I once stood in front of a girl at a dance, hoping she liked my face (and maybe that my awkward shyness might be endearing). She politely declined my overture. Then there was the one time at a bar in Germany when I was a young airman and a little drunk and smitten, and I had to present myself with my stupid, drunk, smitten face to a pretty girl. It’s a short story but worth the read.
Eye contact is really hard for me unless there’s a connection. After much self-reflection I have determined that I never outgrew my doubts about my face – it’s what people tend to see first despite all that talk of books and covers and premature conclusions.
What few pictures I do share of my face often obscure the eyes, and this is not a conscious act, but an inescapable truth. I have nothing to hide, really, as I do post pictures of my body on occasion, but the eyes are different. My eyes are green with a brown ring around, and they are okay, I guess. My nose is prominent, my hair, dirty blond. Pretty plain, really.
Then there’s the beard.
Oddly enough, the beard was not allowed to grow to hide my face, in fact I appear even more plain without it. I also look older clean-shaven. The bio on my cycling Instagram account states “I don’t care for pictures of my face, but that’s where my beard is.”
Social behavior was much different when we had to actually look one another in the eye and state our case, voice quavering, cheeks flushed, eyes trying desperately to not appear desperate.
Then there was the whole ordeal of dialing six numbers and hanging up seven times before finally allowing the phone to ring and hoping maybe to get her answering machine because you had already forgotten your introduction an were terrified of rejection because of it.
Nah, it was a really normal adolescence.
But I digress.
There are very few pictures of me from birth to 50, and I don’t mind so much. There are already more pictures of my granddaughter at 6 months than of the first half century of my life. Technology, I guess, but also psychology, and that part I’m not even close to figuring out.