Books, Covers, and Judgment: A Defense of Some Superficiality

Although this blog is dedicated to menswear, this post is directed to anyone and everyone.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a common idiom in English, which basically means to not judge someone or something by its appearance alone. While this is a nice idea, it is realistically flawed. Our final opinion of someone/thing should not, and will not, be ultimately superficial – humans are complex creatures and our opinions alter with every imperceptible stimuli – but our first opinion is necessarily superficial.

You cannot truly know the contents of a book unless you have read it. When you pick it up for the first time, you do so because a friend or review told you it was good, because the blurb on the dust jacket was intriguing, or because the cover caught your eye. 

We are no different. We should not be consumed by appearances, but we should also give ourselves the best chance possible. This is why we tend to put more time into getting ready before job interviews and dates. Why shouldn’t this carry over into the majority of our public lives? Putting in this effort makes us more confident, so why wouldn’t we do it all the time?

This applies to everyone, not just girls

This applies to everyone, not just girls

We should not become a Narcissus, but wasn’t part of his problem the fact that he did not understand how the world perceived him?

Never let anyone shame you for taking pride in how you look. Do not feel bad for taking extra time or money to make yourself feel more confident. Never let anyone shame you for your body shape. And never let anyone shame you for wanting to change your body shape. As long as you are acting in a mentally and physically healthy way, you are allowed to have opinions about your own looks. Just do it for you.

You can choose to not care about your appearance (although I doubt anyone is ever totally free of this concern, whether they realize it or not), but you are lying to yourself if you don’t admit that appearances count for something. Last year my dad and I heard a stat on a British news program that stated 60% of people judge others based on their looks. My father immediately said that only 60% were willing to admit it. We all do it, right or wrong.

Most importantly, we judge ourselves. Watch any episode of What Not to Wear. The people who belligerently state that they don’t care about fashion or how they look are infinitely more confident after learning how to properly dress their bodies. It isn’t superficial to take time for and pride in yourself.

Don’t believe me? Check out this great video from John Green.

Now go forth and conquer with your dazzling self-confidence!


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