Friday, February 8, 2013

Pretty as a Picture

It’s no big secret that our online persona is so much prettier than our real-life one.  We snap pictures of ourselves, look at the ones that others take of us, find the ones that are the best representations of who we want millions of internet users all over the world to see, edit out the rough parts, and use them.  Over and over again.

 I’m no exception.  My first Facebook profile picture was a version of me all dolled up on Thanksgiving Day, a snapshot of me looking sweet and fresh and impossibly young:

It was the perfect picture to present to all my long-lost high school buddies who I hadn’t talked to or seen in years.  Doesn’t she look great, they will say.  Wow.  She hasn’t aged at all. 

The truth was that it was originally a picture of my daughter and me, whom I ruthlessly cropped out so as not to take away from my gorgeousness.  And it was a total fluke, since most pictures of me are not even half that flattering.

But I used it, and I welcomed the compliments.  Who needs to know how I look on a daily basis? Let’s give the people what they want.  They don’t need to know that I am often unwashed, dress in sweats and sneakers, sometimes have acne, and sport a ponytail every single day.

But really, what’s the harm?  Does our outward appearance really make a difference in how others view us or how much they want to be friends with us?  Sadly, many psychological studies say yes.  But that doesn’t stop me from showing you pictures of myself that would make the internet cut, and their, um, counterparts that wouldn't.  Until now.

Photo Pair #1 Pictures of me in France.  A couple of years ago my family and I spent a couple of weeks in Paris.  One of these pictures made it into my internet picture hall of fame, as it became the profile picture you see here on my blog, on Twitter, and elsewhere as it became recognizable to at least a dozen people as me, About 100%.  The other picture taken of me in France did not make it, mostly because I look lost and/or drugged, and clearly confused.

Photo Pair #2 Pictures of me in wine country.  My husband and I recently toured some wineries with friends in upstate New York.  We had a good time, as evidenced by photo #1.  This is the classiest I looked all weekend.  The rest of the time was spent fireside, at night.  It was cold, we were tipsy, and because I hate campfires and/or being outside, I mostly looked like picture #2.

Photo Pair #3: Pictures of me at New Years.  For New Years, I love to dress up.  I bought this short, sequined white party dress that was way too dressy for a house party.  I spent the evening feeling dazzling, until I started goofing around trying to photobomb everyone’s pictures.  I tried so hard to look beautiful that night.  Then I didn’t.

There are so many more.  Here’s one of me wearing not one, but two sock buns, a la Princess Leia: 
I was so giddy when taking that picture.  My kids were posing in the background like pirates, while I was taking ridiculous selfies.  Actually, that picture is probably the one most seen by internet strangers, since this is my most popular post from the blog.  That’s what I get for being vain.

How about this one where I was caught in my “take the damn picture already” face?  Not internet worthy, clearly:

And there’s this one: 

Quick!  Get this girl some makeup!  And some hair products!  And a teeth whitening!   

There are many more pictures that have been deleted for vanity reasons.  So many, in fact, that my husband had a hard time coming up with a good family picture for our Christmas card recently, because I had deleted all the ones of our family in which I looked like a hag.  We ended up taking a quick snap the night he ordered the pictures.  I didn’t have the time to edit it before he hit the order button. 

Sigh. Why am I not Beyonce is what I really want to know.



  1. OMG, I just laughed out loud, scared the cat, and fell right off my chair. Awesome.

    1. Please tell me you got that on film. ;)

      And Thanks!

  2. Love, love, love this! I'm cracking up too because I can so relate. My discrepancy is worse though. Although once in awhile I'll show the "real me" I am so much heavier than my wedding photos that I don't even recognize myself in the mirror. This is due to anti-depressants, mommy-hood and just all out could be-eating-more-salads.

    I keep thinking that I'll get it all under control and get all skinny and this little phase will be a little blip under the radar.

    Then again ... what will I ever do about all the wrinkles?

    1. Could-be-eating-more-salads is also a big problem of mine. Especially during Girl Scout Cookie season, which we are in the midst of right now.

      And yes, what to do about the wrinkles when the extra weight is gone and the skin starts to sag? Do we spend money on food, or mommy's skin treatments?

      I say pass the chocolate.

  3. Ha ha ha this was a really funny post. I totally agree..But I do like to look pretty to the million random people who look at my FB page. Not to forget the high school friends.

    1. Yes! I guess I don't have to tell you how hard it was for me to post these unflattering pictures. Somehow I think you'll understand. :)