Tuesday, September 6, 2011

People dig my rat face.

My mom hates it. Jon despises it. But I can't stop making my rat face. It's really ugly. And I will find you a picture - just not right now. I don't have one on this computer. I'm not sure when my rat face was born: I think maybe in junior high...

I don't get requests to make the face often. But yesterday, my 9-year-old niece Anna asked me to do my rat face while we were playing mini golf in Glens Falls. (I happily obliged.) Then, today, when I was asking friends (on Facebook) to help me find a photo for a magazine's contributors' page--one that did not involve me squished against one of my children, holding an alcoholic drink, wearing sunglasses, etc.--my friend Ronda jokingly said she'd dig up a photo of me making my rat face at Allegheny's on-campus coffeehouse where we worked together. Two rat-face requests in one day! (Yeah, okay, one's technically just a reference.) "People dig my rat face," I proudly told Jon. He rolled his eyes and walked into the other room. 

This (me on the R) is much, much prettier than the rat face.
Now that I think of it, I believe my rat face began as most of my faces do - when someone asked me to pose for a picture. I hate having my photo taken. I feel self-conscious. I start thinking too hard about my smile: is it too gummy, too fake, too crazy? My checks start twitching. So I act goofy. I have lots of photos of me sticking my tongue out, crossing my eyes, etc., etc. In fact, when Jon proposed, he set the timer on our camera so that he could capture this milestone moment. He ended up pulling it off and we have an awesome shot--of his sixth attempt at a photo. Apparently, even back then, he knew it'd take me a few rat runs before I'd get serious for a picture. He wisely waited through them before dropping down on one knee and going for it.

Do I make ridiculous faces so that I can say, oh, I don't look good in that picture because I was trying to look bad (maybe, this 2008 story from the Times of London suggests)--or is just because I'm silly? Hmm... I think it's mostly because goofing off is far more fun than feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious.

For you to answer: What do you do when someone points a camera at you?
For you to ponder: The value of rat-face celebrity photos to paparazzi. 

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