Well, if ya look like scum, expect people to treat ya like scum….

Posted: June 17, 2011 in "Those People", Humans

So, this post comes about due to some comments here and other places out there in blog land, past and present, about ones appearance- not as in how “pretty” they are or whatever, but more in a what they telegraph by the way they dress, carry themselves, so on, so forth.  Ah yes, a topic I could post on endlessly and all that shit.

Now, true enough, I full well know that in choosing to look like I do and dress like I dress and get tattoos and stuff, out there in the real world I will get judged for it.  Whether I should or not, I will, and this is just a fact of life, and I know because I do choose to, I will be judged.  I can live with this.  I know full well that when I go out lookin’ like however, well, there are just some folk who are not gonna like it and make assumptions due to it.  That is the way of the world.  And while some aspects of my visual telegraphed image – oh, like the big fuckin’ scar on my neck- I have no control over (and yes, I have been stared at/whispered about when dressed completely normal due to that scar, by adults even)- the majority of those aspects, like my clothes or ink or whatever, I do have control over, and choose to dress/present as I do anyway.

Now me personally, I just as soon most people look at me and be like  “yeah, trouble there, not going to go near it” and you know, I have my reasons for this.  I am small, and I am female, and I dislike it immensely that due to those two things, there are people in the world who feel entitled to touch me, pat my head, give me these huge fucking bear hugs and actually pick me up without even fucking asking or loom over me because they can.  I hate that shit.  I always have, since I was a kid, and I still do, and even as an adult, well, yep, sure enough, there are fucking inconsiderate assholes out there that think it is okay to touch me, hug me, pick me up- all that shit- even though I am pretty blatant about the fact I dislike being touched.  I not only say this, but hell, when even people I know try to hug me, I stiffen up and stuff.  Hell, I shake hands and only shake hands for a damn reason- I don’t like people unless they have been invited to do so touching me. Period  Which does actually factor in to why, often, I tend to look like the lost Tremor Brother.  It keeps people the hell away from me and they will leave me alone rather than figure its okay to pick me up because I am small.  I also figure that maybe the steel toed boots and shit might indicate that if one is so hell bent on patting me on the goddamn head or something, well, then the boots served as a warning that I just might then proceed to kick them in the knee…after all, they did touch me without permission first…

At the same time however, I have personally always tried to be big on “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, and well, I have reasons for that too.  Hell, a great majority of my friends?  They don’t dress all whacky like me and live in blast goggles and have notible amounts of ink and stuff.  They are pretty normal looking, and kinda look odd with me, and well, if I judged them by how they dressed (i.e. not like me) well then, I woulda missed out on meeting some damn fine people- and I like to think the feeling is somewhat mutual.  And truth be told, most of these normal looking folk have not often asked me to tone down my own shit- even if there have been times when they woulda probably been within their rights to do so.  But just like I’ve not judged them by their dress and style and such, well they have returned the favor.  Which hey, that is awesome.

But while I know how the world works, and that people will be judged and I think it is absurd to think they won’t be, I do find the whole thing grimly amusing.  Because ya know, the inked up biker lookin’ sort is no more or less likely to be mean or violent or whatever than, oh, the guy in the suit.  Most Criminals?  Well….there isn’t exactly a dress code, you know?  And how often do you hear people talk about seriously really real scumbags; murderers, rapists, assholes who swindle the elderly out of their retirements or bleed unsuspecting lonely people dry, and they say “Well, he/she looked so normal?”  Hell, the people who look like scumbags actually seem to provide excellent cover and distraction for actual scumbags.  I mean heck, if you are at the county fair, are you gonna be looking at the tough looking guy with the dirty jeans and shit-kicker boots and the flashy looking gal with the tattoos and crazy hair….or the average run of the mill sort who is gonna pick your pocket while you are busy staring?  Hummm.

There is obviously an upside and a downside.  I am really big on people dressing and presenting as they want to, regardless of how non-traditional or “unsavory”  it seems to others, but I also fully realize that sure enough, they will be judged for it.  What I don’t get however is how anyone, in this day and age, is dumb enough to assume you can spot the truly bad people who will harm others simply by how they look.   I mean, there are far more normal looking horrible people out there than “scummy” looking ones.  I get knee jerk reactions and that it can be hard to forget spooky hype of “the people your momma warned you about”, but how any thinking, rational human being can honestly believe that you can spot the bad sorts and  they are the ones with the Harley’s and Hot Rods with the shitkickers and tattoos is simply beyond me.  It’s not only ignorant, it’s downright…stupid.

* that said, if any of y’all ever nominate me for that stupid show what not to wear, I am gonna find ya- with a tire iron 😉

  1. Joan Kelly says:

    God how I relate to the part about being small and how so many people think that means it’s okay to put their hands on me, including picking me up. I don’t have tattoos or goggles but I think I have come close to perfecting my own don’t-even-fucking-think-about-touching-me facial expression as a result.

    I have made the note-to-self not to hug you if we ever get to meet, but that is one way that we differ. I do actually like being touched, and I like hugging people/being hugged – it’s that I hate people thinking they’re the ones who get to decide for me whether I get touched or not. It’s either mutual (we want to hug each other) or keep your fucking hands off. I’m more conscious now as well, on my end, about not-assuming everyone is okay with being hugged hello or goodbye, just because I might feel affection for them and want to express it that way. I mean I’m more likely to ask now, and want to be 100% likely to ask.

    The only exception to any of this, for me, is when it comes to Stacy from What Not to Wear, since you mention the show. (I would never nominate anyone else for the show, though, and I find its premise and a lot of its goings-on to be super misogynist.) I like the way she stands behind whoever it is that’s getting the “make-over” and puts her hands on them while they’re standing in front of the mirror. I think technically she gets to second base with anyone who’s on the show, and I would like her to feel free to run her hands over my torso as well.

    Everyone else though – definitely needs to check with me first.

    [Also, I think that in addition to people assuming things about whether it’s okay to touch others or not based on how they look, probably another thing you and I share is that people assume things about whether it’s okay to touch either of us based on sex-industry-related stuff as well, which is its own ball of bullshit wax.]

    • Ren says:

      Stacey has cool hair.

      I actually have not had so much the its okay to touch the sex industry person when NOT WORKING…I don’t LOOK like what, well, people expect a sex worker to look like, and when meeting folk, unless ASKED job stuff, offer up the information as general rule.

      Often, due to the goggles and scar, people ask if I am a welder 🙂

  2. And speaking of that trial (Casey Anthony) –that is one of the big factors, how she looks. She doesn’t “look” like she would kill her child, however that person is supposed to look. She is pretty and thin and has perfect teeth. They keep one of the cameras trained on her at all times, they call it the “Casey Cam”–they never even did that for OJ.

    It’s because she is so pretty (as well as upper middle class, well-spoken, intelligent) that this is such a big deal. Remember poor (uneducated, erratic, unattractive) Aileen Wuornos, last woman to get the needle in Florida. Commentators openly say that Anthony’s looks and status will probably save her from the death penalty. (Aside: They also comment on the appearance of witnesses and attorneys more than they used to.)

    Takeaway lesson: Looks are INCREDIBLY important in this culture, and yes, people judge according to that.

    • Ren says:

      Daisy, I was down south visiting my parents when the little girl went missing, then again whe Anthony was arrested, and well, yeah, Iam familiar with the case as EVERY TIME I have gone down there it has been ALL OVER THE NEWS since she first when missing….and you are right: Anthony is a knockout, a VERY good looking woman- thin, perfect teeth, perfect skin, pretty, the whole nine yards and well, people WANT to look at her – and want to think such a nice-presenting pretty girl could never DO such a thing. BUT, it is hurting her too in a sense because bcause she IS young and attracitve and liked to go out party with her friends sometimes- well, some slut shaming happening too. Personally, I think she is GUILTY AS HELL and she makes me wanna puke- but I kinda agree- even in death penatly happy FL, she may not get the Death Penalty, where the far less attractive and MORE troubled Wuornos did (then again, she did kill more peope).

      I dunno, FL has traditionally been BIG on sendin child-killers to the chair, but yeah being a WOMAN and a GOOD LOOKING one might be an advantage Anthony has.

      • I am unemployed and thus, glued to the trial. Oh no doubt she is guilty as hell… but I am fascinated by woman killers, and I never miss “Snapped”–LOL.

        Those interrogation tapes are some incredible shit, the way she makes up excuses and lies on the spot is incredible. She stared those two cops down, which is the whole reason they need to have a trial. She didn’t BUDGE. Fucking amazing!

        PS: What I’ve learned from “Snapped” is that women usually murder men for money (insurance), straight up… men murder women (by contrast) for just about any reason you could name…

  3. Roy Kay says:

    Well, if you are going to look intimidating don’t be surprised if people feel intimidated.

    However, I really can’t see why style (as opposed to hygiene and attitude) should make a difference in how you are treated. Style has nothing to do with intelligence or sense or even care. These are the things that actually define people’s value to each other.

    • Ren says:

      oh bad hygiene, dont get me started on that one. I’m sorry, if I run an office or something, I do not care HOW qualified you are or whatever, if you STINK I don’t want ya in my office cause your stench will effect me and anyone else working there in a negative way. If one has a shower at home, they need to use it, daily, even if they ARE super geniuses or awesome people or whatever. Ughhh…B.O. is BAD.

      Heh, I could do a post about poor Hygiene in Gaming easy too, hummm, maybe later!

  4. rootietoot says:

    I like dressing to be invisible. The whole WNTW thing, where they keep putting women in Lace Cami! and You Need Some Sparkle! makes me want to hide. Dressing to be invisible means you can watch people with complete impunity, and judge the hell out of them without ever being noticed. It also means sometimes you don’t get the best table in the restaurant, but I like sitting in the corner anyway, better for watching people and judging them.

    • Ren says:

      and the obsession with pointy shoes on WNTW….ughh, they are OBSESSED with POINTY SHOES. I hate pointy shoes, they hurt my feet, so, DOWN with POINTY SHOES!

      Sometimes I try to pull of the invisible thing…dress all normal, cover the ink, but the dang scar wrecks it EVERY TIME.

      • rootietoot says:

        You Should Cover It With A Pretty Scarf!
        I like scars. scars are interesting and there’s almost always a fascinating story to go along with them.
        And the pointy shoes? AAAGH. You Should Wear Pointy Toes And Heels,They Elongate The Line Of Your Legs.
        bullshit. I wear Keds and New Balance, because they’re comfortable, and a comfortable woman is a happy woman.

        • Ren says:

          heh, I am big on comfy shoes too…current faves are a pair of thick soled sketchers my back doc recommended, and well, a pair of Doc Marteen’s Ihave had since 91 or so 🙂

    • Roy Kay says:

      Hee! I’m happy being VERY visible and VERY judged. Then *I* can pass judgment on their judgment.

  5. Off topic: Ren, you will love X MEN FIRST CLASS!!! Go see it! (forced by fanboy hubby to go, I was unexpectedly pleased)

    • rootietoot says:

      EXCELLENT movie.

    • Ren says:

      i will see it sooner or later- i dont actually LIKE going to movie theatres as general rule. The occasional matinee with no crowds, okay, but otherwise, no thanks.

      Heh,when I saw Thor there were like 10 other people there. Perfect.

      • rootietoot says:

        I went to the 12:30 show and there were 6 other people in the theater. I could put my feet up on the seat in front of me and everything. That’s perfect for me, too. I like to wait for at least 2 weeks after it’s out to see a movie, I do NOT stand in line or rub elbows with strangers. Oh, and since my son was working the box office, I got in for free 😀

  6. cheshbitten says:

    There is a Prachett quote I quite like “only very trustworthy people would dare to look as untrustworthy as me and madam” I think this is quite often accurate

  7. I also think scars are neat and cool and stuff… don’t hide it! One of my friends worked her scar into a giant flower tattoo, which looked great actually. That is another idea you might think about!

    Hey Ren, got some great redneck pics from this weekend… hahaha. My friend Tanya is beautiful and likes your blog, BTW: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2107259886639.128792.1399823366&l=258e224a3a

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