to think that appearance shouldn't matter?

(237 Posts)
JollyStoutGiant Wed 06-Nov-13 08:35:29

If you're looking to have a business relationship with someone surely you should simply require them to be good at their job. They don't need to have dry hair, make up on, a nice bag. Presumably the more time they spend on their appearance the less they spend on doing the job you require them to do.

Similarly if you're looking for someone to have an emotional relationship with. You need to get on with them. Surely whether or not they've ironed their t-shirt shouldn't be a consideration?

Why is it the case that humans, often, try to find someone who spends time on their appearance? Even on MN where there are so many feminist viewpoints the majority of posters still expect professional colleagues to look like they've made an effort.

I don't understand why these things are important.

SundaySimmons Wed 06-Nov-13 08:49:52

Wrinkled clothes indicate to me that they may not be time efficient or shoddy and slipshod about appearances. This could cross over to their work and written reports could be jumbled, their desk could be untidy resulting in them losing things, paperwork looking tatty etc.

I am what you call well groomed because I think it reflects who I am and having pride in myself gives me confidence.

Appearances do matter to me.

Laquitar Wed 06-Nov-13 08:55:16

Well i agree that it should be about how good they are at doing the job but i dont agree that the more time theyspend on their looks the less time they spend on working. Some people can do both well.
I see women applying perfect make up in the tube in 5min. Others get up at five to do it.
I dont btw.(grin)

Grennie Wed 06-Nov-13 08:59:28

I think people do judge on this. My own personal experience is that professional people who don't look groomed are better at their jobs. Because they have to be better to get where they are.

Ragwort Wed 06-Nov-13 09:00:24

I think there is a huge difference between being 'well groomed' and appropriately dressed for the job you do and being completely OTT about your appearance like some of the comments on S & B thread.

I used to manage the graduate recruitment scheme for a large company and before the 'final interview' stage I would have a word with anyone who wasn't suitably dressed - the norm for the industry was a suit, polished shoes and a neat haircut (no visible tattoos or piercings grin) and whilst it might not effect the way someone actually did the job it was the sort of industry were people were expect to conform - not in a clone like way but to accept that was what was required. Individuals who struggled with that clearly weren't going to be happy working for the company.

Equally if I met someone for a date and they turned up in a stained t-shirt and hadn't washed their face I would not be impressed. However if they also turned up in an expensive designer suit and cared more about their clothes and looks I would also find that a turn off.

I am not a slave to fashion myself (I shop exclusively in charity shops and my 'best' shoes are 15 years old grin) but I hope I am clean and presentable.

monicalewinski Wed 06-Nov-13 09:00:38

Appearances matter to me in as much as I would expect someone to be clean and in clean, ironed clothes with a 'tidy' appearance.

I couldn't care less what handbag someone has or if their clothes are all from Asda, but an unkempt appearance is scruffy and would give me the impression that the person would be as scruffy in their attitude to work. (Sorry!).

Joysmum Wed 06-Nov-13 09:01:50

If it's left to me I'm not bothered. I don't do make up or have lots of nice clothes as it'd not important to me.

However, no man is an island and in order to get on in life we need to interact with others and be aware of first impressions etc.

So I dress and behave appropriately to 'play the game' but if it's me in my leisure time then I can just be me.

Chiggers Wed 06-Nov-13 09:03:18

A business relationship is different from a romantic one. In a business relationship you may be required, even once or twice, to meet someone in a public place. Being shoddily dressed may well be indicative of the standard of work produced by that person, which then could reflect badly on the company they work for (if in a job).

However, in a romantic relationship, if you are comfortable with each other, respect and trust each other and are able to be open and honest, then it doesn't matter so much. Saying that, if either of you aren't honest to one another, the trust is slowly lost over time and the vast majority of relationships are based on trust.

That's my take on things anyway.

Thants Wed 06-Nov-13 09:13:27

I agree with you op. Spending time on your appearance does take away from more worthwhile things.
Getting up earlier to do hair and makeup means less sleep! Tiredness affects your work.
This is a gendered issue because women are expected to spend far more time on their appearance just to be acceptable whereas a man just has to be clean. It's very wrong.

DrCoconut Wed 06-Nov-13 09:25:18

OP are you my DH? smile

JollyStoutGiant Wed 06-Nov-13 09:34:15

I'm definitely female!

Those are my thoughts too. Thants. I'm getting little enough sleep anyway without having to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier to blow dry my hair and put on eyeliner (or whatever).

I'm good at my job. I'd be less good if I was tottering around in heels or regularly nipping to the bathroom to touch up my face. (I know not many women do this, but some do).

JollyStoutGiant Wed 06-Nov-13 09:40:11

Oh and I really don't notice whether or not people are wearing make up. I spot it if someone is so done up that they're orange, but that's all.

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 09:41:53

Presumably the more time they spend on their appearance the less they spend on doing the job you require them to do.

My own experience is exactly the opposite, the women I know (and indeed men) who are efficient and together usually look like that, or at least are clean and presentable with decent clothes. For example, I have a series of coordinated nice whole outfits hanging in my wardrobe so I can just shove something on and still look very smart at work - that's a testament to organization! Similarly, my make-up takes less than 5 min because it's worked out and conveniently situated in the house.

I do agree you shouldn't be expected to wear make-up at work for women, but looking nice and smelling pleasant really is very little more effort than looking scruffy and being slightly manky- would you suggest not showering to save time in the mornings as well? (hopefully not)

The idea that you are better at your job as you don't care about your bag or don't wear eyeliner is actually quite funny- you believe it if you want!

Grennie Wed 06-Nov-13 09:43:05

I remember for example the very senior female manager I met who dressed very causually and a bit scruffily. I was very surprised by her appearance when I met her. She was absolutely brilliant at her job. The only reason she had it. She would probably have been promoted higher if she looked the part, but I chose dealing with her every time, over some of the more professionally dressed senior managers that were not as good at their job.

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 09:43:39

This is a gendered issue because women are expected to spend far more time on their appearance just to be acceptable whereas a man just has to be clean. It's very wrong.

A bit true but not completely- to have a full shower and shave, it takes my husband longer than me in the morning, plus ironed clothes/washed outfits are the same for everyone. Same requirement to cut hair regularly. Have you read any of the threads on the disgust women feel for men who grow beards? There's a strong social pressure for men to at least be clean-shaven and that takes about as long as it does to put on a bit of make-up.

PerpendicularVince Wed 06-Nov-13 09:43:41

Has someone said something to you, Jolly?

I think wearing make up/brand of handbag etc is personal choice, and not something I would judge someone adversely for, as you seem to be doing? You can be good at a job whether or not you wear heels.

I have employed a lot of people and judge solely on work related ability. However, I expect them to be smart in interview, and if someone wasn't then they wouldn't be offered the role.

Grennie Wed 06-Nov-13 09:44:49

Yes look at Boris Johnson and Richard Branson. Dressing scruffily doesn't harm them at all. A woman presenting herself the same way would be heavily criticised.

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 09:46:58

And- my husband is much smellier than me, so he would shower once or twice a day, shave, use deodorant, use after-shave, use moisturiser (issues with skin), use hair gel. I think 'being clean' is a lot harder work than decorating the outside with nice clothes!

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 09:49:44

I do agree there is more pressure on women to spend time engaged in beauty regimes, however, the pressure on appearance is still quite large on men and growing, if the latest research on men/boys being concerned about having 'ideal' bodies (six pack, not hairy) is to be believed. I don't think men are immune from this any more though.

And- Richard Branson's is a cultivated scruffiness, he still has to shave around his beard and trim it to get that look.

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 09:52:21

I would also say it might depend on the line of work. In academia, many women are not that concerned with their appearance and this is no big deal, you wouldn't expect a visiting professor to turn up in heels or blow-dried hair (indeed it might be surprising when they did), however this then clashes if academics step out of this non-appearance oriented world, as say Mary Beard has done, and gets judged in mediaworld where these things are very important.

SparklyFucker Wed 06-Nov-13 10:01:43

Boris Johnson and Richard Branson do not dress scruffily. They dress in extremely expensive clothes that are cut and designed to give a very careful impression of bohemian eccentricity - a vastly different proposition to someone who shoves on any onld item from the bottom of the wardrobe that is crumpled and not washed. They also spend vast amounts of money on skincare and grooming, again very different from a man who hasn't seen a bar of soap in a week.

mitchsta Wed 06-Nov-13 10:54:13

They don't need to have dry hair...

Am I the only one who'd be put off doing business with someone who came into a meeting/interview with wet hair?!? What a ridiculous thing to say.

Appearances do matter and you're unlikely to get the chance to prove you're capable of doing a good job if you don't project the right image in the first place - whatever the 'right' image is for the situation, of course.

Similarly, if you turn up to a first date with grubby clothes and an odour that causes those around you to gag, you're unlikely to get a second date. Even the grunge/emo/indie look is carefully engineered - the look of "I don't care" has actually taken time and is very different to the scraped up off the bedroom floor before wearing "I don't care"

SigmundFraude Wed 06-Nov-13 10:58:17

Groomed people look more professional. It's simply the way it is.

LessMissAbs Wed 06-Nov-13 11:03:20

What a strange post OP so YABU. And YABU to infer it only applies to women.

As for having an emotional relationship, judging by the number of posters who suffer extreme angst over their partner's failure to partake in ironing, definitely YABU!

Appearance can tell you all sorts of things about a person. There is a school of thought that faces can tell you about a person's character - sociopaths often have small, piercing eyes. Skin condition can tell you about a person's health, specifically their liver function and you can often tell if someone is a heavy drinker or drug addict from their appearance alone. So we are biologically programmed as human beings to judge people on their appearance. I don't think changing the course of evolution because you don't like it is particularly reasonable!

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Nov-13 11:08:06

I think you are being naive here, and feminism is a red herring argument too.

taking basic care of your appearance and grooming is a human basic. It shows that you have a healthy level of self respect, and respect for others around you.

I also dont like women are judged by how they look. However I think men and women owe it to themselves to take some basic care with their appearance. I would not be inclined to employ a very scruffy man or woman TBH

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