So my sister says to me (she says): "We've got to wear boob shirts."
We were getting ready to go to the holiday party hosted by the pizza shop where we regularly schlep the pizzas to earn the big bucks. Wendy had missed last years party and I told her it had been a boob-a-palooza - the battle of the boobs - I could go on... she knew exactly what I meant, but in case you don't, the young girls who work there, they like them some low cut clothes. They like those scary low cut clothes that put one in constant danger of slippage. They liked those for work - it was astounding what they liked for a party. She could imagine. And she thought we should get in on it.
So I put on a boob shirt. I was a little uncomfortable and was asking all of my family members - in a manner which was probably quite annoying - is this ok? Are you sure this is ok? This is too much, isn't it? I'm gonna change. No? I'm at least gonna put a camisole under it. No? Ya think? Really? Eventually I added a long thick lariat necklace and that made me feel a little less - vulnerable. (anyone who read that last phrase as Tim Curry's Frankfurter gets bonus points, because that is certainly the tone in which it was written) It's COLD outside so I added a long scarf/shawl to the ensemble and thank goodness I did! When I picked my sister up, she looked lovely. She did not, however, look boobalicious. She was the one who, hours earlier, had asked if my daughter had any body glitter... I felt betrayed. Now I was going to stand out, and not in a flattering way.
Lucky for me it was cold in the restaurant, so I kept the scarf/shawl on and managed a little coverage. Still one or two folks commented. "Whoa! You're showing boob!" I might have felt better if they'd said it with a tone that was more admiration than observation, but such was not the case.
All of this was really just a set-up, though, to talk about pictures. (I know - Wuh!?! Stick with me, all shall be revealed. Wait - following a story about boobage, perhaps that was misleading. Let's just say - read on, it will all hopefully come together...)
Although I felt vulnerable and a little out of my league, I also felt like the outfit was flattering. I walked out the door feeling like I looked good. Pictures were taken and, as is almost ALWAYS the case when I see myself in pictures, I was appalled. Surely I don't look like that! Who is that yooge old woman wearing my clothing? And why are her features so crooked? Surely that can't be what I look like... then someone will say: Wow! That's a great picture of you! And I want to weep. That? Right there? That is a GOOD depiction of my appearance? Really? Because that's not even close to what I see in the mirror and it's even farther from what I see with my minds eye. Hate the pictures. But I know between pictures, mirrors and minds eye, they are the least likely to lie.
So for a long time I stayed out of them. Avoided them at all costs. Developed a sixth sense which was keenly aware of any camera in my immediate vicinity and an uncanny ability to step out of its scope. If I didn't see it, I wouldn't know. And maybe if I didn't know, it wouldn't be true. Don't even bother trying to point out the inherent flaws in that argument. One doesn't have to be rational when arguing with oneself.
Tom hates being in pictures, too, but his reasoning is different. Tom is really not very photogenic. If you've ever seen the episode of 'Friends' where Monica and Chandler go to have their engagement portraits taken - that's Tom. He's a very handsome dude, but when the cameras come out his smile freezes in a way that is not his smile and his eyes do that deer-in-the-headlights thing. It gives me - hopefully gives both of us - comfort when he hates a picture of himself and I can say with honesty - that's not a good picture, you are way better looking than that.
So we've both sort of resolved to allow more pictures of ourselves to be taken. His motivation, I assume, is to become more comfortable with the camera so that he becomes less conscious of it and will eventually look more natural in photos. My motivation is to be able to view myself more honestly. That is painful right now. Hopefully it will get easier with time.
So for now - no pictures of the boob shirt. Delete, delete, delete. But in a couple months? If I do indeed succeed in recognizing and coming to terms with my new old self? Who knows.