This post isn’t fully cooked so it may get edited later.
Ever read the Hedy Lamarr quote that says ‘Any girl can be glamorous, all you have to do is stand still and look stupid’?
Even though I LOVE dressing up, and I don’t actually think that glamorous people ARE stupid at all, I do think there’s a lot of truth in her statement. When we think of glamorous people we don’t think of someone whose expression is burning with intelligence, we generally think of someone who is a bit of a blank slate so we can project something on to them – our own aspirations, our admiration, or whatever we can imagine. That projection is way easier on us if we don’t have to bother with thinking of them as having their own thoughts or ideas, if we don’t have to imagine them as having agency.
That’s why it has always made sense to me that the ‘glamour’ spells in my urban fantasy books depended on the imagination of the viewer. Witches and sorcerers in those books are able to use glamour spells to disguise themselves as someone else and it works as long as the viewer is EXPECTING to see the other person. If the viewer’s subconscious doesn’t play along then the spell is useless.
It seems to me that glamour in real life can work much the same way. If the viewers aren’t interrupted by reality (a glamorous person’s real ideas or opinions), it is a lot easier to project our ideas onto the person and see them the way that we want to see them – beautiful, perfect, flawless. If they were to become ‘real’ to us, instead of just glamorous, then we might see some flaws, we might find things to disagree with. We might break the ‘glamour’ spell and see reality.
It kind of makes me wonder what other things we are projecting on to other people all the time without realizing it? Are there other ‘spells’ that we are vulnerable to because of what we are expecting to see or expecting to happen?
That is mostly a rhetorical question – I know there are. How often have you been part of an argument that started because your expectations coloured how you heard the other person’s response? Or because their expectations caused them to hear you as opposing them when you actually felt quite neutral?
I don’t have a solution for any of this except to try and be conscious of it. To recognize that my impressions of things are just that – impressions – and they may have no grounding in reality at all. It’s worth taking a second look, or giving something a second thought, just to make sure that I haven’t been blinded by a glamour of some sort. I want to make sure that I am seeing something close to reality, that I am giving people a fair chance.
PS – I just want to reiterate that I have NO problem with people wanting to dress fancy, to spend time dolling themselves up. That’s not what this post is about. If it brings you joy or lets you have more fun then break out the hair gel and the lipstick and have at it.