If there is one thing I can safely say about myself, one thing that nobody who knows me would ever contradict, one thing that ranks right up there with Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” ( in terms of boiling myself down to a statement so TOTALLY true that it hurts)… it’s that I’m NOT SHY. I talk to strangers at bus stops (even those who would clearly rather not be spoken to). Within five minutes of meeting some people I’ve washed them in places where the sun would outright refuse to shine (as a Care Assistant, not anything dodgy). I’ve done more than eighty gigs as a stand-up for goodness’ sake. I once posted a long explanation on the internet about why I would never have anal sex. I’m brazen, mouthy, loud, open-mindeed, annoying – anything but SHY.
However… I hate photographs of myself. I hate having them taken, I hate seeing them, I hate even knowing they exist. I bloody DETEST Facebook, for allowing every idiot that has pictures of me to share them with everyone else. Yes, I know I can “untag” the pictures but that would seem weird, right? It would give away how much I cared about it for a start.
It’s a miracle I got married twice, when you think about it – half the reason for even getting married seems to be the fat photo album you’re left with. I suppose that being the Bride kind of helps, if you’re being forced into photos – because at least you are in a theatrical costume. It’s not like the picture is of you, as much as it is of the role and the expensive dress. Not that I’d ever get married again. Oh hell no.
I don’t know why I’m as sensitive about photos of me as I am, but I think it stems from the fact that, in pictures, my face looks like a potato. It really does. At best I look like The Mona Lisa wearing glasses, at worst I look like a King Edward spud (also wearing glasses). There is something about my face that makes it palatable only when it is animated. When my face moves it is kind, expressive and lively but frozen in time (by the evil that is photography) it becomes a bloated grimace, staring out with the cold dead eyes of a child-killer. A child-killing potato, be be precise. Either that, or I look horribly uncomfortable and desperate to escape. Which I am.
If you are American you might be assuming that I have “British” teeth, meaning that I’m wary of smiling for pictures. That would explain my reticence, right? But in fact my teeth are as good as it gets (outside of America). In fact, I’d go so far as to say my teeth are better than American teeth, because at least mine have the interesting characteristics of living human dentition and not the glaring white plastic regimentality of a Disney perfect uber-smile. It isn’t because of my teeth.
It isn’t just me who thinks I look like crap in photos, nearly everyone does. “Oh, that’s a nice picture of you” they say “you look really colourful in that dress”. Or they look at pictures of me as a child (potato) and say “Haha! Weren’t you a funny little thing!”. My boyfriend is the only person who has ever called me “pretty” in a photograph (and that includes the two ex husbands and my PARENTS).
I don’t know where I’m going with this, except I know I’m not the only person who hates having their picture taken and I wanted you (if you hate it too) to see that you’re not alone. “Love the camera and the camera loves you!” advises my photogenic boyfriend. No, I won’t, I HATE the camera, because it has always hated me. I’m not shy but if you see a photo of me on here, be sure I didn’t post it lightly.