As many know a first impression is the mental image a person forms regarding another person when they first meet. This is usually is something that comes from a first face to face encounter, but today I’m sure can be formed through internet interactions were people never see each other. Well, I should add never see each other at first.
I’ve written about my Multiple Sclerosis a few times on the blog and it ties into this along with another actual life experience I encountered while on vacation. So let me start with the first one that had me feeling lower than dirt at first but shows one reason on why we shouldn’t judge so quickly. Also this left me feeling a bit nervous and wondering did I overreact. Nah I do not think so.
The setting a small strip mall with about six businesses within the location, and one was a pet store. The store sells nice sized bags of cat litter at a reasonable price and I went in to purchase two bags. I was having an off day with the MS as my arms were shaky and I had problems lifting things earlier in the day. I did not tell anyone about that as I walked in and asked to purchase the two bags. I asked the small girl behind the counter if someone was available for carry out. I then told her I feel terrible asking but I was having some problems that I could not lift at this time. She said she would be happy to help, and I was thinking to myself, girl has some guns I bet she can. I will admit I first thought she might have issues but then I remembered where she worked and the other items they had to carry around. Oh look I didn’t jump to a conclusion I thought about it first.
I paid for the items and the just over five foot girl, who if she weighed 120 pounds had to include her clothing, went over grabbed the bags and headed outside to the parking lot. Yeah, I wanted to find my man card and give it to her after that but I at least held the door for another group coming out behind me. They had parked next to my car and as I opened the back of my Explorer I happened to hear one of the women say, “No wonder he looks like that, he makes that small girl carry the litter out for him.” Ok, yeah I think to myself I heard that you bitch.
I thanked the girl for helping me out with the litter, closed the tail gate and turned to the other car. I then said, “I hope you don’t tell all people with a disability like Multiple Sclerosis that they are lazy. It just so happens I’m having an off day and trouble lifting things.” I watched her stunned face, at first it was a “how dare you” look and turned to an OMG he heard me moment. I didn’t wait for a response instead got into my car and left.
You see her impression of me was that because I was overweight, and a bigger guy that I must always take the easy way of doing things so was fat because of that. Yeah, she needs to live a day in my life and see what it’s really like, but I am not one to call others out normally. It was just that I felt bad enough having to ask the young girl for help but I also understood I needed the help that day. So my hope is she thinks about watching her mouth in the future. Oh did I forget to mention they had a young woman inside also carry out their dog food?
So that is one thing people who make first impressions don’t realize. The person they are judging may have a great reason for being who they are. It might be their choice on how they live, or it may be something forced on them beyond their control. As a warning remember that when you first jump to a first impression and talk to a person first before judging.
The second story deals with what some like to call “Breastaurants”. These are establishments that fall under the heading of Hooters, or in my case a Tilted Kilt. So here is a chance for you to grab a first impression of me, going what a pervert he goes to a place like that? Don’t over think it folks; I enjoy the Tilted Kilt as they have GREAT food. My wife also will occasionally go there with me, and even has suggested the restaurant. I’ve also gone in and seen families enjoying a mood, but why am I defending my choice of eatery? It was my choice and I had a great chicken sandwich with a salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumbers) while there.
Oh, I guess before I continue I should be honest and state that to me it’s not the breast part of their uniforms, as my wife knows, I’m a legman. I also remind myself that some of these girls could be my daughter in a different world and are just trying to make a living. Ok so if you are wondering what the place is like I suggest an internet search, now back to my story.
I had been on vacation for several days, went in a bit disheveled as I had an older pair of jeans on, a shirt and hadn’t shaved/trimmed my beard in several days. I felt a bit redneck to be honest but didn’t care. I was hungry and had a gift card to use. I got greeted well, but after I got seated things got “odd”. The waitress seemed a bit standoffish and stayed over an arm’s length away, but still was nice. So, after a while the manager came around and I started talking with him. He and talked for a good ten minutes or more before he got called away and noticed my waitress noticed. I will add the place was slow at that time as the dining room only had four other tables.
So after the manager left she came over and asked how things were going and if I needed anything. I looked at her and smiled and told her all was good and that not to worry I was not talking to the manager about her. She blushed a bit at that as you could tell she was nervous. I told her I was just talking about the place, the food and how I’ve seen some other waitresses get harassed by other “guests”. This is where the light went off on hey he may not be a bad guy. It was here when she opened up, I hit a talking point. She stated she hadn’t wanted to bother me as I looked like I didn’t want to be bothered. I’m like no I’d have liked to chit chat a bit and we did.
She found out I wasn’t that redneck I may have appeared to be. I wasn’t the guy who came to just look at the “scenery” but instead came for a good lunch. I told her point blank that I have seen how other men treat the waitresses and some forget the eyes are attached to the head and not a foot lower. I said it’s all about respect, and last thing I want to do is make the person bringing me my food mad. It was a good conversation and it came down to another of the first impression of how not to judge a person how they look. I mean how many times have you heard stories about how a tough mean looking guy/gal actually has a heart of gold?
I like to think that is me, as I am the big guy, but not rough and tough looking. Granted due to my size I can be a bit “scary”, but if people take a moment to talk they find out I’m a great listener, I am open minded and most of all I will not judge. I’ve learned through life we cannot judge another person’s life as we have not been in their shoes. Heck do you want to share their shoes? I mean they could have smaller feet, sweaty feet, or stinky feet. J Yeah I had to go for a joke there.
As for the internet side, I have no real stories there as I don’t spend my time racing across the internet. I just have heard stories from those who have tried dating on how dangerous it can be. You can get to know someone; love them for who they seem to be, but then you see them. They had gotten this romantic notion of how they looked but when they finally got face to face, or a photo, it was a letdown. They lost interest as they went for the physical and forgot about that mental stimulation they had gotten for so long. It’s sad in away, but we visual creatures and do need to feel attracted to those we care about. It’s just too bad that our mind, heart, soul, cannot play a bigger part than our libido.
The point of this opinion piece of mine is that with our fast paced world first impressions can be a bad thing. If we use that short first look at someone as a way to judge a person you could be missing out on a friend for life. You could miss out on that special someone that would make your life whole. A person that could talk you down that moment you are so hurt at life you want to end it. A person that is there to help you and be there no matter what life brings. In ending, the simple truth is that first impression may not always be right. There is a reason many games have say four downs, four quarters, three periods, and a second half. It’s because the first isn’t always the one they want so there are other chances, just like there should be in life.