Class and Poise

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have been thinking more and more lately about what demonstrating a little bit of class does for your image. I've quoted Vonnegut before, but one of the lines from Slaughterhouse-Five that struck me the most was, when you stop taking care of yourself you die.

While I think it's important not to judge a book by its cover, I also think that the way you appear has a lot to do with people's perception of you anyway. When I was a teenager, I thought I'd get more attention by walking around with a grimace on my face while wearing unexpected clothing. Cuz that's what teenagers do. I thought that if people were going to judge me by my outer appearance, then I didn't need to be their friend.

Well, that didn't work so much to my favor of course. It's taken years of observing and growing up to understand that radiant smiles, classy understated clothes, polite "thank yous," and clean fingernails work miracles for your image and identity. People that practice that are the ones who get the attention. All it takes is a little posture control, a little purpose in your step and an up-kept brow line to turn you from dowdy to wowwy, from a whisper to an exclamation. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the picture.

When you take notice of this principle of class and poise, you start to see it in progress everywhere you look. You read about it, picture it and see it taking place in person. There are some examples that stick plainly in my mind. I remember visiting a church where the preacher talked about being advised to leave his hands out of his pockets because holding your hands in your pockets gives off an air of apathy and sloppiness. I remember my grandma telling me about my uncle's firm where they interview people over lunch and determine employability by the person's table manners. I remember reading a small biography of Jackie O where I came across a passage about how her family made up their own family tree despite working class roots and simply believed themselves into their stature.

It takes mere seconds for people to judge you just by your body language. And for some good reason. If you care enough about yourself to wear crisp clothes and keep your hands moisturized, you're probably a great job candidate who takes their job seriously. If you're dishevelled, this might reflect upon your desirability as a roommate. I think you start to lose a little bit of yourself when you stop taking care of your body.

Now, I'm not talking about being some high maintenance superficial diva, I'm just talking about a little bit of poise and daily grooming. If you want to be successful, you have to look and feel the part. Or at least fake it till you make it. You might feel like an impostor inside, but if you pull your shoulders back, you'll instantly feel a bit of heightened confidence and stature.

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