There was a plastic surgeon on TV the other night who was saying that if women would like to know what they should look like after a successful facelift (no "cat" eyes or lips pulled into a tight, Joker-like smile), all they need is a hand-held mirror.
He said to sit on a chair, tilt your head all the way back and then look up into the hand-held mirror. That's how a facelift should look - subtle and natural. Then he said to put the mirror on your lap, lean forward and look directly down into it to see how you might look in 10 years if you don't get a facelift,
When I was younger, like in my teens and 20s, I loved having my photo taken. In fact, you might say I was a real ham. But as I aged, the camera gradually became my enemy. This is why, back when I was writing a humor column for several newspapers, people began to ask when I was going to change my photo.
Personally, I didn't think that using the same photo for 15 years was that long. In fact, I'd have been perfectly content to use it for another 15.
“You’re the one who writes the column in the newspaper?” people began to ask when they'd meet me in person, not even attempting to conceal their obvious looks of surprise.
And the comments I heard ranged from, “So, what's that photo in your column? Your high-school graduation?” to, “Are you trying to be like Dear Abby? She used the same photo for about a hundred years!”
The main problem was, it wasn't easy for me to get a decent photo of myself. In every group shot, I always was the one with her eyes closed, mouth hanging open, nose crinkled as if smelling something that died, or looking somewhere other than at the camera. If the shot was a close-up, there usually was a zit the size of the planet Jupiter somewhere on my face, or my hair looked as if it just had been struck by lightning.
Whenever I needed a new headshot of myself for my column, it usually involved asking my husband (rest his soul) to take it. And believe me, a photo session with him was a true test of patience...something I've always lacked.
For one thing, most people hold the camera up to their right eye when they snap a photo. My husband always used his left. The end result was a stack of off-center photos with one side of my body completely missing. It looked as if I'd cut off a previous "significant other" so he wouldn't be in the photo.
But after I purchased a digital camera with a view-screen on it, I felt certain my problems finally were over. I mean, whatever could be seen on the screen was exactly what was going to be in the photo. Simple...even for someone like my husband.
So brave soul that I was, a few years ago I asked him to snap a new photo of me for my column. Seeing I had a new, state-of-the-art camera, I figured it would take only a few minutes.
Once again, I'd figured wrong.
Normally, when someone is holding a camera, his finger poised on the button, and he asks, “Ready?” it means he’s going to snap the shot.
Not my husband. To him, “Ready?” meant at least another 30 seconds of trying to aim the camera "just right." In the process, he'd inevitably move his hand and then wouldn't be able to find the button again. This usually resulted in my getting frustrated and shouting, “Well, what the heck is taking you so long?” just as he finally snapped the photo.
That explains why I’ve amassed a collection of photos with my mouth wide open and my expression looking as if I’m preparing to go wrestle a grizzly bear.
Even though I specifically told my husband I needed a nice, close-up headshot for my column, the first photo he snapped, which he deemed as “perfect,” had my entire body in it, along with the chair I was sitting on.
“You call that a headshot?” I asked him. “You can even see what color shoes I'm wearing!"
“Well, your head’s in it, isn’t it?” he answered. “Just cut out the rest!”
He also had a problem with the camera’s view-screen.
“ I can’t see anything on it!” he complained. “Why can’t I see you?”
“Because you’re aiming the camera at the blank wall above my head,” I said, rolling my eyes...just as he lowered the camera and snapped the photo.
The shot made me look as if I had white eyeballs and was on the verge of having a seizure.
When I complained, he said, “Well, you write a humor column, don’t you? Maybe you should purposely try for a funny photo – like making a face, or wearing a clown nose or something! Then people would know right away that the column is supposed to be humorous.”
The thought of being immortalized while sticking out my tongue or wearing a clown nose didn’t really didn’t appeal to me, even though by then, I was getting desperate enough to seriously consider it.
“Just take a photo, will you?” I practically growled at him. “At this point, I don’t care if I look like a 110-year-old hag in it! I’m going to use it!”
Twenty photos later, I finally surrendered. There was no way, I concluded, I was going to get a shot that didn’t show my chipmunk cheeks, crooked bangs, double chin or crow’s feet...not unless I put a paper bag over my head.
So I finally decided to use the photo you now see at the top of this column.
And mark my words, it’s going to stay there for at least another 20 years.
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