challenge accepted! fellowship

Guest Post: Grayson Queen on our Best Faces

So my husband finally wrote a guest post for me, and even better, incorporated it into a Prompts for the Promptless challenge!   If you don’t know about Dave  yet, or the #ForThePromptless challenges we run, you’re probably new– so, welcome!  I’m glad to have you around.

If you want to pop over and say hey to Dave, you can visit him at his blog where he goes by his artist name, Grayson Queen:

http://graysonqueen.wordpress.com/

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Once, a long time ago I worked for what was technically a modeling agency.  Though it was a sleazy industry, it was there that I heard the first version of the best advice ever given to me.

Always dress one step better than everyone else.

Though we hate to admit it to ourselves, we do judge the books by their covers.  Making the best impression in our appearance garners a certain level of instant respectability.  You would be hard pressed to take investment advice from a guy in sweatpants and a t-shirt.  What does it say about a person’s disposition if they can’t be bothered to put on a clean shirt?  When you don’t take pride in yourself, no one expects that you’ll do it for anything else.

After the modeling agency I went into film, where I received a different version of the same advice.

Always carry your script or headshot with you.

You never know who you’re going to run into, and you may miss the chance of a life time because you weren’t prepared.  You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities will present themselves.  Do you expect to find the love of your life when you’re wearing your exercise clothes everywhere?  What impression would you give if you ran into a client while wearing torn pants and a stained shirt?

Yesterday I sat down with my wife to have coffee and talk.  As we sat there, a man came in carrying a stack of books, he sat near enough so that I could read the titles.  He was studying physics and reading a Jim Butcher novel.  This was only a few days after I finished my horror story, 3676*.  I was kicking myself for not being prepared.  If I had at least a business card, I could have scrawled the link and coupon code for this guy to read my book.  While it was only one missed opportunity, it could have been the biggest opportunity.  He could have loved it and shared it with his friends.  He could have been a world renowned physicist that I didn’t recognize.  It wouldn’t have been the first time it has happened to me.

This is how I learned the third version of the same advice.

It’s okay to be yourself and have opinions, but there is no need to be rude, vulgar or mean.

I’ve met my share of celebrities in my life and those are fun stories to tell, but I like the ones where I don’t know till after who I was talking to.  I once had a long discussion about art, only to learn that the person I was talking to was a famous clothing designer.  The next time, it was the drummer of a popular band, then a billionaire, a few scientific geniuses and one or two future politicians.  When I learn who these people are, days or years later, I’m thankful that I’m ingrained with a polite stoicism.  I don’t say anything that doesn’t need to be said.  I smile and nod at boring or annoying things, and I never do anything that I’d be embarrassed about later.

Other than a few good jobs here and there, I maybe never reaped the benefits of putting my best face forward, or having friends in high places.  But having people like you, no matter their station, is much better than being that person everyone glares at.  The woman saying hateful things at McDonalds.  The guy picking his nose on the side of the road.  The lady who slaps her child in front of everyone.

Sure, it’s not helpful to obsess about what other people think about you, but everyone once in a while you need to check yourself and ask– what would happen if my boss, or my client or the love of my life saw me right now?

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This is a topic that Dave and I batter around all the time.  Putting your best face forward, and creating an illusion, can often be a fine line to walk– but our honne tends to be that it’s better to err on that side of the scale.  It’s a thought we share with only close friends, since so many people take the repercussions of such a philosophy personally or associate it directly to the “What would the neighbors think?” philosophy.

Do you ascribe to putting your best face forward and always being prepared?  Have you checked out the other ForThePromptless entries for this week?  A new challenge will be posted tonight, 11:30pm PST!

3676 is 99 cents, but here’s a coupon code to get it free: ZZ76R. (Code expires October 1st) Download the ebook here!

64 comments

  1. I agree with this philosophy — what does it hurt us to put our best face forward, be prepared and be polite — sounds like the code of conduct learned by girl and boy scouts (they don’t wear a uniform for nothing)

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  2. I’m mulling a post related to this topic based on something that happened to me today. (Got “accused” of being an atheist. Given the context, I was sort of flattered–and also wanted to laugh my head off. Talk about someone not knowing their audience . . . ) It’ll probably post Thursday. Stay tuned.

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    1. As an atheist I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being one, i think they can smell it on me already. But I’ve accused of not knowing my own thoughts, of secretly being angry at god and going through a phase.

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      1. Yeah–I think that one gets lobbed from both sides of the firing line. It was a pretty silly interaction. Probably neither of us had put our best foot forward, which is what made me think of it in this context . . .

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      2. Also–I think there are rarified circumstances where “atheists” (I put it in quotes to distinguish from the ones who don’t fit this description) HAVE been dishonest with themselves, or angry at God, or some such thing, and if a person of faith meets you and finds that they like you as a person, it is comforting to them to remember this and project it onto you, in hopes that, if it’s true, it means you’ll eventually come back around. 🙂 At least . . . it’s something like that, I think. Of course, there are also the people of “faith” who say such things hatefully, but . . . why is a hateful version always POSSIBLE, anyway? Sheesh.

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        1. Of course, in equally rarified situations, I’ve seen many people of faith clinging to faith because of disappointment in reality and others. It’s a situation I saw quite often when working with recovering addicts. As a person of faith myself (though usually a different faith), it was equally hard to witness and I was equally inclined to project reasonings. I’m not sure what my point was there. I guess, it’s as hard to see good/smart/honest people avoiding your subculture, as it is to see dishonest/frightened people clinging to yours. In order to deal, it’s human nature, I think, to come up with reasoning– however falsified.

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          1. Yes, exactly. I think that’s part of what I was trying to say . . . just not as coherently! You sum it up well. (Also, I have seen similarly rarified situations to the ones you’ve described. I was going to put something in there about that, but I felt I had rambled on quite enough!)

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  3. Be prepared, it’s the Boy Scout motto. It’s how I live my life, or try to anyways. And, I always dress better than I expect others to be dressed. I’m not sure where I learned that lesson, but it usually feels wrong to be under dressed…it’s more for me, and how I perceive myself than worrying about how others will perceive me.

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    1. It’s funny because I always thought the boy scout uniforms looked dorky. But yeah, I’m always having conversation about why I’m wearing slacks to a picnic or how I don’t own a pair of jeans.
      P.S. Totally was voted best dressed in high school.

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      1. I still think the boy scout uniforms look dorky. 😛 And I definitely wasn’t voted best dressed in high school – my dress for success mantra didn’t come around until I started working.

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  4. I try to treat others as I’d like to be treated.

    But I can’t resist adding that the first time I met the love of my life, he was dressing a septic wound on my stomach, and the second time, I was wearing a nasty old off-white thermal vest 🙂

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    1. There’s no accounting for taste 🙂
      Rara was wearing an oversized sweatshirt when I first saw her. But the strongest memory I have of her is wearing forest green corduroy overalls and a bright fluffy pink sweater.

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      1. How on earth could my pink sweatshirt override my cape/crown in your memory? You are a strange duck, sir.

        ALSO, they were not overalls. 😀 Just normal green corduroy pants.

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  5. Sooo.. yeah, I haven’t managed to actually remember to make sure I typed something before I make it go… Anyways. What I was going to say was this was really eye opening and made me think a lot about being prepared. I own a small etsy.com shop as well as being a full time blogger. So sometimes I forget that I actually have cards with me and they could come in handy if I managed to give them out more regularly. Today’s post is a good prompt to get me think more about my surroundings.

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    1. When we owned a store we often wore some of the things we sold when we went out. It was easy advertisment. I once sold a necklace of my neck to Joe Morton who played Henry in Eureka (just to tie that back into my you never who you’ll run into concept).

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      1. That is fantastic! However… I make zombie and punk baby bibs, blankets, and onsies… kinda hard to wear those around. BUT.. I love the idea and I might just have to sew up something fun for myself!

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        1. I would love a link to your shop, Crysta. The hubby and I are always looking for zombie & punk baby gifts. That’s a weird, but true, statement, haha.

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  6. I am not a dress sort of girl, but I do dress smartly if required. i remember hearing once someone comment on women’s attire in the work place, “The more flesh you show, the more power you give away” I am not a bit sexist but I do really agree with this statement. If you want to be taken seriously as a woman cover up,( without dressing like a nun!)

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    1. I think it’s less about the clothes and more about the attitude. There are a some women and men who talk about using their body to distract, or who use flirting to get favors. And if that’s the path they want to take to get a leg up, I guess that’s fine… but it’s hard to think they’re capable of doing actual work.

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  7. and here I sit and read in my robe and slippers…yup best face forward…err nope. Seriously – yes I like to look my best for the occasion and of course use my manners – sitting in my home when no one is watching..hmm not so much 😉 Oh but you have reminded to get my business cards organised! Thanks for the post Grayson & lovey. x

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  8. I think it is a brilliant and often very happy person that finds the balance between living honestly and true to yourself and taking pride in how you are portraying yourself to others.

    If you came across you in a cafe’, would you want you to be your friend? coworker? mentor?

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    1. First off, if I came across me in a cafe I would be too surprised. There is someone roaming around Southern California that looks like me, or at least I remind a lot of people that know him.
      But I think the big problem is that we would be so introvert that neither of us would look up.

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  9. I have often times left my house not looking my best or putting much effort into my look. And I kick myself almost every single time. If you care enough to take care of and believe in yourself, you invite other folks into your life who will respect and reward you for it. Now if only the me that wants to sleep ten extra minutes versus blow drying my hair would get with the program, I could rule the world! I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing :).

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  10. The wisdom of Dave. Great to see a guest post from your other half! I absolutely agree that although we shouldn’t pander to people it is best to always be prepared because you never know where life is going to take you on any given day.

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    1. We set the tone for how we want to be seen and treated. And that can be a strong tone, something that makes others follow our lead, rather than us living their way.
      Never pander. And always be a better stronger person.

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  11. Whilst I get this I don’t always subscribe to it, whilst 99% of the time I am pretty good I do slip. I’ve heard the one about dress better than everyone else (although I read it as dress better than your job title).

    For me I rarely, or at least rarely show that I care what other think of me, I tend to think that you would always be adjusting yourself for other people’s opinions of how you should be.

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    1. As me, a full time artist, atheist and mexican living in Southern California. I’m always being critiqued. Part of conquering that is not giving others an excuse to deem you lesser.
      And while I don’t agree with the way of the world, I have to live in it. And when the time comes for me to judge I never judge as harshly as those others.

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  12. Great post! I don’t know…I mean I feel that it is a balance of “what others think” and personal “pride”? I feel that as long as you respect yourself and those around you, invariably you would do the things that would “make you look better” you know? So in a way, yes I think it’s true, but the intention should always be for one’s own higher good…not what others would think of them……

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    1. My best face forward and my own higher good go hand in hand, because you can so easily change the world.
      Today I let someone get in front of me while driving. And that person will go on feeling a little bit better and people connected to them will take part in that.
      Maybe tomorrow I’ll cut someone off and the rest of the day they’ll stew over it. They’ll think about how much they hate me, and people who look like me or are in my age group.
      What other’s think of me effects not just me, but people like me, the perception of my friends, and my family.

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  13. I think it’s important to put your best face forward, but at the same time you need to be yourself. Putting your best face forward should not mean putting on airs or trying to portray yourself as being someone you really aren’t. Be yourself – dressed as well as you can be, be polite & kind.

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    1. When ever we had company over my mother always like to pretend there was nothing wrong, no one was arguing ten minutes ago and the diner hadn’t been a hassle.
      It frustrated me because I felt like it was lying. And so I don’t lie, never.
      So in that, best face forward to me isn’t pretending. I don’t have to pretend to be helpful or have read a book, and no one does. It’s about being good an polite as often as you can.
      And theirs a dark truth in this, that people who put on airs to have a hard time being good and polite and that some people who are good and polite are using it as a means to an end. But that’s something completely different.

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    1. Agreed. Although I’m trying not to be ‘that old guy’ and giving some leeway to new slang. Still it’s hard for me to take someone serious when they use text, chat or tweet slang when talking.

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  14. I could offer another advice that fits the same mold: “treat strangers as though your next job depends on them”. A few years ago, I came in to an interview a few minutes early, and noticed that a woman at the front desk, who I assumed to be a secretary/administrative assistant (and not because it was a woman – because of her desk that was facing the entrance), was apparently having problems with her computer. So I volunteered to help – and once I helped, I found out that the woman was actually the manager who was supposed to interview me for the job. I got the job, and I don’t think I even needed to do the actual interview after that.

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  15. Unfortunately, I am behind in my blog reading. I wish I would have read this post BEFORE attending a 4 day conference. BEFORE using the words “anus” and “poop” in a question to Marianne Williamson. I seem to have a habit of being that person that everyone glares at. I think I’m finally getting the message. Thanks for the reminder, Dave. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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