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12 February 2015

Something I notice is that people who were attractive when I was in middle school with them are still like that almost a couple decades later. I figure it makes sense though if you look at taking care of oneself as a skill[More:]

Same as if someone was good at math or spelling when they were 12, they won't necessarily stop being good at these things unless they stop practicing them. So if someone took care to fix their hair in the mirror, dress well and not eat junk food when they were adolescents they're not gonna stop doing these things (unless they change habits for whatever reason).

Personally I do remote work a lot and it's super easy for me to go days without shaving my beard or caring what I'm wearing etc. I realized a long time ago though that if I suddenly need to get "ready" to go to an event it's hard to go from 0-100 (ie. from 'letting yourself go' to 'looking your best') in one day. It's a subtle thing and I don't have any objective data points but I find when I start caring about my appearance it takes weeks before I get to the 'Next level' where my skin looks better, I've chosen the right clothes, (and this is not counting things like fitness where it might take months or years to turn things around), basically it takes a few weeks of "getting it together" before things "snap into place."

So, I don't necessarily have a concluding point. I guess the common thing between these two observations is: while there is no doubt that some people are blessed with advantages in looking good (good genes and other things they were born with, time and money to take care of themselves, good health and all the rest of that), a major aspect of it is tending to oneself as a skill; as with any other pursuit it takes time, experimentation, ongoing practice...
And as with other pursuits--requires money.
posted by sperose 13 February | 02:14
Conversely, as someone that isn't particularly attractive but has to be presentable at work every day, I find that it doesn't take long for things to fall apart if I'm not going to work every day (I don't usually bother unless I'm going in to work). A couple of days of not shaving alone makes me look pretty scruffy and unkempt. That ruggedly handsome 3-day growth that you see in the media? That's not me - three days of not shaving and I could easily pass for homeless.
posted by dg 13 February | 16:08
I'm not sure what I'd do differently to look more (or less) presentable. I don't shave at all so that's out and I have a very short buzz cut on my head so no combs or brushes are involved in my morning routine. I take a quick shower, put on underwear, throw on one of four pairs of identical 1969 Gap jeans, grab the first shirt out the closet, put on my black shoes and I'm ready work.
posted by octothorpe 14 February | 08:14
Yeah as guys a lot of us can get away with being oblivious about appearance related matters beyond just staying clean & staying fit. But I think once you start noticing something you start seeing it in yourself and others.

Like last year I started taking an interest in my fitness & skincare and now it's like I can see things I didn't see before.
- Like I can see why cosmetics companies say "baby soft skin" because now I can look at my face and see how compared to young children my skin is way more weathered.
- Also (I haven't quite started hitting the gym just yet but I'm trying to get on track in terms of diet/fitness) once I started paying attention to fitness related things I can "see" a lot in my and other people's figures that I would never have noticed earlier. Even subtle things--like I can see a dude's hands and get a sense of if he works out.

So I think to break it down , appearance is combination of
- biological self (health, fitness, posture, body language etc.)
- grooming (taking care of your skin, teeth, hair, nails, whatever)
- clothing (does it suit you well, and then the vagaries of fashion, or other cultural markers on top of it)

And I think this is the answer to why women engage in all sorts of makeup and grooming things that can seem overly fastidious to us guys, like as a straight guy looking at a women I find good-looking, I don't *really* care what her nails or eyebrows or makeup or shirt color looks like, right? But these things have a "cumulative effect" I think, they are subtle things that when all put together give off a "look"; the individual parts don't matter but you will notice the sum of the parts.
posted by Firas 14 February | 09:18
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