Geeks are purists who detest hypocrisy, shallowness, and self-promotion. You’ve sacrificed social acceptability for your obsession whether it’s Linux or community theater. But as a true geek, you accept the laws of physics, I assume. A cup is knocked off a table, it crashes to the ground. Every single time. There is one more law of physics that Newton and Galileo overlooked: A book is judged by its cover. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s hypocritical but no matter how much we rail against it, IT IS!
Sociologist and author Malcom Gladwell, in his ground-breaking book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking writes about the adaptive unconscious. These are mental processes that are going on within all of us all the time. With the blink of an eye, we are able to size up people and situations and come to very valid conclusions. Often, the “blink” response is more accurate than a decision that is more well-reasoned and made over a longer period of time. It’s the same as a first impression.
All of us judge and are judged by how we look. People size us up instantly and draw a conclusion about us. They trust us or they don’t. They want to work with us or they don’t. They want to be friends with us or they don’t. And it all happens in an instant.
And, as the saying goes, “You can only put your best foot forward once.”
The trouble is, there is no “formula” for how to package yourself. And even if there were, neither you nor I would buy it. As well as wanting to be liked and accepted, we also want to express ourselves through how we dress and look.
The problem that I’ve had and seen in other geeks is that I really don’t pay that much attention to clothes and styles and fashion. In fact, I barely notice it. But there is one thing that I can do and that’s imitate what I like.
Once you accept the validity of the “blink effect”, you can become aware of appearance and find a good one for yourself that is suitable for the world in which you now find yourself. Clothing and grooming, like all social skills, are intended to help you better communicate who you are to the world.