Comments

  1. Lyte Lee says

    I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 55.  It started one day when someone took a picture of my wife and I at a wedding.  They had the picture printed and gave it to us.  It was a nice gesture but my wife and were shocked when we looked at it.  We both had the same question, “Is that really what we look like?”  That was ten years ago.  Now, I hate to say, the number of days that I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror are often more than I do.  It’s not because my memory has gone even though it seems to be lagging a lot lately.  I sluffed off the grey hair.  “O well, I thought, I don’t have to impress anyone anyway.”  My “career” doesn’t depend on dyeing my hair to advance so it’s really ok.  I do, however, count the lines on people’s faces I’m talking to so as to compare the length, depth, heighth and number of them.  I tabulate their age compared with the lines and decide who’s aging more gracefully.  I never used to do that before.  I feel your pain. 

  2. says

    I do think there’s something in the bone structure, though.  There are no bad pictures of my mother and my son, who shares her facial structure, never photographs badly either.  I’m extraordinarily hit or miss.  A few shots remind me of the tolerable face I see in the mirror.  Many shots, though, are unrecognizable to me — and always have been. 

    Interestingly, my dog is strikingly non-photogenic.  In person (in canine-son?) she’s just a sweet and foolish looking little mutt, with a a foxy face and loving eyes.  In photos, though, she always looks as if she’s on the verge of apoplexy.  She’s part chihuahua, and all that the camera ever catches are those bulging eyes.  Everything else that makes her sweet in the three dimensional world vanishes in the two dimensional world of film.

    It’s actually a comfort to me to know that my dog photographs badly.  It helps support my believe that it’s my chihuahua blood that accounts for the bad pictures, and not any real structural failure.

  3. SADIE says

    I wonder if we’re looking out or looking in at ourselves. The photos like our recorded voices – are not connected to what we said or felt like in the moments before or after the stilted moment in time.
     
    I’ve heard it said that we freeze the age of friends at the moment we become friends. This of course means that if there is a lapse in time of say 25 years – all bets are off. Anyone who has attended a class reunion already knows that everyone else has aged terribly, except ourselves.

  4. kali says

    SADIE: Anyone who has attended a class reunion already knows that everyone else has aged terribly, except ourselves.


    I’m exactly the opposite. I tend to avoid those because everyone there looks better than me (>_<)

  5. SADIE says

    kali
     
    It’s the looking in/looking out thing. I doubt very much if everyone looks better than you at reunions. I think it’s how we see ourselves aging. Mind you, I am not particularly thrilled to see clumps of flesh growing where there was once taut youthful skin. Not to mention freckles a/k/a age spots. I’ve gone to several reunions and there’s only one thing worse than seeing someone looking better and that’s not seeing them at all because they’re no longer alive.

  6. Charles Martel says

    My last high school reunion was six years ago and I was amazed that anybody recognized me. But I suppose that that amazement works both ways. There is an essential “SADIE-ness” or “Martel-ness” that everybody else can see that we don’t always see in ourselves.

    Also, when the reunions are years after the fact—in this case, my 40th—very few people give a damn about their looks. Maybe at the 10th, or even 20th, before wholesale ravages have set in. But by the time you’re in your late 50s, who the hell gives a damn?

    On the second thought, our reunion organizer once told me that the biggest problem for him wasn’t tracking down alums, but getting the women to attend. Too much worry about wrinkles and weight, as though their classmates were a.) looking to mate with them or b.) would devote precious hours, days and weeks after the reunion obsessing, “Gosh, Maryann sure didn’t look 17 anymore!”

  7. Gringo says

    Charles Martel:
    There is an essential “SADIE-ness” or “Martel-ness” that everybody else can see that we don’t always see in ourselves.
    Actually, Charles, it was the bal-peen hammer you had hanging from your waist. :)
     
    Sadie:
    Anyone who has attended a class reunion already knows that everyone else has aged terribly, except ourselves.
    Aging is interesting. One of my high school classmates was a blonde. Four decades later, her hair is brown. Both my sister and I are much less blonde/light brown haired and more brown haired than we used be, so my classmate is not alone. Not much gray- yet.
     
    Another classmate had  wavy, reddish brown hair, like her mother. Her mother was of northern Italian ancestry. We don’t associate red hair with Italians, due to all the Sicilian immigrants to the US, and accordingly I didn’t think my classmate looked all that Italian. Now that she has wavy gray hair- she reminds me of Sophia Loren.  Somehow the gray brought out the Italian- at least to me.
     
     
    The recent issue of my university alumni magazine had two photos of people from my family’s past. I sent a PDF of the pages with photos to my sister, who also would have known them. My sister replied that she wouldn’t have recognized the gray-haired woman, who many years ago lived  down the road from us. Of the photo of the other, my sister said that she recognized him from his eyes. We hadn’t seen him in nearly 50 years.
     
    One of my cousins is my age. She gets a lot of exercise from living in a third story walk-up in Manhattan’s SoHo. With her good physical condition and with hair that is still dark, she looks 15-20 years younger than her actual age.

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