I guess I have one of those faces.
On a regular basis, I’m asked, “You know who you look like?” to which I instinctively cringe. To be fair, sometimes their answer is not completely mortifying. Other times… oy. I have to put on a brave face and hide the tears. You think I look like who?! Inevitably, I realize that in their own mind, they think they’re giving me a compliment, which is why I feign gratitude. The only thing more awkward than getting told that you look like a fugly celebrity is letting the compliment giver know you think said celebrity is fugly. Even more troubling is when in the back of your head, a teeny tiny part of you can understand why they think you look like that celebrity. It’s not a very good feeling.
Other times, I’m simply baffled by my alleged celebrity doppelganger. It’s not about them being ugly or pretty; I just don’t understand how anyone in the world could think that I look like them. Imagine if you will telling Seth Meyers that he looks like Alexander Skarsgard. Personally, I think they’re both adorable, but never would I ever confuse one for the other. So there’s that.
I get the “you know who you look like” question so often that I’m beginning to wonder what the deal is. Do I seriously have that generic of a face? How can I look like Drew Barrymore, Alyson Hannigan, Allison Janney, Michelle Monaghan, Laura Prepon, Emma Stone and Kate Middleton all at the same time? I feel like I’m one of those freaks from a Conan O’Brien “If They Mated” skit. Or the compliment giver needs to take a second look at me, because while I have a healthy sense of self-esteem, not for a second do I think I look like the would-be Queen of England.
Sure, every once in a blue moon I too meet someone who makes me think, “Holy cow! They totally look like ______!” However, rarely do I vocalize my opinion. Why? Because I realize that everyone’s sense of physical beauty is different. While I happen to think that Jessica Chastain is gorgeous, perhaps someone else does not. Honestly, though, stopping myself from telling someone that they look like a certain celebrity is not my problem. I have an entirely different conundrum.
For the life of me, I cannot remember faces.
It’s horrible. Just as I have felt awkward and offended by being told that I look like so-and-so, I have definitely made others feel weird and annoyed because I flat-out didn’t remember them. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said to someone, “So nice to meet you!” to which they replied, “Yeah, we’ve met before.”
Most of the time the people on the receiving end of my inadvertent slight are extremely gracious. Except for this one time… I was at a party with a bunch of old college friends. All of a sudden, someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned around to find a random dude with his arms wide open. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you!”
I had no clue who he was. Of course, I couldn’t admit to that, so I just went with the moment and accepted his bear hug. All the while, though, my mind was scrambling to place this guy. Through the power of deduction, I reasoned that he must be a former schoolmate. After all, I was surrounded by a dozen other college peeps. Yet I couldn’t keep quiet. I couldn’t just smile and pretend like everything was cool. I had to say something… “Yeah, right? I haven’t seen you in forever! What class was it that we had together?”
His face immediately fell. The girl with whom I had been chatting – a bona fide college friend – quietly uttered, “Anna, Matt didn’t go to school with us.” That’s when I tried in vain to dig myself out of the embarrassment pit.
“Oh! I didn’t recognize you with the facial hair!”
He wasn’t buying it, and to make matters worse, he informed me that he was taking my chair because I didn’t remember him. We then proceeded to avoid eye contact for the rest of the evening.
So yeah… People don’t like being forgotten. Or in my case, people don’t like being told that they look like someone else. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the people to whom I’ve been compared are lovely women. More than anything, I think my inordinate sensitivity to such compliments stems from a rather unfortunate childhood incident that has scarred me for life. That’s how most of our eccentricities begin, right? Long story short, my mom chopped my beautiful, long flowing locks just days before I was to begin kindergarten. Even then, I was keenly aware of how a bad haircut can pretty much ruin your life. Anyway, one day my dad came to pick me up after school. As we were saying goodbye to my teacher and walking toward the car, she called out after us. “Anna, you look just like your dad!” I immediately burst into tears.
So now you understand.
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net