For the past few weeks, catharsis for me has meant flipping thru awkward poses of Beyoncé from the Superbowl halftime show. I wouldn’t give them a second thought if it weren’t for her angry publicist demanding the Gods of the Internet take them down, because Bey must not be be seen as…human. Which is what actually made them really funny. Maybe that dance face could single handedly end the conflict with Iran by staring down Ahmadinejad.
I mindlessly laughed along, until Friday night I had to take a Skype business call from home. My normal self was rendered into what looked like a pasty faced alien gamer thanks to the hazards of backlit crummy LED lighting, the distortion of the camera angles and the harsh blue light emitting from the computer. I kept glancing at the corner picture thinking, I looked more like a hostage victim than competent professional.
Which brings me to this. Whether you’re as exalted as Beyoncé, as ordinary as me or somewhere in between, there are just some things we all look bad doing. Lets just get them on the table, call it what it is and give ourselves one giant hall pass for these times when we look a little fugly.
Here are my top seven:
1. Putting on Spanx, panty hose or tights in a humid gym locker room. Just after you’ve moisturized. You know what I mean.
2. Your Dance Bitch face. Twenty years ago I watched with judgment as my otherwise reserved mother did The Pony by herself at my cousin’s wedding after two martinis. It wasn’t her dancing that horrified; it was that face. That uncomfortable contortion that’s one part ecstasy, one part hurts so good that tells the world “oh yeah, I got this, can’t touch this” as you’re smacking your fanny to the beat while everyone else…isn’t. Underscore this with a complete lack of self-awareness.
It’s Elaine’s big dance…
It’s Beyoncé’s half time show….
And it’s me two decades later (and probably always has been). A few cocktails, a little Duran Duran, a “safe environment” (where I’m in in the lower end of the demographic like at weddings, corporate off sites, bar mitzvahs, reunions) and my fossilized 22-year-old comes out to play.
And it’s OK. There’s nothing remotely appealing about any of this, but that will never stop me from letting my freak flag fly on the dance floor. I will just destroy anyone who tries to tag me in Facebook.
3. Using Skype or Face Time. Oh Apple, with your Face Time ads, you’re a temptress of a life I think I can have, but only if in bright natural light with a white seamless backdrop. The reality is, you’re likely Skyping or Face Timing with loved ones when you’re traveling, in a different time zone or at night in your dimly lit hotel room after you’ve removed all your make-up and your hair is in a top knot. You’ve been working all day. It’s late, you just want to crawl under the covers and watch Homeland but you Face Time of Skype home to alleviate the guilty pleasure of a bed of your own. Your under eye bags are showing, and it’s not pretty.
4. Getting caught looking down at your phone. You know, when you accidentally hit that swirly icon in the upper right hand corner and whoops, there you are, chins and all.
5. Getting tipsy. Sure, we all think we’re charming when we’re socially lubricated, but have you ever seen video or pictures of yourself after? Somehow, all the muscles that hold up your face relax along with your inhibitions.
6. Being photographed while eating. At one point in time, my grandfather was a brilliant photographer. Until one day he started taking pictures of us eating at big family gatherings – forks heading into gaping mouths, eyeballs rolling with pleasure, chewing, swallowing and gulping liquid. He went to the effort of developing the film himself, made a collage and then went to a copy center to create sets of placemats for all of us to cement our gastro-moments for meals to come. We weren’t sure if this was the first sign of dementia, or if he was making an bold artistic statement about the state of our family milieu Doesn’t matter, point taken. We all look bad eating so put the camera phone down.
7. Sitting on a vinyl lawn chair on a hot, humid summer day in your shorts. There’s no great equalizer of woman kind better than humidity, especially when its the glue between back thigh cellulite and vinyl. My favorite is the parting gift imprint the lawn chair leaves behind on your butt, and seemingly stays all weekend.
I’m sure there’s more than this, so bring it on!