You know? I am not a vain person. That is the point of the story, that I am reflective of some sort of neo-tomboy trend, a rising class of women who have tempered and quelled and repressed those instincts for so many years now that the prophecy has been fulfilled, and really, you know? I just don't care. When it comes to prettyness, I try to live off the grid, is how I like to say it, and even on those rare occasions when I am tilting my face to the left so as to minimize the chance that the magnitude of my nose will overwhelm my face into something you might imagine inspired the whole Surrealist movement, it is always a goal of mine, to eschew the pursuit of beauty because, you know, it is just so very ephemeral, in stark contrast to this blog post, ha ha ha ha ha. But anyway, that notion is, after all, why I did not protest when you dragged me up to the roof, where the wind would whip my already, let's face it, stringy and unruly and overgrown mop of hair around to the point of homelessness, or when you decided to crouch down close to the ground when you shot me, which everyone knows is the least flattering angle known to humankind.
Everyone knows this because it is an unavoidable fact. I did not seek out this knowledge, but I cannot quarantine myself from the culture; I live in New York. I have posed in pictures with other girls only to receive a notification that I have been "tagged" somewhere on Facebook, and the girl tagged with my name on the picture is invariably the fattest one, even though I know — at least I think I know — that I am not the fattest. But then: the inevitable reaction. "Oh, that is such a good picture of you!" Really? What was it? The attractive hairdo? The way the flash made my skin appear more washed-out than normal? Whatever that face is that I am making because I don't know what sort of face to make when someone is standing there taking pictures of me for what seems like an eternity? So that face really is more attractive than my ordinary expression? So the gulf between my perception of my own appearance and the perception of others as to my own appearance is really so wide? This is troubling on many levels, for one thing because few people ever even see me when my appearance scores are not inflated by the fact they are drunk and in a softly-lit bar, but for another thing because it means that I have been walking around this town, eschewing consumerism and vanity and avoiding mirrors in an endeavor to be an unsuperficial person, when in reality I am simply a person with a delusional perception of her own appearance; a woman whose denial has made her somehow conceited.
It is either that, or some people actually think, "Wow! That's such a great picture of you!" is a compliment.
Well, it isn't. Unless your target is so unsuperficial as to actually believe herself to be as unattractive as she actually is. Oh wait, do you really think I'm that un-superficial? That's nice. On second thought, I guess it's not such a bad photo after all.
Urbane Tomboys [New York Observer]