I am not a terribly photogenic person. Or at least I hope I'm not, as in "Please don't tell me that I actually LOOK like that". There have only been a handful of decent pictures taken of me in my adult life. It has become a joke with my husband that it will take about 100 shots to get a decent one in the bunch. That being said, I stare down a camera lens as if it's the muzzle end of a shotgun. The more worried I get, the worse the picture. The worse the picture, the more worried I get, and so on until I resemble a bloodhound with an anxiety disorder.
A few years ago the real estate company I work with was having professional photos made of all the agents for our new website. I was struck with an intense dread until they gave me the news: there would be a professional makeup artist there to ensure that we looked our very best for the camera. How fun, I thought! A real makeup person who knows what they are doing putting real makeup on me. I felt like I was getting to play Princess for a Day. I was giddy with excitement. Maybe someone would be able to make me into a silk purse after all!
Now my experience with makeup has been relatively limited for a 21st century professional woman with no ties to the Amish. I don't wear anything that cannot be purchased in a grocery store or the like. A splat of blush, a swipe of lip color and, if I'm ambitious, a scribble of navy blue eye pencil is about as good as it gets. The entire production takes about 7 seconds. And I'm not the type to get "done up" in any sense of the word. I've never had a manicure or a pedicure. I haven't painted my fingernails since high school. And I used hairspray once and only once in my life, with dreadful, stiff, hay-like results.
So you can imagine the thrill that set in when I heard a professional was going to get a hold of me. Holy cupcakes! She might make me look like somebody! Yee-hah!
She plopped me down in the chair and started to work. She wasn't very friendly. A perplexed and serious look swept across her face. Then she began to mumble and click her tongue and shake her head, ever so slightly. She had clearly been given a sub-par canvas with which to work her masterpiece and was losing confidence in her ability to perform. She muttered something to the effect that she had to make me not look quite so harsh. Harsh? Me? I'm not harsh. I'm squishy. A total wimp. A pushover. I look harsh? Goodness! Had I known I would have used it to my advantage during all those years of herding small children around my house. Anyway, she tisked and clucked and rubbed and daubed and, with a resigned sigh, finished off my face. She rubbed something almost white on my lips, making me resemble what I guess I really am, a child of the 60s. Then she set to work on my hair.
All my life I've had straight-as-a-board hair. I began attempting to bend it, quite literally, to my will in sixth grade with my first set of heat rollers. By high school I moved higher up the hair modifying scale with the perm. I spent a couple of decades attempting to modify the hair God gave me until I grew weary and just let it be. You can imagine my delight when my hair began to wave, not as in greet with a gesture, but as in curve, on it's own, especially in humid weather. It was doing its curvy thing that day. I was overjoyed. And then Lady Cluck and Frown took hold of it. She brushed and combed and pulled and sprayed until my hair was clinging to my head like Saran Wrap.
With an obvious air of defeat about her, she announced she was done and whisked her plastic cape from around my neck. All in all her labors had taken about 15 minutes. She never spoke a word. No "Well, this looks nice." No "I hope the pictures turn out well." No "I enjoyed working with you" even. She just turned away to her next client and squealed in delight at my fellow agent. "Well, look at you! You are so pretty I'm not going to have to do a THING to you!"
So, my life as a cover girl began and ended that morning and I will go on being the plain girl that I am. The photos themselves turned out relatively decent. I even got a few positive comments and one not so positive one: "You looked so good I couldn't even tell it was you." Hmmm. Thanks for the compliment. I think I'll avoid the camera from now on.