This one goes out to those two people who voted that they wanted to see only my most unflattering wedding photos. Please accept my apologies for making you wait so long for the horror.
Oh. Did I say horror? I guess that could make sense. Because I am about to open up a bag full of a lot of potentially squicky, uncomfortable stuff. The contents of this bag include several deep-seated insecurities with regard to various body parts, a bunch of truths and lies about cameras, what’s left of your self-confidence, a general sense of mortification, and the struggle to mentally connect the dots between your still image on screen or paper with the live one you see in the mirror every day: Do I really look like that? Is that even the same person?
So I didn’t mean horror, after all. I meant hilarity.
How else can you react to pictures of yourself that aren’t really very good? I suppose you can cry about them, or send them through the paper shredder, or put your wedding dress back on and sit in the middle of the living room floor carefully cutting models out of bridal magazines and pasting them over your own image while alternately guzzling a bottle of raspberry-flavored vodka and cackling maniacally to yourself. Because wedding photos, like everything else wedding-related, seem to carry a special weight. This weight can make it harder to come to grips with bad photos of you taken at your wedding, because their very existence seems to capitalize, boldface, and underline all the fears you had locked away about your looks.
Which happened, of course, the very first time I started clicking through my various wedding pictures. It was so weird to see how simply moving from angle to angle — frame to frame — could induce a fun house effect on my physique. Fifteen pounds were gained, then lost again. Arms transformed from sleek strands of linguini to lumpy sausages. Chins receded and disappeared into necks, only to tentatively protrude again.
I was initially embarrassed, but then a strange thing happened. I started to giggle at my ridiculous-looking self.
We all have our own individual “problem areas,” of course. My most despised ones are my chin and my upper arms. There is just no way around it: my face is rectangular, and kind of masculine. I have a weak chin that’s made even more so by my tendency to clench my teeth together very hard. Add to that the fact that I lost some weight in high school everywhere but my upper arms, and since then no amount of toning exercises can eliminate the flab. These were the genetics I was dealt. There is no changing them. At some point, I have to be okay with that.
Have to be.
Look, I am not insinuating that in these photos I resemble some kind of wretched, hideous, bloated, snaggle-toothed, cross-eyed, deformed, demonic, and malodorous beast not even a mother could love. I am not suggesting that upon reading this you should rush to the comment form and attempt to convince me that NO, I actually look GREAT, omigod, what ru even talking about ur crazy gorgeous lol.
What I am hoping is that you will laugh, too.
Because, damn. Some of them are bad.
And I am also hoping that after laughing you will feel a little bit better, because we all look bad sometimes, don’t we? That doesn’t mean we’re inherently ugly. It means that… oh, who the fuck knows what it means, except that we’re all in this together.
We might as well have some fun, right?
Ah. Oh. This gets things off on the right foot. Excellent job with the mushy, dimply neck. For my next trick, I will grow another chin.
This. This is a face I’d heretofore been unaware of making. But apparently I do make it, and quite frequently, too, judging from the number of times it appears in photos taken during the wedding. Look, I understand that if it’s inherently me, I can’t really knock it, but come on. It’s like I’m grinning, but I’m also grimacing. I am baring my teeth at you: rrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Me bride. Ha ha! BRING BRIDE DRINK! NOW! Ha ha ha! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Arr.
Uh. Huh. Hmm. Uhhhhhh… duh? Ha ha. Huh. Heh.
“The crowd gasped, but by then it was already too late. The bride had contracted a serious case of Sausage Arm. For a few long, horrible moments, the situation looked grim. Then Aunt Hilda suddenly remembered the jar of sauerkraut in her purse. If there was only a way they could dig up some mustard, well. Then they could turn this travesty into a party.”
Guess what I look like in profile? I look like I have no jawline. Seriously. I look at photos of celebrities, and it seems like the space between their chins and their necks stretches on for miles, providing actual definition to their faces. Sort of like this:
The photoshopped image above will always be what I wish I looked like from the side. But no. No, my destiny will be to fulfill my womanly duties by bearing a bunch of children with weak chins and and slack jowls. They will surely thank me later for the fine genetic pool from whence they sprang.
Oh, but it gets better as the evening progresses.
What fine, unfocused, greasy-faced specimen is this?
Surely one who should open her mouth even further.
Seriously, folks. Back away from these goods. Or you might get hurt.
And now I present to you: the dance of the giant velociraptors.
Won’t you join me? No seriously, join me or die.
Further evidence to support the fact that all of my photographs should be taken from below, and with flash.
Listen, I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together here today. Go forth, all ye engaged, and know that there will be wedding pictures of you that you will never want anyone to ever, ever look at. Unless, of course, you choose to post them on your blog for all the internet to see.
[this post will self-destruct in 5… 4… 3… 2…]
UPDATE: A number of kind souls have so far pointed out that, whatever, I look fine in these pictures. So then I realized: you know all those times you’ve been shown a photograph of yourself, and you say, “EW,” and the other person is like, “HUH?” Yeah. I think that’s what is happening here. Those photographs where we cringe and think we look our worst actually appear to others as … normal. Or something. This is kind of disturbing, because either a) each of us is more awful-looking than we actually think we are, or b) society has left us all terribly, horribly warped. I’ll let you decide which is right (hint: it is B).
But seriously, you guys. I hardly look attractive in these things. I don’t know where you get these insane ideas.