It’s no secret that I HATE getting my picture taken. Anyone who tries to take one of me will confirm this. My friends and family all complain about it. Hate it, hate it, hate it! “Why? What’s the big deal?” you ask. After thinking about it a lot the last few days, my guess is because I don’t like how I look – I don’t find myself attractive, I don’t find my “type” attractive. Now, I’m not looking for sympathy or fishing for compliments here, it’s not an easy topic for me to think about or write about. Please no "aww you look great" comments. I’m more or less just exploring the “why” – not whether it is rational or not.
This all started because of two friends here on LiveJournal who are professional or semi-professional photographers, one of whom has been begging me to let him shoot me (Chris ironchefpinoy who likely will get to around New Years), the other (Carlos paladincub21 ) who actually did over Thanksgiving and the day after. Carlos posted about a half-dozen pictures on FaceBook that he took of me, as well as others at the Thanksgiving dinner we had at my house, and some he took of me the next day as we drove around Seattle. I felt somewhat like a paparazzi stalked celebrity – every time I turned around it seemed Carlos was aiming his camera and rattling off pictures. I got to where I could sort of ignore it and just pretend he wasn’t doing anything, which is perhaps why I’m somewhat pleasant looking in a few of the pictures. As we were having coffee towards the end of the day he said it was “difficult” for him to take pictures of me that I don’t look “hard”, and that bring out the “soft” side of me.
I’ll let you judge for yourself: Here is a link to the album of pictures he, and another friend Roberto took with his I-phone of me on Thanksgiving or the day after. www.facebook.com/album.php
And here is a link to his Thanksgiving album with shots of other folks, and his professional site where you can see his work. Thanksgiving: www.facebook.com/album.php Professional: flickr.com/carlosadeleon
I find it somewhat difficult to look at these pictures to be honest. I really can’t smile on “cue” for a camera which is why so few pictures of me are smiling – and why Tony once said I look like the projection of the Wizard of Oz with the flames and smoke coming out of his head glowering down at Dorothy and company. I look at those pictures and I scare myself off! Its no wonder that more than a few people find me “unapproachable”. And I know it also has to do with self-esteem and body image and likes and dislikes in that area. I look at my pictures and I think to myself “I’m not attracted to me, why would anyone else find me attractive?" – I look like Jabba the Hut, wrinkled, gray hair, fat. Nobody likes fat people. God knows that I’m not physically attracted to “me” or people that look like me, so I always find it somewhat odd, that other people are. It’s sort of hard for me to believe. It’s why I’m surprised when I hear it.
After Carlos posted the pictures, I started getting a lot of comments on my FaceBook page about them – people saying how good I looked etc, and even a few “friend” requests from folks I don’t know, further proving my theory that FaceBook is turning into a dating site. I actually blush when I read them sometimes. “MY GOD you’re gorgeous!!, just sayin”, and “ you could wear a plastic bag on your body and you’d still look HOT” and even simple things like “Yummy”. Again, it’s not how “I” see myself at all. Why is that? I don’t know. How does one feel comfortable in one’s own skin?
I’m facing this a lot more these days – being now two years alone and starting to feel my way out onto the public dating scene again. I hear all the time from third parties that “so and so” likes you but is “afraid” to approach you. As Tony even has told people, “if you take the time to get to know him, and to realize he’s very hard of hearing, you’ll find a great guy and a big old softie”. How do I change that? Do I need to? Is that part of my “appeal”? I don’t know…God I hate thinking about this stuff and trying to figure it out.
Still I find it somewhat difficult to look at these pics and others – I know I shouldn’t. I want to look more like MY “ideal” of what I should look like I guess than this. I find it very frustrating that I work at that and never seem to make it there.
I told Carlos that I’ve gotten a lot of comments on his pictures, and thanked him for making me look good, at least to other folks. He said “You are a very attractive guy, Gary. Deal with it.” Easier said then done, but I guess I should. I don't really have a choice do I?