I am not arguing that looking like a piece of crap is morally wrong or that one is stupid or “bad” when they choose to look like crap, I am suggesting that to achieve most goals, one is wise to look and behave like they have their shit together. A friend of mine started businesses, acquired a small pile of money and at 40 retired to a remote area of Mexico. He is not trying to get converts to his ideals or trying to make or keep business relationships. It is OK that he wears a ratty t-shirt and is unshaven with uncombed hair.
My argument is that if a man “wants something” from other people, they will be more effective if they don’t look like a crap sandwich. Most of us want something from others. My brothers in the voluntaryist movement are a prime example. Many discuss excellent intellectual ideas, which they back up with rational argument. If a secretary was dictating, all would be well, however because of the way in which the person is perceived, the message is greatly weakened and they therefore do not get what they want; converts.
What do YOU want?
- Do you want a potential employer to buy your labor?
- Do you want a good looking person to date you?
- Do you have some ideas you would like to persuade others to believe?
- Do you want to be liked?
- Do you want to be respected?
- Do you want to be looked upon favorably by your in-laws?
- Do you want investors for your business?
If you like having a scruffy half-beard, long hair, tattoos, more jewelry than one ring on one finger or if you like wearing wrinkled clothing and T-Shirts that say stuff that you and your in-group agree is clever, fine. If you want to use poor grammar, curse a lot use the word “like” or use a groovy-dude-peace-brah marijuana voice, fine. You absolutely have that right. Just know that looking lousy will probably decrease your effectiveness in getting what you want. The people that already love you will probably still love you, and your choir will still listen to your preaching.
“I wear T-Shirts or have scruffy facial hair and I do fine” you might argue. I challenge you this, “Compared to what?” If you had dressed sharply in public for the last 5 years, would you not have had a broader appeal? Would “most folks” not think more highly of you? Dispense with the tough guy bravado about “I don’t care what people think of me” or “I am not trying to impress anyone.” i bet you DO care what people think of you, and regardless of how you choose to present yourself, you ARE impressing them either positively or negatively.
There are a couple men that can “pull off” wearing a T-Shirt and still command respect better than most. Two that come to mind are Mark Cuban and Larken Rose. Both are leaders in their respective areas of expertise and have, “reached the top of the pile.” Cuban is a billionaire businessman and can wear whatever he wants because his power lies with his capital and Rose can wear whatever he wants when presenting to his fans because his power lies in his ideas. Even these two men would do better if they “looked sharper.” One does not have to look as metropolitan as famous published Jeffery Tucker, something as simple as a nice crisp dress shirt and a sports coat go a long way.
“I am too poor” is a common objection, “I can’t afford nice clothes.” I call BS and I further suggest that if this is your argument, and you allow it to be your excuse, your financial condition will not improve much. Visit thrift stores and make it happen. Not that easy? Read this and This.
Beards? Don’t. If you simply must, be sure that it is full and well trimmed. Patchy and scruffy don’t work. Ever. If your face can’t grow a full, strong beard please just skip it until you retire to Mexico.