I completely understand why you would think that. After all if someone told me they listened to Bob Dylan I would instantly be classing them under my: ‘Don’t bring up war, feminism or politics’ category of friends. And then if they confessed they were still living at home with their parents I would picture them sitting in their basement bedroom, quietly strumming away on their sticker-crowded guitar surrounded by wisps of smoke from their smouldering spliff. It’s probably miles away from the truth (and by the sounds of it my imagination is stuck in the 1960’s), but as a competitive human race we are constantly forming instant judgements of the people we meet.
Yesterday I was in London – the city where everyone is supposed to be invisible, or if not invisible, free to be individual. However I lost count of the number of times I walked past teenage girls scanning me up and down with a strange look on their face. I wasn’t wearing a clown’s outfit, I didn’t have toilet paper stuck to my shoe and I definitely would have noticed if my flies were undone... It was a breezy day. I was as normal as them – just with a smile on my face. They may have been wondering where my shoes were from or they may have been merely staring into space. But truthfully, in the manner of females everywhere, they were probably judging me based on my appearance. Frankly if they didn’t like me because of the clothes I was wearing it’s a good job they don’t know about my music tastes, my aversion to high shoes or my Friday night antics.
Human nature means we judge quickly. Perhaps it’s something to do with when we were all living in caves and didn’t have a very long life expectancy. The men had to decide which animal to hunt, which female to copulate with and how to invent the wheel. Fast. This quickness to decide taste, beauty (and malleability of rocks) has been, as determined by my amazing scientific calculations, passed on through generations. Natural selection if you will. And obviously, we can blame the men. After all, this impressionable mind began with them.
However, judgement is usually stopped in its tracks by decency. In other words, we never actually say what we’re thinking. If you’re thinking Coldplay are dire and dreary you would probably compromise with admitting ‘Paradise isn’t too bad I s’pose’. It’s the same with boyfriends never admitting to the size of their girlfriend’s backside in their favourite dress, or we girls telling our closest guy friend that the shirt he is wearing is sure to ‘attract the ladies’ (if my bloke friends are reading this – I’m not talking about you). Our brains may be quick to judge but our mouths aren’t so keen to follow suit. But then, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. For the sake of survival (y’know, avoiding vengeful murders and the like) it’s probably best that we avoid voicing our judgements. So next time you meet a Coldplay-loving, flat shoe-wearing, Friday night home-dwelling person – think it. Don’t say it.