How approachable are you?

How often do people ask you for directions?

Some of my friends report it happens frequently. Others never get asked. Presumably it has a lot to do with snap judgments: how approachable do you look? Do you seem like someone who knows where they’re going? Do you look like someone willing to talk to a stranger? And so on.

The number of people asking me for help lately has increased sharply. Something has changed. Here’s the two major changes I’ve made in the last year.

1) I cut off 30 inches off hair. I went from a sort-of Berkeley college student look to… whatever I am now. Arguably more professional looking, though I still wear simple cotton t-shirts/pants and sweatshirts almost everywhere.
2) I wear pink. I never used to do this, even though I like pink, because I didn’t want to look too “girly.” Now that my haircut makes me look like a boy from the back, I’m a lot happier about wearing the color–usually in medium and softer shades.

I think (though I’m not sure) that it’s the second one. Intuitively, it feels like when I wear pink, more strangers start talking to me. I could see the logic that “someone wearing pink will be more friendly than someone wearing black.” (Maybe I need a pink spiky collar.)

Also, at the age when I was thinnest, I had more people asking me for directions. Presumably that was about our societal obsession with thin = attractive. (It could be about looking young, but I don’t think so because the questions stopped when I gained some weight.)

I’m sure there’s a race analysis for all this, but I don’t feel qualified to describe it. Go ahead, if you want.

So what’s your experience? Do lots of people ask you for directions on the street? Or never? How about your spouse, or a best friend you spend lots of time with? Who gets asked?

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