Here’s a scene for you. I’m sitting at Plush Pup with my dad, me with a gyro and him with a cheesecake. The seats and red and sparkly and bouncy. The table has boomerang triangles and metal edges. Soccer is playing on both of the TVs, neither of them in English. He’s talking about how he met my mom, some of the more memorable dates, how he proposed. I’m listening to him, giving him aws and mmms between bites of pita and meat. I’m wearing a pair of dark wash jeans, a t-shirt and my Columbia College hoodie. My hair, as it has been since eighth grade, is tied into a low-hanging pony tail. My face is a bare as it was the day I was born. My wardrobe does not stray much from this concept.
He pauses in the story, looking out to the parking lot. I smile and lean back in my seat.
“Man, I wish guys thought I was cute.”
He looks back and rolls his eyes, his signature you-are-cute-so-just-stop composure rising to the occasion.
“You’re beautiful.” He retorts, and he sounds a bit indignant when he says it.
“I know.” I say with a shrug. “Some should tell all the dudes my age that.”
Again, he rolls his eyes. I worry his face will freeze like that.
“You might have more luck if you allowed yourself to be cute every once and a while.”
I rest my chin on my upturned palm, pretty sure that a comment like that is supposedly “dated” and would send any self respecting feminist into a tail spin. Luckily for him, I’m not a feminist.
“If we were on my campus right now you’d be walking around with a shiv in your spleen.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Yeah.” I blow bangs out of my face. “But there’s nothing wrong with the way I dress.”
“There’s nothing wrong with looking nice either.” He says.
I find some objections to this train of thought.
Now first, I want to make this clear, my dad was right. There is nothing wrong with looking nice. It’s an art form in its own right. Beauty doesn’t always equal vanity. However, I find trouble with the implication that looking nice is the strongest road to finding love, or even friendship. And the more I thought on it, the more I confident I became on this. Here’s why.
So, it can be easily said that I’m a part of nerd culture. For one thing, I read for fun. And I play video games that aren’t Call of Duty. And I learn things. Willingly. For kicks. Totes a nerd guys, I swear.
As such, I wear many nerdy things. I have, like, three different Legend of Zelda T-shirts. And speaking of LoZ, I have the most awesome backpack in the world. Let’s just stop here, let me walk you through this. This backpack, there’s three pockets. The front pocket is the first thing you see. It’s the Hero of Time’s shield. It’s got the triforce on in and EVERYTHING. The second pocket’s behind it (where I put all those books I read for fun. The ones I was talking about earlier). Its light green and really boring and not the Hylian shield, so it’s not that important. But then, then there’s this small pocket above the second one. Inside it is a hood, attached to the pack, shaped like Link’s hat. Guys, I wear this thing and I’m all like I AM THE HERO OF TIME EVILDOERS BEWARE.
I wear this thing, and no matter where I go someone’s telling me it’s awesome. Sometimes they even yell from the other side of the street. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I get more compliments on my back pack then I do any single “nice” piece of clothing that I own. Now, I’m denying that there’s something empowering about looking nice. Heck, on the rare occasion I actually put in the effort to draw some lines on my face and wear something that doesn’t say 100% cotton on the tag, I look at myself in the mirror and think Heck yeah, you lookin’ fine today girl. What I’m saying is that you can wear more than appeal in your day-to-day, that sometimes your character can outshine your skin at first glance. Sometimes it’s what your wardrobe stands for that pulls people in, not just how it looks. Because me getting complimented on that backpack, it’s got nothing to do with its aesthetics. When people look at my backpack, they’re thinking about that game they just so love to play. They see what we have in common. And, if I can dream a little bit here, maybe they can see how proud I am to wear it, how unashamed I am at sharing with the world something that I love. And that’s all before they know my name.
Here’s where I’m going with this. Attraction to personality at first sight is possible. If makeup and Tilly’s t-shirts aren’t your thing, then they’re not your thing. Don’t stress over it. That guy that girl that friend will find you anyway. And this I promise you, whether it be first third or one hundred fourty-fifth glance, personality will always win out in the end.