Face It

Apparently some of you were confused about yesterday’s Blind Item entry. stee and I went to see Eddie Izzard, and we saw some celebrities, and we turned it into a little guessing game for you, because that’s more fun than just telling you a list of six names.

Does that clear things up? I received one email that asked simply, “Are you high?”

I’m wondering if some of you aren’t reading the blog. It’s okay if you’re not, but I sometimes shorthand over here or over there because they go together… oh, I just bored myself and I’m not going to talk about it anymore.

And one last sidenote before I discuss what I was actually going to discuss today. Some of you have written to ask if I was as disappointed in the Eddie Izzard show as you were. That Dress to Kill was a stronger show and you were hoping for more of that.

During intermission, just after my group of friends were discussing how I laughed so hard at the end of the first act that I gave myself a headache and stee almost vomited, we heard a group of Comic Book Guys next to us going, “I don’t know. I guess it’s funny. Just a little disappointed.”

Look. An 90-minute DVD is going to be funnier than a live show. You’ve got editing, camera angles, good lighting, the best seat in the house and only the best parts of a two hour show. It’s not even necessarily told in order so that the finished product stands alone as a solid movie. This is obvious in Leguizamo’s Freak, as it is in Dress to Kill and The Notorious CHO. Of course the tape you have at home that you’ve memorized is going to be more impressive than the live show. You’ve got it memorized. You’re not watching a flawless tape. You’re experiencing two different things. I know Bill Cosby’s Himself from the first syllable to the last, but when I saw him perform at the Erwin Center in Austin, I watched a man command an enormous room for two hours. That’s impressive. That’s entertaining. And sure some of the jokes don’t work. But that’s because both Cosby and Izzard are performing live, so they change the routine to match the audience. And some nights things don’t work out so well. The night in particular I saw a joke about Martian children didn’t work because it was set-up during a laugh and then was confusing. But apparently it hits other nights, as there were more than four callbacks to it for the rest of the night. It’s live. Have fun. Enjoy seeing someone in the flesh do what they do best. But no, it’s not going to be as good as Dress to Kill. Because that’s a beautiful piece of comedy that would be hard to surpass. But when you see the DVD of Sexie in a few years, I bet you’ll be impressed. Because you were there. (Note to self: still haven’t bought Circle. Has been out for one day already. What is wrong with you?)

Now, my point of today’s entry. Hi. Welcome to my point.

I suppose it ties in just a bit with the people disappointed in Eddie’s latest show. You go about your day, working hard from morning to night, accomplishing things on your to-do list, getting promotions or new clients or win cases or settle arguments or make tacos or bus tables or send out overdue notices or deliver babies or feed your children or cry in the corner of your shower or whatever it is you do for a living. But at the end of the day, you probably don’t have to put a picture of your face on it. Do you? Is there a photograph of you beside your work, letting people know what this person looks like? I’m guessing probably not. And for those of you who are journalists or actors or anchorpersons or authors or prisoners, you’ll probably know what I’m about to discuss.

You see, people feel compelled to discuss the pictures. This has happened since my days as a columnist for the Statesman. Omar, who was my boss back then, and had a great time at my going-away roast in Austin reading letters that may or may not have been sent to him. One was true: a man who wondered why I was so pale, and then invited me to Austin’s nude beach with him.

I’ve had people I love say, “I really liked the book, but that picture of you is terrible. Doesn’t bring out your true personality. You’re not that serious.”

I enjoy this sentence, which I’ve gotten from more than one of you: “And your picture surprised me. I didn’t expect you to be so pretty.” Um… thanks? What were you expecting? Don’t answer that.

There’s the famous quote from the Oakland reading: “How old is that picture of you?” (It’s from January of this year, in case some of you think I’m still using my headshot from when I was twenty-one.)

“That picture of you is nice, but how come you look so smug? You’re kind of smirking like you think you’re better than everyone else.”

How can I do that? How could I? What?

“I hate that Glamour Shot of you. You’re much prettier in person. Well, you’re fun, anyway, which that picture doesn’t make you look. You should smile. Show some teeth. You look too smart.”

I sent in more than one headshot and let the book people choose which picture they wanted for the back of the book. And next time you’re near a table of chick lit trade paperbacks, take a gander at the quality of photos they normally use for these things. They look like photocopies of scans of half-ripped pictures that fell out of yearbooks or sorority scrapbooks. Sometimes you can’t even make the girl out, they’re so blurry. So I was initially happy with my photo.

Someone on “The Internet” called me an “airbrushed asshole.” I may be an asshole, but that shit ain’t airbrushed.

But here’s the one that drove me to this entry. This latest backhanded compliment left me speechless.

Me. Speechless.

In my own home, the following words were said: “Wow, that picture of you in the back of the book is really amazing. Just beautiful.”

To which I said: “Thank you.”

At which point he turned to my boyfriend and actually said, “I mean, look at this girl. Would you believe it’s the same girl from that photograph?”

Now later that night I slugged stee and gave him a list of correct responses that he should have said (“You’re a writer! Why can’t you come up with the perfect line when we’re in real life?”), but the person who was incredulous at my ugly duckling transformation is a person we can’t technically tell off for a number of reasons. So what is the right response when someone says that you’re much uglier either in person, or on a piece of paper that’s been multiplied by the thousands and shipped across North America?

And why is it that people have no problems telling you when they are shocked at how you’re not as hideous as they once assumed? I once had someone compare me to an actress on 7th Heaven, saying that at first glance you don’t notice her at all, and only once you stare at her do you realize she’s actually pretty.

It’s entries like this that make me realize why you guys might think I’m a total dog.

But I’ve had my picture on this site before. And it’s been in the paper, in articles, in interviews, on ABC, on Comedy Central, and more. And I haven’t gone through a gigantic transformation over the years. Why would someone who’s close to me, or someone who has been reading my site for five years be stunned to find out that I’m able to leave the house without children screaming?

And seriously, who would ask my boyfriend if he even recognizes the beautiful woman in the book as the troll he sleeps with every night? What kind of balls does that take?

Why don’t people think before they talk? I know the MOC is famous for saying the craziest stuff to his wife, but you should hear some of the things he’s said to me over the years, including, “You know, Pamie, you’ve finally figured out how to walk like a woman. Either that or you’ve lost weight. Although, it might just be your shoes.” What?

If my mom was reading this over my shoulder right now I know she’d like to interject here that she thinks I’m over-sensitive about the way I look. And then if Dan wasn’t going to go ahead and write it on the blog, he would emphatically agree with her. And then stee would raise his hands and say, “I’m staying out of it.” And then AB would say that I have “A Beautiful Mind” and then everyone would have a good laugh.

If I’m just being sensitive, does that mean that the rest of you get people discussing your personal appearance to your faces? Should we accept this? Is this not rude?

He looked at my boyfriend and asked if he could even believe that they were the same two women. Like a Before and After. Like I went on Extreme Makeovers before my headshot picture.

And yeah I look prettier in a picture that is getting duplicated by the thousands. Because I’m wearing makeup. I tend to “try” when thousands of people are about to judge me for what I look like. When you come into my living room unannounced, I may not be wearing as much mascara. Sorry.

But that photo was taken in the rain. I’m actually under an awning so I’m not wet, and the photographer was under an umbrella, so it isn’t a trick of the lighting. That’s my face. Sorry to disappoint you that I’m not as hideous one might hope.

I don’t even know why I’m so riled up about this. It’s nothing new. But part of the reason I became a writer was the feeling that my face had nothing to do with the work. And now once again it does.

And as I told Chris when he insinuated that I wasn’t quite as attractive as other women out there, “I’m fucking hot. I’m a catch. I’m a bargain at twice the price. I’m awesome. I ROCK.”

But then, that’s even sadder, isn’t it? Being the one to say how cool you are because someone has said to your face, “I mean, I don’t know how you live in this city, with all these beautiful people. You’re so normal. How do you do it?” By the power of my gigantic thighs. They give me the strength to stand up every day and eat another bowl of carbs. I am mighty!

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