“Let me see it,” I said to Max. I took his phone and looked at the photo of me he just took.
“Take another please,” I said.
I did this many more times until I finally quit and said we would do it tomorrow.
“Mom, they look good,” he said.
“Will you please just help me tomorrow?” I pleaded.
Frustrated that I didn’t feel pretty but even more because I cared, I went into the house, cleaned my face, and put comfortable clothes back on.
I need a photo for an important event that many people will see, so my exposure meter is higher than I’m comfortable with. Where did this intense vanity come from?
Filters are ridiculous these days, and have become the norm in some ways, but I don’t like to use them unless they’re black-and-white because then there’s no deceit. Modern camera filters are sometimes absurd-looking with the blur so heavy at times the nose goes missing. I deleted Snapchat years ago because the filter changed the shape of my chin. I stared at the attractive girl in the photo for some time. Her face was slimmer and her eyes were larger. She looked like the younger sister I don’t have, and as much as she looked like me, she wasn’t! I never got her name and deleted the app on the spot.
So, my conflict is, I have been infected with this new, intense sense of vanity, but I won’t use modern filters. Is this my Neat Dad New Balance moment where I quit? Have I officially stopped following the modern masses?
Later on, I went through the heaps of photos Max took, some of me alone, others with me and Baylee because he’ll be with me for the event, and I took some of the boys. (They were without Tye which made me delete them. All or nothing.) As I scrolled, Sammy was sitting with me.
“I don’t like the way my nose spreads out when I smile,” I told him. “Also, my forehead is so long and my eyes are squinty.”
“That’s what you look like,” he said.
I wondered if I should feel offended, but he is right. It’s what I look like.
“Maybe I should cut bangs,” I said to him.
“Isn’t that a type of filter, too?” he declared in the form of a question. We had been discussing the whole filter debate.
I settled on one that is semi-acceptable, then made it black-and-white because the lines around my mouth were less prominent, then I changed my mind and decided we will, in fact, try again.
I have a day or two more before I have to produce the perfect photo, and I will be fine with whatever it is in the end. I still wonder, though, where this new wave of vanity is coming from, and I will continue to study it until I figure it all out. Until then, I will stay in my Old Navy giant floral pajamas and no makeup until it’s time to say “cheese.”