|She: "Stop staring at me!"|
He: "No, you stop staring at me!"
David Sedaris explored these ideals in his hilarious (although—WARNING—vulgar and disturbing) essay, “Town and Country,” which appears in his book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. The essay opens with the line “They looked like people who just attended a horse show; a stately couple in their late sixties, he in a cashmere blazer and she in a gray tweed jacket, a gem-encrusted shamrock glittering against the rich felt of her lapel.” Sedaris meets this couple when his flight seat ends up next to theirs. He’s privy to their conversation, of course, and becomes shocked upon hearing the heavy, profanity-laden exchange—not because he is averse to profanity but because this couple does not look like the kind of people who would use profanity so freely. He describes himself as “confounded” because after all these years he still hasn’t learned that “expensive clothing signifies [nothing] more than a disposable income” and that tweed and cashmere are not markers of a refined character. Granted, Sedaris is speaking about other aspects of appearance than facial features, but I maintain that the ideal is the same. We develop snap judgments about people based on looks, and no matter how many times our judgments are proved faulty, we persist in this practice.