“What matters is on the inside you know? Looks fade.” I was caught off guard by a middle-aged man as I checked my hair in the mirror at work. This guy, in his lunch stained sweater, trench coat and widow’s peak, took it upon himself to give me a 5 minute lecture on inner beauty. “My wife’s been a nurse for ten years. She’s seen beauty revoked almost instantly. It doesn’t last. Work on being a beautiful person on the inside, it doesn’t matter what you look like.” I’m sure he’d had a couple too many.
I forced an uncomfortable smile for what seemed an eternity, I was irate. I have to work hard to look halfway good. It does matter. “Ugly and lazy people say that as an excuse when they lack the effort to look presentable,” I responded. This guy looked at me like I had five heads, with great hair. I made my point and he walked away with his tail between his legs. Unfortunately, what he said stuck to me like dog shit under my new boots, stinking up the rest of my evening. Do people render other’s worth based on outward appearance? Duh.
I’ve never considered myself traditionally “attractive”. Eight years of attending gay bars have solidified that notion. Being branded as a “Bear Cub” in the gay community had a negative connotation. Sloppiness, someone with a little extra Lbs. and facial hair wasn’t considered hot in the boystown circuit of Chicago until only recently. So I tried, a little harder than most, a lot harder than my tall, buff, strong jawed, blonde friends. I’m well mannered, smart, and articulate. I studied fashion, so dressing wasn’t an issue, but everything else had to be perfected. Everything has to be on fleek. And with some effort I became a “cute” little bear (I know, those words make me cringe too).
You see, nobody prefers a car with a great engine, rusting holes on the roof and a dragging muffler. Think of yourself as that car. I have a couple of friends who think vanity is an unnecessary trait. The same guy that tells me that he’s “too smart and hard working to care what he looks like” is also the guy who’s had a harder time finding a job and a girlfriend. Why? Because he’s not to the “Total Package.”
If you want to work at the best advertising company in the city, you have to look the part. So you have great work ethic and immense talent, great! You’ve honed in and polished those departments, but showing up to an interview in a baggy suit, worn shoes, frizzy hair, and untamed facial hair, looking like you raided your dad’s closet, might hinder your chances at becoming the new Junior Designer. And let’s be real, the girl you’ve been drooling over all night from across the bar will never be charmed by your funny wit. Why? Because you’re physical impression is the first impression. She doesn’t want to talk to the guy in cargo pants, dirty Chuck Taylor’s and ill-fitting Pokémon t-shirt when she spent hours getting ready to go out. Nobody wants to date that guy. Even the girl that likes Pokémon wants to do better than that guy.
And for those of you who caught on to your looks and style, good job. But remember nobody likes a dumb ass or worse, a self-centered overly confident prick. Find a balance. Look everyone in the eye when speaking to them, smile, and say “Hello”. Manners are as attractive as those biceps. Grab a book and read. Be articulate. Hot nerds are a thing, a very good thing. You’re the car with the perfect paint job and killer wheels, but you don’t want to be stalling every couple miles.
I was at the gym a couple nights ago, working on being the “Total Package” myself, and noticed two good looking guys next to me. They were both out of this world attractive. Muscles rippling, hair on point, and faces carved out of gold by baby angels. Hell, even their work-out clothes seemed above par. Then they spoke. I swear I heard “bruh” at a rate of 120 rpm coming from them and the way they spoke about the girls in the gym was disappointing. Their handsome qualities were out shadowed be their lack of vocabulary and shallow comments. And the girls noticed. When one of the guys walked up to her she simply brushed him off, no doubt she heard them call her “a thick ass THOT.”
Amusingly, G.R.L’s hit song played on my headphones; “It’s such a pity, a boy so pretty, with an ugly heart.” Truer words have never been spoken or sang.
It simply comes down to self-respect. Growing up, my mother was a walking book of Mexican proverbs, and she’d always say to me, “In whatever you do, put your best foot forward, but you better make sure your shoes are nice and clean.” So do yourself a favor, wake up every day and decide to be the best person you can be. Inside AND out. The effort shows. People notice it and in turn notice you. Stand out in that interview, at the bar, and the gym. But for damn good reasons.
Sergio, a known homosexual, lives is Grand Rapids, MI and studied at The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. He is an avid eater, photographer, designer, and a social media and selfie enthusiast. He is also single.
Photograph Courtesy of: Sergio Garcia