My husband loves having his photo taken. If there is a camera within fifty feet he is smiling in its direction. I find this patently annoying particularly when he is sitting next to me. I am not a fan of having my photo taken. Nine times out of ten I look like a goober. Lord knows I do not need this look memorialized on film.
It’s not that I don’t try to look good in photos – I have literally hundreds of past photos that are instructive on what not to do and each photo that I am knowingly participating in I try and do all the right things. Don’t cock your head, don’t smile too big, check the hair, wipe the lipstick off the teeth, keep both eyes open, remove the food from your face, get the spinach out of your teeth, choose the right profile, no panoramic views…oh you get the picture (so to speak). Yet despite my best efforts, I almost always find myself memorialized in a way that I think is completely unflattering.
I think part of the problem is that the me I see in the mirror is not necessarily in-tune with reality. Damn those photos, I think they can only capture what is, not what one sees in their mind’s eye. There are days when I think, "Oh yeah, looking good…" only to see a photo later and screech. And mind you in this type of situation nothing has changed from the time I left the mirror to the taking of the photo. I have concluded over time that I do not really look as good as I think I do, and I know this based on the immense amount of photographic evidence.
The other day WDAY did a little story on the planning grant we just got at NDSU. Now granted, I knew this wasn’t my best day for looking good, but I didn’t think it was my worst. I was HORRIFIED when I saw the newscast later. I barely recognized myself. I looked F-UGLY (this means "flippin’ ugly" and I am told by students that the term dates me, but frankly no other term will do here). The only saving grace was that the clip was quite short. In that few moments of video my future in the plastic surgeon’s office flashed before my eyes and it was a costly one.
I do have a recent ray of sunshine to share on the photographic front. Recently I went to renew my driver’s license (thank goodness the old one was finally going to expire on my birthday – that was a gift in-and-of-itself). I was excited to have another opportunity to redeem my unphotogenic self and to get one of those fancy newfangled licenses. I must say the experience was quite delightful. First of all, the gentleman that assisted me was very nice and had a quick sense of humor. That is lovely to encounter first thing in the morning – it sets a nice tone for the day.
Second, he told me I could lie about my weight (because everyone does). Of course he told me this after I had already written my weight (hmmm…perhaps that was what prompted his comment). The amazing thing was my license does not even have my weight on it (and there are no other vague references regarding my weight such as "just right", "hippy", "pleasingly plump", "wide-load", "oh my God, it’s coming our way", etc.). I don’t think the gentleman did this simply as a favor to me. This must be a new policy and I am completely willing to kiss the feet of the person or persons who lobbied and successfully achieved this change.
Finally, the photo actually looks like me and I do not hate it. That is so profound that I need to say it again in quotes – "I do not hate my driver’s license photo!" Now, I do not think I look like a super model. I do not think I look ten years younger. I do not think folks who look at it will be dazzled by my beauty and left speechless. But, for someone who is the photographic equivalent of the sinking Titanic – this is progress.
A small delight to carry me through the early years of the new forty…perhaps things are looking up (but not looking too far up in a photo lest you want to appear to have a turkey neck – be ever vigilant).
Day eleven of the new forty – obla di obla da