I’m sure everyone is familiar with the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. It’s a very well known phrase, but one I feel people overlook tremendously. People tend to judge what they see on the outside, bypassing the most important part, the inside. I was placed in a certain situation yesterday and it got me thinking. Thinking about why people only see what’s in front of them, instead of taking a moment to think that inside the person something great exists.
All this thought process arose from a simple haircut I was getting in my barber. I didn’t go in thinking that this phrase would be so engulfed in my mind, but it certainly was when I was leaving.
Everything was as normal. The barber shop is in a relatively rough area, just up from where I work. The barbers themselves did not come from the best background I can imagine, especially from the stories they would tell me while cutting my hair, but they are really nice. They’re making a living and providing a great service so they deserve credit in that regard. Very much able to cut hair as well, which is the main reason I’m an avid customer.
The queue was long as per usual, with about 3-4 customers waiting ahead of me. The barbers aren’t afraid to spark up a conversation, whether it be with the person they are cutting or the customers waiting. Far from shy! They’ll talk about everything and anything that’s happening in or around their lives. Sometimes it can get a bit intense but they mean well and it can be comical at times. As I’ve said, they don’t come from the best area of town so they have a lot of interesting stories to say the least. Needless to say, a conversation started with the guy was who getting his haircut. This is where things got interesting. I was in and out of listening to the conversation but it started to get my attention after a while.
They were talking specifically about tattoos and a watch the man was wearing. The man himself was covered in tattoos from head to toe. A big, rough looking man. The type of guy you wouldn’t want to cross paths with, for fear of looking at him the wrong way and feeling his wrath! I won’t lie, I already judged him at this point. I looked at the outside exterior and made a presumption. A presumption that this man was not up to much in his life. Just your usual run of the mill rough lad, who worked a less than average job or possibly didn’t have a job at all, and enjoyed drinking copious amounts of alcohol in his local pub on the weekend. It wasn’t until he finished his haircut and left that I released my presumption was extremely wrong.
It was now my turn to sit up on the chair and get my perfectly trimmed zero fade and tidy up on top. Yes I’m one of those guys, and no I’m not sorry! The barber started to explain the story about the tattooed man gone by, and my jaw dropped. He explained how this man was one of the most famous tattoo artists in Ireland, if not the most famous. That explains the tattoos, obviously. Not only was he an extremely talented tattoo artist, but a very wealthy man. Daniel Agger, the former Liverpool FC defender, had visited limerick before and got a tattoo from this man. Not only that but Daniel Agger had invited him to his house months later, presumably because of the great work he did, to tattoo him again. This is where the watch comes into play. As a gift, for the fantastic artistry he provided, Agger had given this man a £25,000 Rolex watch. Not that famous soccer players are stuck for many anyway, but it’s a crazy story all the same! This explains also why the watch was such a main topic in this conversation. They also explain that he had set up a tattoo shop with the owner of Miami Ink (Ami James) in a county in Ireland called Cork. This is quite a big deal, to co-own a shop with one of the most recognisable tattoo companies in the world.
This is where the story takes a complete U-turn! The barber explain that all these material possessions were nothing to him. He wasn’t for fancy living or showing off everything he had worked for in the past and future. That he would trade everything in the world to get his daughter back. Every watch, car, shop and money he earned over the years just to see her again. She was diagnosed with a disease -that I can’t remember the name of- at the tender age of three, and sadly passed away. I was left speechless.
I had judged this man for the complete opposite of what he really was. It sickened me and the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ raced imminently into my mind. I went home that day feeling upset and disgusted with myself in a way. I had no right to presume this man was what I thought. I didn’t know him, had never met or talked to him before, but instantly judged him the minute I saw him. If you ever read this, I want you to know I’m sorry!
The thing that makes all this worse is that I’m not the only person to do this. I can be sure that the majority of people can look at a person and judge them straight away. It’s not fair. Why should each and every person be stereotyped for the way they appear. Oh, that blonde girl is obviously stupid. The nerd over there has definitely never kissed a girl. Those bikers are cold hearted, angry men. Why do we have to do this? Can we not look at these stereotypical people and think maybe they’re not what we presume. That blonde girl could be a medicine doctorate, the nerd could have a loving girlfriend and the bikers could be nice, warm-hearted and loving family men.
Sometimes you have to take a second glance and look a bit deeper. I’ve undoubtedly learned my lesson, and will never judge someone on appearance again. All is not what it seems. People need to be less one dimensional and approach life in a more genuine and meaningful way. I’m against judging a book by its cover, are you?
Have you ever had an experience of judging someone for what they are not? Let me know in the comments below!
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