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Telling a Book by Its Cover and a Person by Their Clothes
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Saturday, November 4, 2023


If clothes make the man or the woman, do covers tell us anything about a book’s content?

Photo by Veroniki Thetis Chelioti on Unsplash

The old saying, “You can’t tell a book by its cover,” has many meanings that are not limited to books, but you knew that, didn’t you?

We’ve all been mildly or greatly deceived by “covers” on books, clothing on people, or appearances by “experts” on TV, and it’s a well-known fact that looks can be deceiving, and many count on it. Why else would there be a profession where clothing consultants are engaged to provide the “appropriate” outfits for TV anchors?

Appearance is everything, and even people sent to Congress dress the part that is required, with one exception, Senator Fetterman of Pennsylvania. He sticks to what he wants to wear—a sweatshirt hoodie.

Subterfuge has become part of our DNA as we squeeze into what is the acceptable norm or create a new persona that will increase our acceptance, upward mobility, or ersatz self-esteem through other people’s eyes. It is how we sell ourselves in a world where selling seems to be the end game. No one admits they might be wrapped in the reverse of the imposter syndrome.

They are confident they can deceive, just as the book covers promise incredible adventures with extraordinary characters. Is Fabio going bald? If he does, there goes the imagery of masculinity the books want to present. Remember, tremendous pecks, male long hair, and ripped bodices are the things that sell romance novels.

If you can’t handle the 21st century, go back to the 18th or 19th century and try it out. Didn’t Dame Barbara Cartland land the Queen of Romance using these tropes? Yes, 723 novels, mostly dictated to her secretary as she lounged on a sofa.

In politics, there is an emphasis on relating to the common man or woman, aka voters in their district. So, toss the suit and tie and pull on a pair of jeans, cowboy boots, and a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Of course, the sleeves must be rolled up to show they’re ready for work. Have any of them actually worked to the point of sweating with a shovel? The hidden messages are everywhere. Look at the car or truck that brings them to events and the assistants that encircle them.

Only Nelson Rockefeller, to my mind, made the regrettable mistake of trying to eat a slice of pizza with a knife and fork while in a New York City pizzeria. These days, I suppose that wouldn’t happen, but they would keep certain facts about their finances hidden.

Cardboard characters are everywhere; some write about them, some are them. It’s our mission to peel the superficial from the substantial and make decisions based on actions, not appearances. Appearances at diners, pizzerias, 4H contests, or Cracker Barrel stores are meaningless. How often do people give us “tells” that we fail to see? Watch for them. This isn’t being paranoid, but smart in a world of too much deception and too little true caring.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

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Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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