*******

You know, there are various subcultures; and the piercing/tattoo culture has its own definitions of proper behavior. Just because they are not the same as the "suit wearing culture" doesn't mean they don't have their own internal logic. Most people will respect the etiquette of a different subculture, even when they don't participate in it personally.

When in another nation, the best way to make friends and get help is to attempt to learn a bit of the language. In France, which supposedly is Americophobic, I got instant help and compliments for trying to use a French phrase book. Same as non-English speakers get in America---help and consideration, for acknowledging someone else's culture.

There's a difference between trying to dance to a different tune, and having no rythm at all.





In fact, I've had more people come up and talk to me out of the blue when I'm walking with my head up, than when I'm staring at the ground.


You know, that's a huge pet peeve of mine. Many people under about 25 or so, when you introduce yourself, and state your full name . . . they look away, and say something like "Oh, hi." I was at a business negotiation last fall, and someone did that to me. Since they needed my cooperation, I made a point of saying to the person "Hey, that's rude. I just gave you my full name, and my role in this conference, the polite response is to give me similar information back." He looks away, and says "uhhh . . . I'm Mike." Fine, Beavis. Be that way. But don't look for any help from me. I can tell you don't give a rip about anyone but yourself, and so I don't want any business with you . . . .

********

On the other hand, you have people who are plastic. They rely on social roles to coerce you into working with them. The guy with a kung-fu grip of a handshake, who has a "radio voice." And a jokey attitude like we went to school together, coupled with stupid "compliments." They usually dress for attention-getting. Loud tie, expensive sunglasses, fancy cell-phone, ridiculous shoes, like aligator or something, and the verbal routine of a car salesman:

"HE-eey. Comin' Atcha! Dood! You see that Rangers' game last night? Cool! Hey, nice car! So a happening guy like yourself needs to impress the boss, in a BRAND NEW CAR LIKE MINE! Drives the babes wild, dood. Say, you're a kewl guy, who doesn't have his head up his butt, so I know your gonna flip for this new software . . ."

Security, please. This person was just leaving my office. Help him out.
.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by Baack

Originally posted by Diseria



Having said that, if they're making sure that every hair is just so, and that their clothes are just right, because they're being paid a lot of money by people who ....


True, and well said. However, what about people who look like models, but aren't? Those who primp and preen, but aren't getting paid to do so?


What if that's all they have?


Honestly, the thought of someone having no interests past their own 'good' looks makes me sad. I mean, granted we use only 10% of our brains, but there's so much more in/to this world than looks!

I guess if it makes them happy, then rock on with that. But it seems an utter waste.. (Besides the fact that I'd then have to seriously question what 'happiness' is, or has become.. I'd throw Boethius' Consolation of Lady Philosophy at them.. or Plato/Socrates, Aristotle, anything..)

I might not be living life to its fullest, but dang it.. I at least break out of my own molds and routines, try new things, broaden my horizons, all that jazz..
(Maybe if they told me they were meditating with the mirror.. then at least there's the hope that they were finding out the secrets to the universe or something.. But I don't think eyeliner helps.)

[edit on 7-8-2006 by Diseria]



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 02:40 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
I was posting purely about the manner of dress. But obviously, we all give mannerisms a lot more credence than clothing.


In theory, yes. But how often have I been scoffed at because I look different than the norm? In theory, being nice and holding doors open for people gets you a 'Thank you' and a smile. Yet, more and more, people eyeball me and walk right on in, leaving me to call 'you're welcome' after them.




You know, there are various subcultures; and the piercing/tattoo culture has its own definitions of proper behavior. Just because they are not the same as the "suit wearing culture" doesn't mean they don't have their own internal logic. Most people will respect the etiquette of a different subculture, even when they don't participate in it personally.


Again, in theory, yes. Some people seek advice, which is kinda neat. But, still, most of the time it's just not accepted; or if it's accepted on the surface, you're still treated differently. At least in my limited experience. Just the same with gays.. they are accepted so long as they're in the room, and the miunte they leave the jokes start. So how far has the acceptance really come?

* * * *

It's odd. Most people that I know, no matter their age, I've no idea what their name is! I just know them by face, and they me.. We say, 'hey, how you doin'?' and that's about it. (Altho, it's super nice when they actually stop to listen to the response.. *that* is a pet peeve of mine. Why bother asking me how I'm doing, if you don't care to listen for my answer?) Some people go out of their way to introduce themselves, at which point I extend my hand and name in kind. Most people, I smile and nod my head, but it never goes anything past that.
Of course, I've never been to a business conference/negotiation, in which case it would be unthinkably rude, as you said. Like stepping up to someone's house and not letting them know who you are and why you're there.. (those people are lucky that I don't have a big dog... yet)

Do you suppose that it's something caused by the internet/chat rooms? Names and (real) identities don't really matter, since all that ever comes into play is the conversation itself?
And bearing that in mind -- is that why dress becomes, either, so important, or completely non-important? Whenever I met people irl that I knew online, it never mattered to me what they looked like, so much that they carried themselves in a way that matched what I knew online...

* * * *

And no worries.. I know enough German to get where I think I'm going.. and I'm kinda cheating, as my mother speaks German, and my family speaks English. So I can reasonably get away with my 'Americanized German'. I've got several phrase-books, so if nothing else, they'll automatically know that I'm an Auslander..



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 05:45 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria

Do you suppose that it's something caused by the internet/chat rooms? Names and (real) identities don't really matter, since all that ever comes into play is the conversation itself?
And bearing that in mind -- is that why dress becomes, either, so important, or completely non-important? Whenever I met people irl that I knew online, it never mattered to me what they looked like, so much that they carried themselves in a way that matched what I knew online...



In my experience, the dropping of etiquette norms predates the internet (~1994?)

I think it's merely a product of the youth culture, begun with James Dean and Elvis, and following through with the "attitude" of the 60's and 70's.

Basically, I'm me, and I don't owe nobody nothin'.

A lot of social etiquette (sp?) across cultures, involves voluntarily resigning your own personal "dignity" to offer help another person. Asian cultures bow when meeting. Others hold a door for somone, ask after family and health, etc.. Used to be holding a chair for a person who was about to sit, or standing when speaking to a stranger.

Usually some small token of esteem or concern with another's comfort or information.

What we have in the west is the decline of that sort of etiquette, and it's replacement with a "pride" system. Like two samarai who won't step aside when they meet. Or gangstas who have their "game face" whenever anyone tries to make eye contact.

The two systems can exist side-by-side, as the example of Samarai or old west gunslingers would show.

It's just a different definition of chivalry. And the word chivalry was originally from the french word for horsemanship, since being a good knight meant being able to rescue the downtrodden, or slice somone's head off, as the situation called for.

I think humans have a basic need to have rules for determining who is excluded from the group. ALL humans do it, instinctively. And social norms are just manifesting that ancient need to figure out who the outsider is.

Urban life is increasingly anonymous, and so there is no social cost for treating strangers with contempt.

I grew up in a very small town, less that 3000 people. Farmers would wave when they passed another pickup on the road. Even at highway speed, they could tell the wave of one finger at the top of the steering wheel. The trick was to give a small wave, but one big enough the other guy could see it. If you didn't wave at all, it meant you either didn't recognize him, or were P.O'd at him.

Can you imagine people in a large city waving to each car they passed?

.



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