“Aspen?” a lady in a United uniform called. “Who’s going to Aspen?”
About 20 people raised their hands, including a lady with a pinched face and a ginormous fox stole. She must not have gotten the PETA memo.
The group gathered around the harried-looking employee.
“We’re arranging a bus to take you to Aspen. In this weather, it will be about a 5-hour drive. But we’ll get you there.”
Pinched-face lady huffed and slid back into her place in the long flight customer service line.
After 5 minutes, the United employee sidled up to the pinched-face lady. “If you want to go to Aspen, this bus is probably your only option. All flights so far today have been canceled, and the weather’s only going to get worse.”
“I’m NOT taking a bus,” pinched-face lady huffed.
The counter attendant called out, completely oblivious to the snobbery, “You really want to do this. It’s a beautiful drive. It will be even more beautiful in the snow. You’ll never forget this.”
Pinched-face lady responded, “I don’t think you understand what I’m saying. I will never, in a million years, take a bus. I WILL NOT TAKE THE BUS.”
(What is an airplane, ladies and gentlemen, if not a bus that flies and squishes you between a businessman with a laptop and a sharp elbow and an old lady who snores?)
“You’ll be stuck here for the rest of the day and probably all night, ma’am.”
“I will take my chances. Anything is better than that disgusting suggestion.”
Nearby, a group of Aspen bus-goers were introducing themselves to each other. They were taking pictures already. Laughing. Joking. Meeting.
The pinched-face lady, however, was standing lonely, at the front of the desk, grumbling about her life.
Do Biases Keep You Down?
The above story took place the other day when I was at the Denver airport.
It’s been bugging me ever since.
See, I used to be a huge snob. Eat at that ratty Mexican dive? UGH. Are you kidding me? Buy clothes at TARGET? NOTONYOURLIFE. Be caught dead with HIM? Only if he’s buying the drinks and sits at a different table.
It wasn’t pretty. Biases … snobbery … snottiness. All that went out fashion with the grunge movement, didn’t it?
But biases can come in small packages. They’re often tiny hidden emotional tumors that keep you from fully experiencing the opportunities around you.
Like eating tomatoes.
For the majority of my adult life, I told myself I hated tomatoes. Because my dad told me I hated tomatoes.
Then, one day last year I tried a tomato. Raw. With salt.
The heavens opened and my taste buds whipped me for depriving them for all these years. It was lingual abuse. A real tongue lashing.
Or the food-on-your-face thing, right? It’s uncanny. Every time I visit a forum where a post here is mentioned, one of the responses (EVERY time) goes something like this: Ew. Like I’m going to put that in my hair/on my face/near my perfectly coiffed and manicured being. Sounds disgusting. Also, Taylor Lautner is hawt. OMG.
In the meantime, the rest of the forum-readers are slathering cocoa powder and honey on their face and in their hair, sharing the silly but fulfilling experience with one another.
Now, I know none of that applies to you courageous, open-minded lovelies, but I bet you can look at your life and find somewhere that you’re still holding on to some sort of bias that keeps you from fully experiencing life the way you could.
What do you say “no” to because you’ve decided it’s gross, or beneath you, or not worthy of your attention? Better yet, WHO do you say no to?
Kick Your Biases to the Curb
I’m not suggesting that everyone stop following their intuition and just do everything the universe throws at them. I mean, I’ve seen Yes Man. I know what happens when you say yes to snorting Tabasco sauce.
But I think we can all agree that there are things we’ve said no to, or friendships we’ve missed out on, because we’re a little biased.
I challenge you to monitor yourself until Sunday for times when you say no to an opportunity because of this – and then choose to say “yes.”
In fact, here’s one better, if you so choose it. It’s the ONE thing that received the most OMG-that’s-gross backlash from Crunchy Betty.
Put molasses or maple syrup in your hair.
I’m talking simple, effective, and it makes your hair softer and shinier than you could ever believe. (Skip this, though, if you’re no ‘poo … not sure if it would ever come out!)
Here’s how: Slather a bunch of maple syrup or molasses in your dry hair. Wrap your head with plastic wrap (please don’t cover your nose and mouth). Let it sit there for 30 minutes or an hour (or more, if you have time). Take a shower and wash it out.
Even if you choose not to put anything gooey in your hair, please don’t ever be a pinched-face lady.
If the universe delivers you a bus, take it.
The view is beautiful.
Off the top of your head, can you think of any time you’ve tried something, despite the fact that you’d had some sort of snobbery or negative feelings toward it, and it turned out to be an eye- and mind-opening experience?
What about a friendship? Was there someone in your life who turned out to be a great friend, even though – at first – you were really put off by something about them?
ha! i’ve had to rent a car and drive from aspen to denver due to cancelled flights probably three times over the years, and every single time it was GORGEOUS and totally worth it. poor lady don’t know what she’s missin’!
I like the way she thinks!
I love this! Ironically, I feel I’ve gotten worse about this as I’ve gotten older. This is an area I really need to work on.
One time when I was forced to try something and it turned out for the best? A girl we didn’t know sat with my BFF and me at lunch in middle school one day. We thought she was a little strange, so didn’t expect her to come back the next day. (BTW, we were huge nerds, so it’s not like we were at the popular table.) But she did come back. And we didn’t remember her name. But she STILL came back. And now? We’re still friends, 25 years later. 🙂
Haha. The strange ones are the best ones, if you ask me.
Strange is interesting WAY longer than normal is.
Viva la strange!
This post is so true!
I not really bother with New Year resolutions because I tend to forgot them and think they are doomed for failure anyway. Seriously the only one I have is to have a kicking New Years Eve. However confronting biases might be a good one.
Two biases I have had. Firstly I do not like touch screens. At all. My ipad was expection because it’s easy to carry around yet I still have a keyboard for it. Then my niece gave me her old ipod touch and although I still prefer Classic ipods; I’ve been getting used to it and found it good to watch TedTalks on.
Secondly, this is really shallow but I generally assume that just because someone is goodlooking, well off or well educated they are more worthy of my time then someone who isn’t. Not to say that beautiful, rich, clever people are terrible or anything. Yet just because someone isn’t those things doesn’t mean they can’t be fun or insightful too. I think this bias is one that lingers from my private school days because I tended to interact with a certain kind of people so they became my comfort zone. Does that make sense? I can be terribly shallow about people so at least I’ve realise it. Also if everyone had this bias then it would work against me which is something I’ve noticed about the biases people hold.
I think your bias toward “good-looking, well-off, or well-educated” people is one that most people have, y’know?
I had it for a long time. And then something changed … all of a sudden anything/anyone superficial made me feel very withdrawn and a little uncomfortable.
(This was still back when I’d go out to clubs every few weekends.)
Eventually, I found myself hanging out at a local “dive” bar one night and had the best time with people who probably couldn’t have even gotten into the clubs. I’m talking toothless. And stinky.
Ever since then, I’ve really gravitated toward “real” people – people who are full of authenticity … and not full of themselves.
It’s really helped me not be so snobby, to be sure!
That’s the thing about biases, once they are challenged they are proven to be wrong.
I think it is important to acknowledge biases I have (although they make me sound like a terrible person- I’m racist and judgemental of overweight people) and also that sometimes they haven’t left so my behaviour is still being affected by whatever biases I have.
Makes me think of the Avenue Q song ‘Everyone’s a little bit racist.’
Great post, and YAY, thank you for the timely suggestion for a hair treatment! I went no ‘poo a few weeks before you did, and stuck it out with decent results until early December. But my hair got incredibly, grossly DULL. This has never happened to me in my life, so I figured it was the no ‘poo. However, switching back to shampoo and conditioner, to my horror, made NO difference. As soon as I read this I knew I needed to try it.
This afternoon, I slathered my long hair in molasses. I love the flavor and smell and couldn’t bring myself to use something as expensive as maple syrup! It was terrifying, not because I’m afraid of food in my hair but because it was SO sticky. I slathered and slathered and wrapped it in plastic and left it for 2 hours. In the meantime I did an oatmeal/honey/cream/coffee mask, and in the shower used the coffee grounds with some sugar and olive oil as a scrub. Long story short, THANK YOU!!!!!! My hair is at last soft and shiny and deep, rich brown again 🙂
I also want to add that the molasses thing seems to be 100% no ‘poo friendly. It washed out completely with just water with no problem whatsoever. I would recommend not following it up with anything! I did use shampoo afterwards, but that was just to confirm that there was no residue left after the water rinsed clean. Next time I do this I won’t use anything on it afterwards. This makes me want to try no ‘poo again!
This is EXCELLENT to know. I remember someone having a huge issue with doing an olive oil hair mask with no ‘poo that I just stayed FAR away from any hair masks when I WAS no ‘poo. (Since my wayward weeks in California and getting my hair cut, I haven’t gotten back into the rhythm yet.)
Thanks for sharing all of it! (I kind of want to make your entire comment a blog post in itself … heh.)
As I read this post it made me remember the first time I met my husband. He breathed loud. The pores on his nose were big. He had a slightly crooked smile. I didn’t find him attractive at all. I could be friends with him but I thought “Never will I love this man, he is beneath me.” I was, for lack of a better word, a SNOB.
After getting to know him, I realized I was being such a snob. His smile might have been crooked but it was warm and sweet. He might breath a little loud and have larger than average pores but he was kind, loving, and honest. He cared and loved for me always. He was (and still is) the best person to walk into my life. Had I listened to my “inner-pinched-lady” I would never have given him (and more importantly MYSELF) the chance to get to know the most amazing person.
I. Love. This. Story.
Makes me want to hug you both right now. You’re such a lucky, lucky woman (and he’s a lucky, heavy-breathing man).
I’m printing this out to remind me when I’m feeling icky about something Fiance’s doing (leaving dirty Q-tips all around) that I love him despite the things that turn me off a little.
I am a self-admitted snob. I refuse to take a city bus. Other public transportation is okay. Just not a city bus. I’d rather walk or take my bike thankyouverymuch. And I can do both with my kids. I HAVE taken the city bus, and because of that experience I grew my bias. It’s okay. I think its the only one. Oh and I won’t eat anything weird (which is anything different than I normally eat) but I will put just about anything on my face.
Ha! Well, I think the city bus experience probably differs depending on where you life (the one here makes, like, 10 stops and runs at stupid hours, so I never have opportunity to take it). BUT, the one that runs up into the mountains is SO cozy and hardly ever has anyone in it. And it has WiFi. I swear, it’s like having your own personal driver and not having to drive up scary mountain passes.
I was the same way, too, about not eating anything weird for a long time. Then, I swore a few years ago that I was going to try EVERYTHING I could at least three times. There are still things I absolutely hate, but at least I know now it’s not just a weird holdover from being a picky eater as a kid. (Mushrooms.)
No biases in putting anything on me but ya once it happened ven I was really not welcoming to a gal at college but she was sweet to me but later we became really good girlfriends and still keep in touch even after four years of college……so yes I did learn this lesson long back and I try to view things from all perspectives now but still prejudices do come in between…everyday we learn something new…..
Yep. We’re all human, to be sure. I think awareness of the biases is the first step. Once you’re aware you have them, eventually you’ll start to shift in a good way.
Like a rock in your shoe, right? Until you notice it, it doesn’t bug you. Then, once you notice, it’s all you can think about until you get it out of there.
This is funny…my husband and I were talking about this last night. A lot of the world just doesn’t do things because it is out of the ordinary. I think we get settled into routine and then when something different comes along we just don’t even consider it. Recently I have tried to be more intentional about doing things that aren’t ordinary, not because I like to be different from everyone else, but because doing things that aren’t ordinary mixes it up. Gets you out of routine. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a routine in the day. But I feel like doing things like making your own beauty products, laundry soap, cleaning supplies can not only help in finances and health, but also in keeping life fun and different. It is easy to go to the store and buy what you need, but is that really all that fun? For me, trying not to automatically turn my nose up at things means keeping life interesting.
As for what I tend to have snobbery with…I am a chemist and I tend to turn my nose up when non-scientific people try to explain science. I am totally snobbish about that, and I should really stop because I don’t know everything. I probably sound like a doofus when trying to talk about something that is not in my field of expertise, and I hope deep down inside that no one is sticking their nose up at me for not knowing the proper way to explain something.
I hear you, sister, on all of this.
And you’ve presented me with a great idea here. If you ever have anything chemisty you think the readers here would get something out of, I would love for you to guest post.
i was hesitant to try yogurt on my hair and took the plunge. i know whip up yogurt and egg twice a week and my hair is the better for it, silky, shiny, fabulous. i’m no poo and have been for 8 months.
Oooh. I love the idea of yogurt and egg. Next time I’m at the store, I’m gonna restock my yogurt just to try this. AND, it’s especially encouraging that you can use it WITH no ‘poo. Yay!
I am very guilty of pinchedfaceladyitis.
But nothing like a year or two of financial struggles to end that attitude, for the most part.
The universe has a way of bitchslapping you when you’re an idiot.
I love this post 🙂
Amen to that!
Between your comment and one above, I really started to think about this whole financial crisis and whether or not it’s just one big universal lesson for everyone to readjust priorities (and lose the snobbiness) and focus on the “realer” things.
It would just be nice if the utility bills weren’t so dang real sometimes.
Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points
I dislike the bus.
But, because I spent many years on it and it has an emotional connotation for me that is very very hard to shake now, as an adult.
But if you told that was my only option, well, I’d buy a chocolate bar and go.
I TRY to make choices based on what I know, or whether or not an experience has worked for me before and not because of a factless emotional reaction.
I probably flop at it occasionally.
Well, yeah. We’re all human, in the end. There’s never perfection.
My experience with public transportation is so totally different. I grew up where there was NONE. (Public transportation was walking the mile across town to get to the swimming pool.)
Then, when I moved to NYC, I FREAKED about having to use public transportation. Absolutely REFUSED to use the subway. Took cabs everywhere. Until I realized I had spent a thousand dollars on cabs without even knowing it.
Then I took the subway, and loved it. I’ve had a loving relationship with public transportation ever since.
And, not to make this reply an entire novel, but this totally brings up the question if experiences become what you expect them to become. Creating your own reality and all that.
How very Oprah.
Hmmm… the husband. He was supposed to be just a date when I came home from school. He was not supposed to be anything serious. Tried really hard to resist the “serious” thing with him and dern if 10 years later I can’t get rid of this guy I was “just” going to date for fun. BTW, after 10 years, it is still “fun”! 🙂
Goodness. SO many stories about hubbys who had a nose turned up at them to begin with.
Your story makes me feel so much love. I gotta say, Fiance started out as just a friend of a friend who helped me move into my apartment, and then he just kind of never left. I joke that he’s kind of like mold … and sometimes I’m not really joking about that.
Um, let’s see…the degree I’m working on, the field of work I’ll be going into when I graduate, the guy I am seeing, the place I am living (‘rents basement), half the shows my kid is allowed to watch on TV…basically anything I turned my nose up at the universe has spent the last five years shoving my nose back into it. It’s kinda funny actually. 🙂
Funny how the universe has a way of teaching you the lessons you least want to learn, y’know? Gotta say, this whole discussion has made me wonder, if, in a broader sense, the financial crisis isn’t the entire world’s opportunity to readjust and find what’s really true and good (and it’s not Prada).
You just summed up in a blog comment a two hour discussion my mom and brother and I had in the garage a couple of weeks ago. That is awesome.
I didn’t even remember this until I read your last paragraph, but the woman who has been my staunch best friend for the last 20 years? I kind of ignored her when she first tried to be friends with me in junior high. Oh, wow, and my husband of 8 1/2 years tried really hard to get me to date him in high school. No dice. So, basically, I never trust my first impressions now. Everyone gets a chance, until they prove themselves one way or another.
Aw. See? LOVE these stories.
I think there’s A LOT to be said for intuition, but I’m not sure it can be trusted when there are weird biases that go before it. Like, say, if you think someone’s dressed poorly, and you make a judgment that they’re a lazy slob.
Thanks for giving two WONDERFUL examples of getting past a bias into something really, really good.
WOW. I cannot believe some people. I’m hoping with that kind of attitude she had first class…lol.
Right? It was unbelievable when it happened. Everybody in line was looking at her like she was nutso. But, as is the case with people who have that kind of attitude, she seemed to think the looks were in deference to her almighty stature or something. She loved the attention.
Hey, at least she got SOMETHING good out of it. 🙂
Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
Now you are just talking crazy- I am not wasting the goodness of Quebec maple syrup on my hair. Especially not my hair. Molasses, maybe.
I am especially snobby, but only in private and only in my head. But truly, I have to work to say no.
Dude, I know what you mean. At the price maple syrup is these days, I have a hard time putting it in my hair. Molasses, like you said, is doable … the only thing I ever make with it is gingerbread cookies, and that’s maybe once every two years.
Dangit. Now I’m craving gingerbread.