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The world is shallow. Trufax. February 16, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[Apologies in advance for the number of non-atheism-related posts recently. If I limited my blog to experiences pertaining to my beliefs, this blog would be waaay thinner. This is most likely because I haven’t interacted much with my sanctimonious, preachy Mother Dearest since I started working, and god damn it, I love working!]

I realized in the fourth grade, while pondering on the ways of the world with a couple of friends, that anyone who claims that “Looks don’t matter” is a fucking liar. Of course they matter, and I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Little Steve: “All that counts is what’s on the inside.”

Little TA: “Well, it counts for something, but I wouldn’t want to marry a guy whose face I don’t really want to see first thing in the morning.”

We were strange children. Hee.

When I say looks matter, I don’t mean that we should only go for the Adonises of the world, because that’d leave a helluva lot of lonely people. I only mean that it’s natural for people to want to be with those whom they are attracted to. Appearances are not the end-all-be-all, but they certainly do matter. Not just in romance, but in all sorts of interactions: from my experience, people are nicer to me if I wear something pretty and show a little leg.

In case you were wondering, I’m discussing this because an experience this past week had me thinking about how shallow I truly am. The experience happened on Wednesday morning, with 50-something divorcee Murray.

Before I continue, let me give you a brief description of Murray, whom I’d mentioned in my last post as the co-worker who gave an unsolicited lecture to me and fellow atheist Carl. That TL;DR moment aside, Murray and I had a pretty good friendship going, with an Opie-and-Cool-Older-Guy dynamic. In terms of looks, since that’s the topic, Murray is, well…old. And pretty gross-looking. (Hey, I never said I wasn’t shallow.)

I showed up on Wednesday wearing faded jeans and a fitted black Pearl Jam t-shirt with a low neckline; I’d taken to it with a pair of scissors because the collar was tattered. It showed off my ta-tas pretty nicely, although that wasn’t my reason for wearing it — I just really liked Pearl Jam.

Right as I walked into the office and sat down at my desk, Murray went “Woooo, someone’s looking hot today!” complete with the touch-your-skin-while-making-a-sizzling-noise gesture. Which, okay, it’s always nice to hear that you look good, but this was bordering on creepy. I’m fucking eighteen, dude, watch your boundaries.

I tried not to let the comment bother me too much, or affect my rapport with Murray, but I ended up avoiding him for the rest of the week. I think he took the hint, and he didn’t try to say anything like that again, limiting it to a “You look nice today.” It’s kind of a shame, because no matter how you slice it, that’s still one less friend for me in the workplace. (Oh well, he was kind of annoying, anyway.)

It was after that incident that I started thinking about whether or not I was overreacting or being superficial. If, for instance, it were Gay Friend Mikey or Platonic Soulmate Ray who made that remark, I wouldn’t have been bothered by it. Hell, even though he’s still got a good 15 years on me, if Totally Doable Boss Mr. McKenzie grabbed my ass and whispered dirty things in my ear, I’d have nodded, grinned, and locked the door behind us.

But since it was gross, old Murray, it bugged the heck out of me. It’s like that one SNL skit with Tom Brady, where he was in a 50’s-style PSA on sexual harassment, which included this awesome bit:

3 Rules of Avoiding a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

1. Be attractive.

2. Be handsome.

3. Don’t be unattractive.

Funny but true.

Overall, I was a little shaken by what happened, but I’m not going to let pervy comments or lascivious stares affect the way I dress. I’ll wear whatever the hell I want to, thank you very much, and if you can’t keep your comments (positive or negative) to yourself, then I hope you won’t mind if I avoid you for a while.

Ah, the workplace. I learn something new every day.


1. Josh Charles - February 17, 2008

I wouldn’t worry too much about the content of the posts. The blog is titled ‘Diary of a Teenage Atheist’ not ‘Philosophical arguments about the existence and non-existence of god.’ Being an atheist is part of who you are, but it’s definitely not all you are.

All too often, especially for those who dislike us, our atheism is all that they see, and that little nugget gets easily forgotten.

2. John Grabowski - February 17, 2008

I’m kind of surprised you can get away with wearing things like that in an office. I have no idea what your top secret job is, Ms. Bond, but I’ve worked in some pretty liberal places in liberal California where that outfit as you described it would by iffy, and I thought they were even more conservative in your country.

3. Teen Atheist - February 17, 2008

Josh: Ah, thanks! That helps. 🙂

4. Teen Atheist - February 17, 2008

John: It’s an office, but every day is Casual Friday. 🙂 I blend in pretty well, even with my odd sense of style.

5. atheistgirl - February 18, 2008

Yeah, don’t worry about all the not-atheist-related posts. If you ever see my blog (and a lot of other atheist blogs) it’s the same way. And your totally right about the looks mattering in the real world thing.
btw, Go Pearl Jam! 🙂

6. Karen - February 19, 2008

TA, you can wear suggestive clothing to work and nobody will suggest it’s not appropriate… but they may be thinking it. I once worked in a department where our administrative assistant was 30-ish, well-built, attractive, single, and favored very short skirts, tight shirts, and 3-inch heels. She was actually very good at her job, but it was hard for the men in the group to take her seriously.

Something to consider.

7. Teen Atheist - February 19, 2008

Karen: Well, sure. But if I let what other people think of me affect how I go about things, then I lose. I’m quite happy with wearing what I want to, and I don’t really mind if that makes people underestimate me — I’m an 18-year-old in a group of 25-55-year-olds, what have I got to lose? At least it gives me a bigger opportunity to exceed their expectations. 🙂

And may I reiterate, my attire that day was really not uncommon in our office. Everyday is Casual Friday, and I’m not even exaggerating. One of the things I love about my office. 😀

8. Teen Atheist - February 19, 2008

Atheistgirl: Yay, thanks! Go Pearl Jam, indeed. 😀

9. Jersey - February 20, 2008

If you don’t want people making the hooters comment, IMO, avoid the fitted, flirty stuff. That’s why guys hit on women and can’t take them seriously. Wear another fitted tee, but make sure it covers up your chest, hmm-‘kay? As a — not-a-pretty-picture — woman and tomboy who hung with the guys a lot, many of them will tell you that while they like to flirt with women, they would rather prefer their co-workers cover themselves up. And I am talking about guys at the height of their sexual tensions, in their 20s and early 30s.

10. Teen Atheist - February 21, 2008

I never said that, Jersey. I don’t mind getting those comments; it’s something I’ve gotten used to over time. I just find it a little creepy when that comment comes from a 55-year-old who is supposed to be your friend. This is more about Murray observing his boundaries than about people making judgments based on how I dress.

I don’t care if men prefer conservatively-dressed co-workers; it goes against my principles to change the way I dress based on what men want me to look like. I like myself just fine.

11. Varying degrees of condescension « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - March 3, 2008

[…] the same amount of money, he has no right to expect special treatment from me. It’s ageist. (Not that I’m not ageist myself, but […]

12. Alex - March 13, 2008

Yeah, you do seem kind of very superficial. I can understand why you’d consider that creepy, and it’s also disrespectful to you as a person (not that I’m sure you’d mind that). I reject sexuality all together. Fuck human sexuality and fuck our inherent/acquired sense of “beauty”. That’s all I have to say on the matter for I need to get back to my homework.

13. Alex - March 13, 2008

Fuck, I shouldn’t have sworn…

14. Teen Atheist - March 13, 2008

Swearing is A-OK on this blog, Alex. As for the rest of your comment…err, went right over my head. Sorry.

15. huh? - October 11, 2008


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