I have taken some slagging this weekend. I think I might have brought much of it on myself, right enough.
Apparently, referring to David Bowie as an artiste is deemed incredibly pretentious and results in, Ooh, la, la’s and Lah de dah’s from my jokers here. Having a Glaswegian accent does not allow you to insert French, or any other language, into general conversation. I don’t care what they say. I know they all think he definitely had a certain je ne sais quoi.
The main piece of slagging actually started on Thursday and continued right through until yesterday. My own fault, as I said.
Hubs and I had to get passport photos taken (our old ones are so out of date, they’re relics). But hubs has been growing a beard. Yeah. No problem with that. His face. He can do what he likes with it. Up to a point. What he can’t do is put it near me. It started off jaggy and then just got tickly. I can’t abide being tickled. Anywhere. By anything. Hate it. I panic and scream. Even been known to cry. So no one tickles me. Under threat of death.
So, the beard. Tickling wasn’t the only problem. The beard is, was, oh, sod it, here’s what it was. https://scottishmomus.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/hair-today-gone-on-a-promise/ (And feckin’ WordPress won’t let me link normally! What is it with this place and changes?!)
Now, the beard came off. I was pleased. He should’ve been pleased too. Took fifteen years off him. We went to the photo booth in the local supermarket. Not before I’d put a fresh face on though. Wanted to look my best, didn’t I?
Why do things never quite turn out according to plan? Or be as straightforward as they should?
The instructions on the machine were quite complex.
Choose the right set of photos. Sorted.
Put money in. Done.
Check seat height. Swivel, swivel, swivel back again.
Align eyes with the magic line. Swivel some more.
Uncover your head. I don’t do hats.
Show your ears (!). I don’t know either. I thought maybe they wanted to be able to check for the presence or absence of ear lobes as a genetic identifying trait. Tucked my hair behind my ears.
No hair on the face. I’d already shaved. Kidding! Sweep hair away from forehead and tuck it in along with the side bits. Looking a bit like Hitler at his point. So tempted to do the finger moustache. Lot of face on display now.
Do not smile. No problem, this isn’t funny. ‘cept for the thought of what the passport office would say if I sent in my Hitler impersonation.
Do not make any facial expression. Fuck! I can’t do that. When I see the corpse in front of me I know why now. You need expression on your face to look alive.
Keep your eyebrows down. Double fuck! One of mine has a life of its own.
…don’t smile, don’t smile, do not smile, keep your eyebrows down, look straight ahead, do not think about Hitler’s ‘tache, keep your eyes aligned, don’t look away, Do Not Smile…
One very ugly, traumatised pic.
It was lucky I had my fourteen-year-old daughter with me to talk me through the process. She kept popping her head through the curtain to keep me right. You’d think she’d have been a bit more on the ball with the results, mark you. Louise takes the best selfies of all my crew. Their words. We both rejected the first one but thought the second would do. It looked okay in the reflection.
How fucking wrong we were!
I kid you not, it was the ugliest photo I’ve ever had taken. Really minging.
And I should know. I’ve had some belters.
I even kept a collection of stoaters so that I could show my kids, should I have any, for when their teenage insecurities would inevitably arise. My sister would just rip hers up. Pot ugly, rip, rip, bin. And this was in the days before we had mobile phones, so every photo in the bin was like throwing away money. Holiday batches would come back from being developed and she would rifle through them, dismissing one after and another and shredding them. Even if you were in it. And looked okay!
I must have had a premonition, way back then, that I’d be surrounded with weans. I actually recollect thinking, ‘I’ll keep this (hidden) then surprise my kids with it when they feel an ugly day is upon them. I’ll whip it out and say, ‘Look. Even your gorgeous mother had off days. I never looked like that. It’s the camera. It lies.’
I’ve never had to whip any of them out and reassure them. They’re the selfie generation. All pouts and confident smiles. And if it doesn’t turn out well? Delete. Just like that. How was I to know, all those years ago, that mobile phones would be a thing? And that selfie would even be a word. I could have saved myself the bother. They’ve found some of my stash in the past too and just ripped the shit out of me.
Hubs got in, daughter talked him through it. First time, fine. The bastard looks younger than me. And he’s fucking eight years older. Eight and a bit. Sometimes nine.
I thought, stuff it, I don’t care.
But I did. I do. I even got slagged for being vain! Like they wouldn’t have minded? Aye, right! You look in the mirror and you think you look one way. Then you see a photo and your illusions are destroyed.
According to second daughter, there’s a pile of psycho-babble about the mirror/camera/self-perception. I understood it at the time. Just can’t remember what it was. Something about she sees a nine in the mirror but she might only be a seven. The mirror contributes value added tax via personality. The camera is a bitch. Something like that.
Anyway, I had to take both photos and forms into work to get them countersigned by one of my colleagues I’ve known for about ten years.
She actually asked me if I wanted her to certify that it looked like me. And I was consoled that at least she didn’t think it did. She kept glancing at it then at me. I’m easily appeased.
I then passed it round the staffroom so’s they could all get a good laugh. They did. Some said theirs were bad too. But I know they weren’t as Quasimodo’d as mine. I could tell by the look on their faces, as they tried to compose them into some sort of expression that didn’t say, ‘For fuck sake! What happened to you?’
My eldest son wasn’t that kind. He’s a bastard though. He said, ‘You look as if you’ve been seriously assaulted and found in a hedge at the scene of the crime.’ He is a bastard, isn’t he? Even although I had to agree with him. I looked traumatised. Like Hitler must have after, you know.
On Friday, they all gathered, for a soiree. (oops) Not just to look at my photo, obviously. But I just had to show them. I mean, I just had to.
I kept saying, ‘Sure that doesn’t look like me? Please tell me that doesn’t look like me? Am I walking about looking like that and I don’t even know? For fuck sake! I’m fucking ugly!’
By now, hubs was pishing himself laughing. So were the kids. And my daughter’s fiance. He didn’t say anything though. He’s obviously much nicer than my own kids. I think he might be scared of me too. No fucking wonder! I was terrified when I saw me in that photo.
My eighteen-year-old said it did look like me but maybe in about ten or fifteen years from now. She’s a bitch. Hubs said that was good, though, because then I wouldn’t have to get a new photo when I next go to renew my passport in ten years. He’s a, he’s a, he’s sleeping on the couch!
The applications haven’t gone yet. I’m so tempted to go back to the booth and have another one taken. Or kick the shit out of it. But I’m scared I’ll get another just the same. Or even fuckin’ worse! Then I can’t even say it was an aberration. I can’t risk that. I’d never be able to look at myself in the mirror again. I’d just keep saying to myself, ‘Do ye think ye’re lookin’ good, hen? Aye, well remember what thought done. Shat the bed and blamed it oan the blankets.’
I’ve always known I wasn’t photogenic. Now, I’ll have the evidence for the next ten years. And that bastard of a son of mine said that the DVLA could access my passport photo when I come to renew my driving licence. Did you know that it’s become obligatory to have photo ID on your driver’s licence? So, I’m not only running about illegally (sh!) but I’m doing it with a coupon that looks mangled. And he wants me to let them put the same one on my licence!
It’s snowing here. If it clears up I might nip down with my illegal licence and talk nicely to the photo booth.
Then take it back into school on Monday for another signing. Maybe another slagging. But I’m a hacket-faced bint so I can cope with that.
My only consolation (I always look for the bright side) is that three of my daughters are nice kids. My youngest said I always look beautiful. (shit, I wonder if she’s a bit slow) and my twenty-two year old produced her passport to show me that she looked, in her words, ‘like a junkie’. And she did! I felt so much better. My eldest said I shouldn’t mind because, if it were her, she’d rather the geezers at passport control were shocked the right way. She’s maybe my favourite now. For a wee while.
And, if you think there’s a hope in hell that you’re getting to see it, you’re wrong. Very fuckin’ wrong. Jist so’s ye know. I’ll unfollow ye if ye ask. I feckin’ will!
Off to practise taking selfies. Wonder how the filters work. Je ne sais pas.