Here’s how it works. You’re a certain age and sex, you take pictures of yourself and your BFF making duck lips and post them to the social media. You’re twenty years younger than your first lip wrinkle, and you can prove it. It doesn’t look good, but you do it anyway. Because that’s what’s done.
Bodies haven’t changed much. You’d think the way we pose would be similar through the years, but it’s not. It comes and goes like fashion. When I was coming up, girls stood with one hip toward the camera, toe pointing forward. That’s how the advertising models did it; women were known to be afflicted with gigantic asses, and this angle narrowed things out a bit. That’s all out the window now.
Now we’re all about the ass. Everyone wants a big curvy ass and so the young women put on a clingy dress and stand sideways, manicured hands pressed delicately against a man’s chest; tits and ass are displayed to great effect in profile at the same time. For extra credit a girl can raise one foot back behind her. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to convey, except an increased possibility she will tip over if she is not pressed against a sturdy male, but it’s considered a fetching move, and all the cuter girls have it in their repertoire.
This has been going on a long time. It matters to us how we look in photographs. It makes us self-conscious in ways we were never meant to be. When photos first started becoming common, the long exposure time meant the subjects were encouraged to be still for several seconds, so nobody smiled. It’s so typical of the era that even today we imagine our great-grandparents never had any fun. But you know? They probably did.
Well, if there was ever a time to strut your stuff, it’s when your stuff is still struttable. But if you’re a lucky woman, you do get past the point of thinking this hard about how you look to others all the time. I won’t say I never give it a thought. I don’t take a lot of selfies. My arm isn’t long enough, and the pictures come out with all my chins arrayed in a line along my arm like sliced hors-d’oeuvres on a tray. When this neck issue first became difficult to ignore, I thought about holding my chin up and elongating my neck whenever a camera came out. Then I began to worry about how I looked from the side when I was looking down. Then I realized this sort of thing could take up most of my day and gave up the fight.
There’s not a lot of percentage in that fight, ultimately. These days I can stand up straight with good posture but there’s no guarantee all my body parts are going to be signed up with the same program. Major factions of my skin are seceding from the union. My birthday suit has lost all its crispness and snap. It’s going to be birthday lounging-pajamas from now on.
So I can stand before a camera and ask all my parts to tighten up, stern as any choir director with a baton, but I can still hear the tenors in the back poking each other and giggling. It’s over.
|The last selfie?|
Some of it’s downright shocking the first time you notice it. My legs have always been strong, but the skin on the inside of my thighs is just sort of loitering around now. I don’t know what it’s doing. It might be chatting up the butt cheeks for all I know; God stuck those where I don’t have to watch. And last week I discovered the skin on my upper back has struck out on its own too. It’s just hanging close enough to get free wireless from the hypothalamus.
The elbow skin has been on its own a long time. It’s fun to play with. You can mold it like Play-Doh. I still harbor the hope that if I’m patient enough, I’ll be able to work the skin from behind my left elbow all the way over to my right elbow. What a reunion that would be! “I always knew,” my right elbow would say. “I always knew I wasn’t the only one.”
Then they’ll make duck lips into the camera. BFFs.
I've always tried to look my best in driver's license photos: being well-groomed, doing a 3/4 turn of the head, showing my "best side", chin slightly down, with a hint of a smile. This served me well for years, and people always told me how great my driver's license photos looked.
Then came face recognition technology. The last time I had my license renewed, the computer didn't recognize my 3/4 turn as a face. I had to prove I was who I said I was to a higher-up before the counter person would sign off on renewing my license. Finally, I was ready for my close up.
"Look straight on into the camera", I was told. Okay, I could handle that.
"Don't smile", he snapped at me. Say what now? This was bad. I didn't like it at all, and may have even scowled a bit. Of course, that is precisely when he snapped the picture.
The resulting photo looks like something you'd see hanging on a police station bulletin board with a big "wanted" across the bottom. If ever I get into any sort of trouble at all, I know that is the photo they are going to use in the newspaper. Public opinion will go against me. "Look at her!" they will say. "Such a mean face. She's capable of anything. I say give her the chair."
This picture alone is enough to motivate me to keep my nose clean.
You must be in a liberal zone to have allowed 3/4 turns ever. There's another thing to add to this. Not only must you stare straight ahead and not smile, but now they make you take your glasses off. I don't know why. They're never going to catch me doing anything with my glasses off. Not doing anything well, anyway. So now my driver's license has the pissholes-in-the-snow feature too.
Hmmm… that explains something he said to me that both perplexed and piqued me: "I'm surprised that they let you get away with this." Get away with??? As if I were caught cheating on my taxes or putting my trash in a neighbor's bin. I had been doing this for decades and no one said anything. He must have been from out of state.
I renewed my license last time in December on my birthday. I had arose that morning feeling great and my hairs were looking pretty good and my face wasn't swollen and my eyes looked normal and I thought I looked pretty good. The guy took my photo and then it came up on his screen and he visibly flinched and then said he needed to take another. When he was finished he said that is good… and I got my license and walked out the door. I'll be damned if it didn't look like my face was melting down into my neck. And this is the one that didn't make him flinch. I do have the winning "I bet my license photo is worse than yours" in any contest I have entered so far. Such is life…
The glasses thing is supposedly because reflections can "mess up facial recognition". By that standard, everyone should have to not wear glasses all the time – contacts only. But whatever…
Or they could set it up so there aren't reflections. Hmm. At least there's a reason. The only good thing I can say about how I look without glasses is at least I can't see myself.
Oh no, Anne Moon-Glenn. Linda-my-sister had the all-time worst photo ever taken by the licensing people! There were huge fuzzy Bigfoot outlines on the floor to indicate where she needed to stand, and they caught her in mid-sarcastic remark, frozen into photographic history forever. And they refused to re-take the picture, so she was stuck with it for two years. It was a classic! How she hated that picture!
I think we're stuck with ours for TEN years.
Skin is only one issue. Hair is another. Not much above my ears, but from there down stuff sprouts like never before in places never before. I've even wondered if my nose hairs would grow fast enough to take the place of my mustache. I'm afraid to find out. Hair has also worn off in places it used to be abundant. Looks like the forest died off and turned into a desert.
Um, yes. Hey–could you try growing out the nose AND ear hairs and weaving them together to get an Ambrose Burnside?
I try and look up to create a single chin and suck my stomach in. It is not a good look.
I like your history of camera poses, can you explain the young ladies who always have to stick out their tongue?
No I cannot. Gotta be in the same canon as the duck lips. Whatever happened to simple bunny ears?
Hahahahahahaha! Oh, my how I enjoyed this. I could see my body parts as you described yours. Oh for the days when I could strut and had something worth strutting. Now I just imagine that I have still have something to strut. Easier than realizing I don't. Enjoyed it.
Don't work up a good strut and then stop suddenly, because parts will keep on strutting.
Oh honey, you just wait. Wait until the middle of your head is pink and visible, wait until the side of your forearms is like soft beige crepe paper, wait until the skin under your eyebrows begins hangin over your eyes. You have so much more to look forward to
I've got the forearms crepe thing going already. I'm hoping I can skip the hanging skin over the eyes because I don't have any eyebrows to weigh it down.
You're so funny! Not too many people can make me laugh this early in my morning. (it's 5.30am here)
I started ignoring my looks long ago, but now that my belly is behaving more like a heavy apron, I wish I hadn't. Still, it will be winter again eventually, then I can cover up with lots of layers again.
I love wearing lots of layers but I tend to run hot. You wouldn't believe how cold it can get in this house in the winter. Similarly, I want to sleep under five hundred pounds of blankies in a cold room rather than under one thin electric blanket. I wonder if I was insufficiently swaddled as a baby?
I run hot too, which is very inconvenient in our summers, but handy in the winters as I don't need to turn the heater up so much.
Snicker. And sigh of recognition.
Snickers are good for filling in wrinkles. The candy kind.
"Then I realized this sort of thing could take up most of my day and gave up the fight."
Oh yes, I hear you. But it's awfully liberating, isn't it?
And as for picture-taking, I just wish I had more pictures of me from when I was younger and finer, and I'm sure I'll wish the same thing in another ten (or twenty) years. We'll never be better looking than we are right now, and probably worse.
I do have quite a few photos of myself younger and nakeder, and that is one reason I haven't run for office. The nieces and nephews are going to have a fine time rummaging through my photo albums when I'm gone.
Also, care to share who the two little girls are? Relatives?
OH, YOU'RE GOING TO LIKE THIS. Those two little girls are my dad (on the left) and my Uncle Bill, who was my Aunt Gertrude at the time this photo was taken (around 1911, I assume). But THAT'S ANOTHER STORY.
O….M….G….. I forgot that little boys often had longer hair back then, but that wouldn't have helped me any with your uncle/aunt! I have to tell you, though, I just closed the mall Christmas shopping and my feet hurt like crazy, and you made me hoot with laughter at my mistake – thank you 🙂
Mug shots. Taken against a lurid,Mexican Sunrise paint chart. For my passport I actually spent ages applying a little judicious make up and getting my hair just-so.And there was a tropical downpour.I look like a damp rag.Oh, and our passport photos are no longer coloured.
Around here, lately, if my ID photo didn't look like a damp rag, I'd get accused of identity theft.
Poor minimized tushes of yesteryear. If only our struttable portions had been able to time-travel to an era of maximum glory. Loved the hypothalamus wi-fi line, and the newly-reunited elbows. "I glimpsed you once during the funky chicken, but thought it a dream."
It is up to us to redefine glory!
Loved this line!!: "My birthday suit has lost all its crispness and snap. It's going to be birthday lounging-pajamas from now on."
It's downright sprawly.
Laughing and nodding like a damn fool.
Yeah…that's another symptom.
Facial plastic surgeons report that more patients are seeking surgery because of social media. This is not a joke. http://cle.clinic/1cT6Uls
Man. I'm not surprised. I wonder what people were like before there were cameras, painters, and mirrors? Did ugly people even know they were ugly? I used to like to ask the party question about what you'd have done if someone gave you a gift certificate for plastic surgery. But I don't remember what my own answer was. Too many possibilities began to present themselves, and then I was forced to quit worrying about it.
When I see photos of me I will look and think WHERE DID THAT STUFF UNDER MY CHIN COME FROM? WHAT IS THAT WAGGLY STUFF BETWEEN MY ELBOW AND SHOULDER?
What I see in the mirror is NOT how I imagine myself. I think I will get rid of the mirrors!!
Good plan. AND SHOUTING MAKES EVERYTHING WAGGLE MORE.
Sitting here like a bobble head: nodding, nodding, nodding. The older I get, the paler I get so my driver's licence looks like the zombie apocalypse has struck. No eyebrows here either, Murr. I'm ready for my eyelid tuck, Mr. deMille.
I know I looked at my last driver's license photo just the once and slammed it into my wallet. Now I'm almost tempted to look again out of curiosity. But not quite.
OMG on the two little girls! I have a Dutchboy girl in a gown who turns out to be my dad in 1912 too! Now hold on just a dang minute. You are merely a victim of wide-angleism in that shot,nothing more. You do not have a thick neck. You are adorable and don't you forget it Murrebaby. Piffle. Let *me* photograph you. I'm a couple of inches taller. It'll go fine. Plus, I have ladders. And those of us with short arms NEVER take selfies. It isn't because we're too deep and noble to do it. It's because we look like galoots in selfies. There's self-deprecating and then there's false advertising and You are Beautiful. Duh!
Maybe that's why Dave tells me the same thing. He only ever sees the top of my head or my fetchingly upturned face. I remember an episode of The Golden Girls when Blanche was getting ready for a promising date or something, and Dorothy warned her not to "get on top." And suggested she kneel and look down into a mirror. And that was that for getting on top. Well, I had to try it too, even though I was, like, forty, and…that was that…
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