Let’s say I was really hung up on my personal appearance (observant Slopers will have concluded long ago that I am not, but as with so many things here, this is a thought experiment requiring the suspension of disbelief). I was desperate for the world to think I was attractive. My frail ego and deeply-seated insecurities relied utterly on a positive feedback loop, or my entire psyche would crumble into a heap.
Mercifully, I am provided with an app that notifies me in real time of public approval of my appearance. After primping in front of the mirror for an hour, I draw in a deep breath, open the door, and courageously head out, quietly confident that the good people of Palo Alto will regard me, once again, as one fine-looking sumbitch.
Over time, however, that fades, and it does so quickly. My days and nights spent tending to Slope take their toll. Too many shots of bourbon start making their way to my waistline. I’m looking old, pudgy, and my choice of clothes is dated. Glancing at my appearance app, I can see my aesthetic rating is plunging. I am horrified.
In a fit of pique, I do something I never thought I would do, which is head to the Town & Country Village shopping center and walk into the bodysuit store. There I find the Kate Upton Coverall which, when donned, gives me the unmistakable appearance of Kate Upton, at least from the neck down (these bodysuits don’t come with a face, as it would never be convincing). I provide my credit card and, self-confidence restored, head outside again.
The effect is absolutely immediate. My aesthetic meter instantly rages to a “10” level, as the good people of Palo Alto (mostly men, obviously) drink in my gorgeous body. I am the belle of the ball. It worked.
Over the course of the day, however, my score starts to fade. More and more people happen to notice, once they finally stop looking at my chest, that there’s a goddamned Tim Knight face just above it. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, they think, what the hell? And, by day’s end, body suit notwithstanding, everyone agrees that as nice as Ms. Upton’s body is, its appeal is neutered with my head attached to it.
So I made a sacrifice, and a humiliating one, for absolutely no good net result. Ever so briefly, my cloying, pathetic need for praise was met, and at the cost of sacrificing my resolve and appearance of strength, I was rewarded only with a brief span of time in which people seemed to really like me again. But, in the end, it was all for naught.