Forums > Social Chat > i am a wave - so are you (Physical Appearance)

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falloutboyfalloutboySILVER Member
433 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia, Earth, Milky Way, Universe

seeing as part of the current (or let's hope "previous") "unpleasantness" surounding HOP was stirred up from threads based on the 'judging' of physical aesthetics of individual persons (be it in a light-hearted manner or not)... why not lets have an intelligent discussion about it?

as i eat lunch everyday, i love to just sit quietly and watch people walk by - i find it much more enjoyable than any TV show, or even the majority of movies spewed out of Hollywood on a regular basis. But today i started realising just how much i assume about a person, merely from their physical appearance. I try really hard not to do this, i know that until you actually meet someone, talk to them, you really have no idea 'Who' they are.. or at least you shouldn't..

my point is this. It may be wrong or overly judgemental to make assumptions based on appearance alone, but i've found that quite often these assumptions turn out to be true!

Why is this the case??

Is it because we (possibly unknowingly) allow our physical self to dictate 'who we are'? Or maybe it works the other way, in that we appear physically in a way which represents our mental self?

Or maybe we are each given our particular physical attributes based on who we are - or who we 'will be' (before being born)? <- this enters into religious/spiritual beleifs though, and may be a bit much for this discussion..... anyway.

In any case, physical appearance should not matter. Underneath it all i believe we are all fundamentally the same, and that we all have equal potential*. Society, however, would seemingly have us believe otherwise..

Let me know your thoughts!

* Here's an interesting story i picked up somewhere on the net - not sure where, so sorry to whoever deserves credit...


A Conversation of Waves

There was once a small wave who was unhappy. "I'm so miserable," it moaned. "The other waves are big and powerful, while I'm so little and weak. Why is life so unfair?"
Another wave passing by heard the small wave and decided to stop by. "You only think so because you haven't seen your own 'original nature' clearly. You think you're a wave and you think you're suffering. In reality you are neither."

"What?" The small wave was surprised. "I'm not a wave? But it's obvious I'm a wave! I've got my crest, see? And there's my wake, little as it is. What do you mean I'm not a wave?"

"This thing you call 'wave' is merely a temporary form you assume for a short time. You're really just water! When you understand completely that this is your fundamental nature, you will no longer be confused about being a wave, and you will be free of your misery."

"If I'm water, what about you?"

"I'm water too. I'm temporarily assuming the form of a wave somewhat larger than you, but that doesn't change my fundamental essence - water! I'm you and you're me. We're part of a greater self."


Most people, mired in the illusion known as the material world, mistakenly assume they belong only to themselves. Therefore they compare themselves to other people. When they perceive some sort of lack or inequity, they become totally miserable. They would feel quite differently if they see clearly that all of us are part of nature. Everyone of us is connected to one another in a fundamental way beyond the explanation of science. We're part of a greater whole - the Oversoul, the Universal Sentience...


So, in conclusion.. I'm not a wave, and neither are you!

[ 03 October 2002, 17:22: Message edited by: falloutboy ]

-As angels debate chance and fate-
i was riding through melbourne on a midget giraffe, things were peachy.

FlyntFlyntSILVER Member
Intrepid Penguin
5,635 posts
Location: Australia

Great Post falloutboy! thanks for putting it up xoxo

I am very interested in this subject. People tend to treat me differently after they have got to know me a little better in person. Approx 60% of my skin is covered in scars. Apart from the initial curiosity, i find it also determines how a person judges me. And that bothers me.

It bothers me because it doesnt matter how or why i have them, nor that i have them at all! It bothers me that when people find out, they look upon me with Pity, and several other emotions that personally i do not deserve, nor NEED!

Your physical aspect is one of the smallest things that make up who you are as a person. Skin is a mere covering as are all the other things that go with it: eye colour, hair, ect. If you obsess about your appearance, does it make you less of a person, because you have not got time for other "real" persuits? does it somehow limit who you are because you cling to your body as if it were your personality?

Just a few thoughts `

Currently on the right side up of the world.

RoziSILVER Member
100 characters max...
2,996 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

I sortof know why we do it. It is part of instinct, you make a judgement about how safe a person is etc as quickly as you can. As such you use the most readily available information, their appearance. Sometimes you are right, sometimes you are wrong, sometimes you never even give yourself the chance to find out.

Whatever causes it, it is a habit that you must try and break at least sometimes. Forgetting what group you have allocated the person into, and getting to know them as a person.

Flynt, I have never really been ultra-smooth in appearance. I have big broad shoulders, messy red hair, and I can either look like a scruffy dag, or a neat nerd, depending on the day. I am glad I have got beyond high school, where you could get the hazing of your life for looking different. I am at a stage where a lot of people see my differences, and are drawn to it, to talk to me and smile at me. I like that.

It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

winkBRONZE Member
18 posts
Location: Livermore, CA, USA

i'm a people watcher too. i live on the beach and all the time i find myself just kickin it watchin peoople walk by. i can think of two reasons why a lot of times you are at least a little bit accurate on your judgement.
1) regardless of how people look everyone carries themself in a way that you can read. their posture, how fast they are walking, etc. alot of times you can tell how confident they are about themselves. alot of signs that all people give off if you know how to read them.
2) everybody is good at different things. and some people are just naturally good at reading all those signs. therefore good at reading people. maybe you are that kind of a person and when you judge them by their looks it's not as mych by skin condition and eye color, as it is posture and presence.

flash fireflash fireBRONZE Member
Sporadically Prodigal
2,758 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

damn you wink! exactly what I was going to say.

How a person carries themselves is important to me when gaining impressions.... I wear a business suit, makeup and preened hair from 8.30am til 6pm 5 days a week; the rest of the time I am very very different in my appearance.

I guess having that dichotomy to deal with myself, I generally tend to be blind to what people are wearing - I find that any impression they make on me is in their eyes, it's in their handshake, it's in their posture and in the way they interact with their friends...

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winkBRONZE Member
18 posts
Location: Livermore, CA, USA

they say great minds think alike........i guess ours do too.

DomDomBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,009 posts
Location: Bristol, UK

Interesting post, thanks.

Most of what I'd say has been said. You can get some powerful hints about some aspects of a person by their appearance. Body language is proven to give great clues to how somebody is feeling on the inside. And a lot of people change their appearance to be inline with a social group and one of the reasons for that is that it signals to other people, especially within that group, that you're similar.

However it's not safe to make strong assumptions about somebody by their appearance. As long as you're open minded enough to realise that behind the mask you see at one time is an amazingly complex person.

Pink...?Pink...?BRONZE Member
Mistress of Pink...Multicoloured
6,140 posts
Location: Over There, United Kingdom

I really liked that Wave made me think a lot about our lives.

I agree with what has been said. But it is hard to not care about physical apperance in the world we live in today, where everywhere you turn there are adverts for plastic surgery and such, saying that you would be a better person if you changed your physical apperance to look beautiful. You need a lot of will power to not go along with them. Where as i believe true beauty comes from within.

[ 03 October 2002, 22:45: Message edited by: Pink Poi ]

Never pick up a duck in a dungeon...

Paddyback from the dead...sort of
884 posts
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

I am a particle.

excellent post falloutboy. we are learning all about this stuff in my psychology classes nowadays...

I completely agree that knowing what a person looks like allows you to make all sort of judgements as to the sort of person he/she is. it's human nature to judge people based on what they look guess what kind of things a person think and believes in based on how they dress or carry themselves. it's called heuristics and back in the day, it helped our ancestors make fast judgements about others they met so that they had the time to defend themselves if the others were a part of the wrong tribe. it helped them survive and that's why it's around today.

the only way to fight making snap judgements about people is to remind yourself that how much you *actually* know about a person. it takes a lot of consious effort to override such an unconsious and primal habit.

one of the reasons I like HoP is that you have the chance to meet people in an area where you are defined by what you say and think and that *only*. it's why I don't have any clear pictures of myself in my pic folder. physical appearance cannot enter into it unless you want to. that said, I think I've been around here long enough that you people know the kind of person I am...maybe one day I'll put up a mug shot. there's a line you cross from not wanting people to know what you look like 'cause you don't know them to where you do want them to know what you look like because you are friends...

Raphael96SILVER Member
old hand
899 posts
Location: New York City, USA

Body language says alot about the person.

Most don't even notice the subtleties.


1,551 posts
Location: the arms of the Ganja Goddess

Flynt: I may be wierd, but scars are sexy. Now no one will treat me the same for saying that.

Does these mean that I am not a wave, and I am just water. Cool, water is so much better than waves. I think Raph just took the words right out of my mouf as that is probably the biggest thing that makes us assume things about people. But body language can also be decieving

You. Its whats for dinner!

As time passes, you realise all the mistakes you amde and the ones you wish you never did make.

The wave crashing on the beach

107 posts
Location: San Antonio, TX

flynt: you were in the irc chan around the time i decided to actually go against the plastic surgeon, doc, and family's suggestions to have this stuff fixed...

here's the weirdness... yeah, my scars get me pity (which i usually respond to with "save your pity for someone that wants it")

I take great pride in my scars (FireMike can probably explain why better than i can) and can list the reasons for every one of them (over 300 to date). Pity, to me anyway, is for people who choose to pity themselves... I earned most of my scars, and view them as reminders of events. Considering my dad today (he's getting up there in years) couldnt remember the punchline to a joke, i think people sometimes need reminders of events...

now, what i am going to do is point out why judging people by looks alone sucks....

the night before my wedding, i was in a fight with people i trained, and have a set of scars to show for it... i have scars from duelling, fencing, gang fights, family (brother mainly) fights, and many from stupid stunts i decided to pull, including the latest motorcycle wreck...

now... here's the fun part, judge me by my scars, appearance, whatever...

i look like hell, especially since i decided to keep the facial scar...

I have had people go off on me when i explained the scars, explained the reason i kept them, etc. But, to me, scars go to your soul... I just chose to keep the visable reminders of the real scars...

Judging me by outside appearance is beyond shallow... i was in gangs, true... i have been responsible for a fair number of bar fights... true... and sure, i am a bit rough around the edges... so, many people decide i am definately not worth knowing, or, as parents and such like to say "that boy is nothing but trouble"....

here's a pic of me now... well, face anyway, compare to old pics of me, sure i cant get a modelling gig, but, i'm happy with it..

Non-Https Image Link

ok, i shouldnt be happy with it, but, i choose not to view it as the time i survived skidding along the pavement at 50+ mph, i view it as the time i had enough control over my bike, during a wreck, that i didnt take zeke down with me and cause a load of unnecessary grief....

now, lets view what caused the lesser known scars... the face and the new set of scars was from making a decision in a split second, to save the person that is mainly responsible for my wreck...

at least 20 of my forearm scars are from blocking knife attacks in the process of stopping someone from raping someone else... (ex gang member as i said)

a minimum of 4 of my shoulder scars are from rushing someone at an sca event that was being considerably less of a 'gentleman' than the period allowed....

3 scars across my chest are from jumping into a gang fight i had no business being in, to keep a friend of mine from being slashed...

its like a song i heard a long time ago stated...

if a man is remembered not by who he was, but what he does... then remember me for nothing....

i'm a decent person once you get to know me, many of my friends are too... and... i would never have known them if i had gone by outward appearances....

proof is in the friends...

noah: golem of a man, 6'4 minimum, busted up major in a car wreck, and, one of the best friends i have known, and most amazing artists....

thomas: 300+ lb freak, has watched my back in many situations and has been there for me through most of my life...

zeke: hardcore biker, may have been a cause of my wreck, but, was there when i needed him no matter how many hundreds of miles away he was, the boy would up and leave to make sure i had support in my endeavors...

there are many more...

sorry this is so longwinded, but, it struck a chord...


ps.. i guess if i meant to really have a discuss on this, i wouldve posted the pic and asked for a reaction based on just the pic...

We bleed the same blood, We cry the same tears, We have the same fears, We pass the same years, We see the same stars, Under the same skies, We pass the same time, We all live and die

RoziSILVER Member
100 characters max...
2,996 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Hey Trintek. Those scars are definitey to be worn with pride. They truly represent who you are as a loyal friend, a strong ally & courageous person.

Thank you for telling us about it.

It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

162 posts
Location: Springfield, MA - USA

Yeah, this is definitely a complex kind of subject. Going by appearance certainly is ingrained into us and can lead into some insights, but you should also try to fight it a bit and give yourself a chance to know the person better.

There can be so many reasons for stuff. Like say you see someone wearing all black and have black hair. Maybe you assume they are Goth. You could be right... in that case there are many different kinds of goth, and they may have many reasons for being that way from personal believes to fitting in with friends. They may be self-concious about weight and are trying to make themselves look thinner. They may be a performer of some kind and it is a costume. They may even just like the color black for no good reason.

Body language can give clues, but the fact that people can keep horrible secrets from close family members for years and years means that you can only take that so far.

To Flynt, I know that is a far shot from one side of the face, but seriously it doesn't look that bad to me at all. I've been doing some programming stuff that is medical related (head and neck cancer) and there are people with removable noses, holes in throats, talking with voice boxes, etc. I could see people making assumptions of the rough and tumble type, but you certainly aren't that bad looking IMO.


165 posts
Location: Halifax, NS

appearance matters... it always has and it always will .. that being said

in a crowd i am not always comfortable in my skin , and i can tell when others are uncomfortable around me ..( sometimes i like that ) .. but because i am the way i am it's just the way life goes....

it's a great litmus test , people who come up to talk with me tend to do so because they are curious about me ... and some of those people become my friends...

but i do take into account the way a person is dressed, how we clothe ourselves say a great deal about who we are and what we expect from the world ( and ourselves)

looks matter , but not for long ...


thats right i look like an albino ape that has had a bad day.. go ahead say something stupid... i dare ya !

PelePeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

Alot of food for thought here, and alot of very good points however, it is actually really not spot on in my opinion.

A person's carriage is part of a public persona. I can walk with the look of all the confidence in the world, but really, I am one of the most self-concious people I know. The point of walking with confidence is that people tend to leave you alone, you look like less of a victim. Body language is a falsehood, because we can direct our body to say what we want it to and not what we feel. As a dancer/actor, I know this all too well.
I enjoy people watching very much. I like to see how people move and relate. The writer in me likes to make up little stories about the people, and their lives, just to make them more real in my world, but it is not a judgement on them. It is more of a creative licensure, a way to bring people "down to my level", so to speak.
I am inclined to agree with Flash that my impression of a person comes from their eyes, their handshake and how they interact with those who like them. And moreover, how the the people who care about him/her treat him/her. This says alot about a person.
For example, on the show I am working on currently there is a man on the cast who created and defined the genre of theater we are working in (interactive improv). He has been defining and redefining his creation for decades, and to have him on cast (not in a directoral way) is really astounding. So, deciding to swallow my shyness and fear, because he is this huge icon for me, I walked up to him, stuck out my hand and introduced myself. He looked me in the eye, introduced himself with a lack of sincerity and gave the wimpiest handshake I have ever exchanged. He talks with our directors, friends of his, with a vague hint of indifference and I have really lost respect for him as a person, not his work though. It is really incredible.

I also want to agree with Ivan. Looks *do* count. We can say they shouldn't until we are blue in the face but when push comes to shove the "uncomfortable to look at's" will get passed over by the cute guy/gal in the bar, by the photographers, by directors, etc. Personality matters more than anything, yes. But to get to someone's personality you need to get beyond the appearance, and our society tells us that the pretty ones deserve the time first, and if time runs out before we get to the less-aesthetic ones, then so be it. Do I agree with this? Hell no, mainly because I do not concider myself one of the pretty ones, more like one of the slightly overweight, tall-for-a-girl, mundane looking ones.
I like to look at people, everyone no matter their station in appearance, and I don't judge because I have been judged against, alot. However, I know it is there and I work twice as hard to compensate for it because I love what I do and I think it is worth it. Do I look at the skinny little girls and sometimes long to be one, yep. And sometimes I just don't know why.

Looks may not matter in the long runh but they sure as hell do count at the get go, sadly.

This reminds me of the movie "Lilo and Stitch" where Lilo takes the pictures of all the really heavy tourists on the beach and thinks they are beautiful, but her sister Nani made the "ick" face at the photo's. Eye of the beholder........

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

CantusCantusSILVER Member
Tantamount to fatuity
15,966 posts
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

odd thread. i only wish i could read so as to fully understand what it is all about...


247 posts
Location: Cork, Ireland at present

When I was 14 or 15, I delivered milk, door to door. One particular customers, an old lady just down the road to where I lived, always used to chat to me. One night I walked down the road, hair down, bikers leather on black jeans etc... she wouldn't even look at me as we passed. Thats when I noticed how much apperance matters, and how wrong it was.

I try my best at all times to treat all as equal.. but I know I don't, and that pisses me off a bit, but i'll keep on striving.

I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure now.....

brodiemanbrodiemanold hand
1,024 posts
Location: london

A point to add is people generally see themselves diffrently than the way everyone else sees them,
For example i have never had much confidence in the way i look, but i do not lack social confidence, so people precieve me as confident
i know im no brad pit, but i do know their are parts of me that stand out and make me unique, their just not the apperance ones,
lol oh well thats what i tell my self anyways. hehehehe

645 posts
Location: wishing to be in Rio

I've been thinking about these sort of issues tonight and found this gem in a search. I just wanted to throw it back open to the board.

I was having a discussion this evening about aethetics and performance. It may be unfair, but it seems to me that how good you look is very important when you are on stage dancing with fire (if there is enough light to see the performer of course). I have emphasised the word "dancing" because there are many ways to entertain on a stage for which you don't need to be percieved as good-looking, but dancing with poi/staff seems to be one where the public want to see someone good-looking.

Now, I know good-looking is a subjective term, but in general these days it means: no obvious scarring, no "excess" fat, and well proportioned, pleasing features. I know I am also subject to these conventions - that if I see someone performing with poi with a flabby belly hanging out, I am distracted from the skill and ability of the spinning and I don't like to watch it.

Also, this raises a question of age. I just started to wonder; when are you "past it" as a performer? When would you stop performing in a "dancey" style?

I would be interested to hear views in reference to performing.

there's nothing quite as fulfilling as a tasty airwrap

if you're full of sh!t, at least you're fertile

"we are all flowers growing in God's garden... and that is why he spreads the sh!t around" - David Byrne

645 posts
Location: wishing to be in Rio

ok, just read the [Old link] thread. Food for thought.

there's nothing quite as fulfilling as a tasty airwrap

if you're full of sh!t, at least you're fertile

"we are all flowers growing in God's garden... and that is why he spreads the sh!t around" - David Byrne

Flame BoyFlame BoyGOLD Member
1,508 posts
Location: Out, United Kingdom

You can always assume something from someone's appearance:

Certain styles of dressing carry a sense of what type of person should wear it; so people who feel they are this type of person wear these type of clothes.
The same goes for hair styles, speech, accessories, everything you can change about your appearance will adjusted to style suits you best.

There are of course things that cant be changed or assumed from the way you look, e.g. you can never tell how intelligent a person is, or what their physical abbilities, etc.

Those are my views.....up to a point biggrin

AAARRRGGGHHH!!! My giant stick broke!!! In two!!! My stick broke in two!!! ubbcrying

6,650 posts

another thread from back then where threads had one page only... wink

You can assume from style of clothes and hair... but you never know who plays you. I myself did and know x-amount of people who wore expensive suits and neckties, just like any other costume. Only to go home after work and exchange them for any other garment far away from the business...

Originally Posted By: Falloutboy in his IPMost people, mired in the illusion known as the material world, mistakenly assume they belong only to themselves. Therefore they compare themselves to other people. When they perceive some sort of lack or inequity, they become totally miserable. They would feel quite differently if they see clearly that all of us are part of nature. Everyone of us is connected to one another in a fundamental way beyond the explanation of science. We're part of a greater whole - the Oversoul, the Universal Sentience...

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

Fire_MooseFire_MooseSILVER Member
Elusive and Bearded
3,597 posts
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

"Excuse me, I don't mean to impose, but I am the Ocean."


Owned by Mynci!

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