A week before Christmas I had planned a fun lunch and shopping outing at the upscale shopping mall here in town with my BFF. Shopping at The Galleria, with it’s Gucchi, Nieman’s, Tiffany type stores is lots more fun, if you look like you half-way belong there. Well, at least it’s less scary when you pass a mirror, if you’ve made an effort. So I took measures beyond my usual REI comfy cargo pants, and it seemed to be working nicely.
As we entered the Nordstrom’s men’s department in search of the perfect husband gift, one of the handsome, young, hip, suavely dressed salesmen made a beeline to offer assistance. There was cheery, chatty, playful banter amongst us all. What great taste you have. What an amazing look you’ve put together today. You’re husband is going to love this, and on and on … and on. I felt like I’d been served a glass of champagne by the time I left there. We floated out on a cloud of feel-good. I felt marvelous.
A week later, 48 hrs before Christmas, I needed to dash back there to exchange the shirt for a larger size. I had given it to my husband for his birthday over the weekend, and it was a tad too tight. Nordstrom’s opened at 9am that Monday morning, the day before Christmas Eve and we planned to be there before the rush. Focused only on the task at hand, we dashed off to the store on the heels of an early morning, sweaty workout in my very unattractive, non-Lulu-Lemon or anything else cool looking gear, with greasy, matted hair … ok enough! It was bad — trust me! Forgetting how I might look to the outside world, I bounded up to that same “handsome, young, hip, suavely dressed salesmen” of a few days ago, fully expecting to resume our friendly repartee. He was so slick, I was sure he’d remember me, and the conversation about the shirt and my husband’s birthday, and on and on …
I was the same me, as far as I was concerned, but clearly I was a completely unrecognizable, quasi-bag-lady looking old woman to him. I struggled to get him, or any of the other salesmen for that matter, to attend to me. Finally, one of the older, less dashing, salesmen took the shirt and scanned the return tag. But apparently protocol dictated that the original salesman process the exchange, so I was re-assigned to the young, hip guy again. Poor thing. I didn’t even mention our earlier encounter, it probably would have been too much for him. He might have spontaneously combusted on the spot. He almost acted as if he didn’t want to be caught serving me. He might catch something, or lose some of his cool factor if he got too close.
This story makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Laugh at how easy it is to influence how people treat you solely based on looks. Cry for the same reason! Laugh at how I went from being hot one day, to completely not just a few days later, when it was still the very same me inside. Cry for that same reason! Laugh at how I’m sure I must have done this to others too. Cry for the very same reason!
There are a lot of quotes about not judging a book by its cover, but the reality is that we inevitably slip and do, in spite of good intentions. How would my salesman have treated Julia Roberts if she had showed up looking like the picture with no make-up?
“You can’t judge a book by it’s cover but you can sure sell a bunch of books if you have a good one.”
— Jayce O’Neal