The world is filled with stereotypes; Americans are fat, students are drunkards, emos are self-harmers. And generally, these stereotypes are often true. There are always, however, exceptions to the rules. What you see is not always what you get.
A friend and I always people watch when we are in town. If you take a closer look at some people you will see that not everything is as it seems. We saw this one woman, who on first impressions, looked like mutton dressed as lamb; she wore this skimpy outfit with fishnets and high heels and was quite obviously middle-aged; to be frank, she looked slutty. From stereotypes we think of sluts as over-confident, trashy and loud-mouthed. Then I noticed the way she was holding herself. Her head was low, shoulders hunched forward, and with one hand clinging at her coat that was maybe one size too small, trying to cover up. She wasn’t some over-confident promiscuous woman; she was insecure in her own skin. Maybe her choice in clothes was meant to help her feel more confident but made her feel foolish instead.
On that same day, on my way home from town, I saw this chav-looking guy, from my seat on the bus, walking down the street with a beer in his hand. I instantly thought that he was just some scumbag; someone who would never amount to anything in his tracksuit; destined to be claiming benefits and getting drunk with his equally chavvy girlfriend. And as the bus moved forward and I could now see this guy from the front, I could see that in his other hand was a book; not what you would expect from the chav stereotype. This guy wasn’t some chav idiot as he clothes and beer can accessory might suggest.
The saying “never judge a book by its cover” is no new phrase, but it is definitely something people should be reminded of from time to time. I know I certainly do. I hate to admit it, but I am certainly quick to judge people, especially by their appearances. My only excuse is that it is just a snap reaction. And I know I am not the only one to make snap judgements and when the judgement is made about some stranger that you will never see again, there is no sense of actually being critical or harsh of somebody. I guess that by noticing the two examples mentioned above I remind myself that first impressions can be wrong. And I need these reminders to keep myself in check.