On Monday, I posted this on Facebook:
I do not – nor will I ever – look like Ashley Judd.
There are many other ways I am not like Ashley Judd:
- I do not have a make-up artist.
- Actually, I don't wear make-up at all.
- I do not have a hair-sylist.
- Actually, I don't style my hair at all.
- I don't even wash my hair that often.
- I don't have any kind of stylist.
- I am not married to a race-car driver.
- I have not considered running for congress.
- I could go on, but I won't.
People have said I remind them of her, like Tommy, the older gentleman who used to bag my groceries, but then he couldn't remember her name, so he'd say "Hey there, Sheila!" every time he saw me. I've also had people say I look like Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, and Helena Bonham Carter. Countless people have also told me I look like their friend, "so-and-so". I once had a boyfriend who said I reminded him of a humpback whale. (I forcefully told him that it didn't matter how he meant it, that sort of analogy was never appropriate. He wasn't my boyfriend for very much longer after that.) The point is, I think I just have one of those doppelgänger faces. For some reason it reminds people of people.
I do like a short hairstyle Ashley Judd used to have, so I brought a bunch of pictures of her with me to my hair cut appointment. I joked with the stylist that I wanted him to "make me look like Ashley Judd". After a little nervous laughter from him, I assured him that the pictures were just for reference to the style, length and layers of the type of hair cut I wanted. No miracles were expected. I even threw in a few pictures of myself in short hair to prove what I wanted was within the realm of possibility.
He then talked about the unrealistic expectations of some of his clients and how he has to remind them that these celebreties have hair-stylists that do their hair for them. [hint, hint] Coincidentally, Curtis had the same thought when I showed these pictures.
"You look great in short hair or long hair," my very, very wise husband began, "but don't get a hair cut that you have to 'style' everyday."
This was a not so subtle reference to difference number four between Ashley and me. I assured both Curtis and the man about to cut my hair that I was going into this haircut with realistic expectations. I am not, nor will I ever be, Ashley Judd. And I am okay with that.
By now you might be wondering how my haircut turned out. It is easy to post a picture of a celebrity on your Facebook page with a pithy comment about how you want to look like her. It is an entirely different thing to post a picture of yourself in a haircut that you've already compared to said celebrity, especially when you consider the aforementioned differences one through six. Even if I hadn't inadvertently compared myself to a celebrity, posting a self-portrait is not an easy thing to do. Maybe if you are sixteen it is no big deal, but I am not sixteen.
I am not usually overly critical of the way I look. I am satisfied. But a part of the secret to my happiness with my appearance is not spending too much time looking at myself in the mirror or looking at pictures of myself. If I look at myself too long, any perceived flaw suddenly appears to be my most prominent feature.
Many were asking to see my new haircut and growing impatient. So I began to take self-portraits. I tried to find a flattering angle: looking up. looking down, looking off into the middle-distance, scowling, smirking, smiling, squinting, looking puzzled, and eventually looking annoyed.
I was becoming sick of myself, my face, and I even started hating my new hair-cut, which I had been perfectly happy with before my photo-session began.
This was my final self-portrait which just about sums up how I felt about the whole process:
Then came the editing. I tried different filters and different brightnesses. I even tried to erase the dark circles under my eyes.
Then I tried lightening my whole face to remove all wrinkles and blemishes.
Hey, why not blot out my face entirely? It was the hair everyone wanted to see anyway, right?
Are you sick of me, yet? Curtis certainly was. I was flipping through pictures of myself for him like an ophthalmologist flipping through lenses. "Which wife do you like better? This one or this one? How about this one? Is this one better? Or this one? I think he answered yes to all of the above. Did I mention he is very wise?
Enough of that. Here is my new haircut. And my old face. And some guy walking by behind me.