Forget your Perfect Face.
Controversial opinion /slash/ obvious observation:
- excessive make up [photos],
- plastic surgery major & minor,
- filters like Facetune
…they’re not only not healthy for our own self-esteem, maitri, relationship with ourselves…they’re not attractive to those with a healthy sense of self-friendship.
The other day, my loveful, genuine, difficult engagement crashed on the shores of lack-of-communication and my frustration. That’s a story for another time, and none of anyone’s business, besides. And so, despondent, newly single, devastated…but also ready to find a life partner, having learned much, I joined up on a bunch of online dating sites. I’m 48, want children, and can’t afford to wait in the depression hole I sank into, that community and sunshine and meditation and maitri helped pull me out of.
While some folk’s profiles well represent are who they are, imperfect, charming, funny, attractive or not…many, too many, seem to ape that “perfect face” I read about in the New Yorker, recently. You know: huge anime eyes, plump, oval faces, pouty lips. And, yeah: something about them is repetitive, fake.
From “The Age of Instagram Face: How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look,” in the New Yorker:
“It’s a young face, of course, with poreless skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips. It looks at you coyly but blankly, as if its owner has taken half a Klonopin and is considering asking you for a private-jet ride to Coachella. The face is distinctly white but ambiguously ethnic—it suggests a National Geographic composite illustrating what Americans will look like in 2050, if every American of the future were to be a direct descendant of Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kendall Jenner (who looks exactly like Emily Ratajkowski). “It’s like a sexy . . . baby . . . tiger,” Cara Craig, a high-end New York colorist, observed to me recently. The celebrity makeup artist Colby Smith told me, “It’s Instagram Face, duh. It’s like an unrealistic sculpture. Volume on volume. A face that looks like it’s made out of clay.”
So, yeah, a funny thing happened on the way to finding a hopefully-vegan, hopefully-bike-friendly, hopefully plastic-avoiding, attractive-to-me, attracted-to-me independent woman who wants and loves children, out there: I feel like Tom Cruise in that sci fi movie, swiping my way through a sea of silica, fragrances, pigments, dyes, fillers, preservatives, and moisturizers.
The sad thing, or the funny thing—I’m not sure which—is that if we represent ourselves falsely, what happens when we actually go on that date? If we represent ourselves falsely, aren’t we hanging a false shingle out there for false players? Don’t we want someone to like us, the way we like ourselves?
And so, yeah, it all comes back to maitri. A relationship founded on a willingness to work with ourselves, and others—that’s commitment that might actually enable us to live an un-Selfish Love, to walk a path of benefit to self, and others, both.
And so, yeah, this is judging, or discerning. Maybe it’s judgey. That’s what we’re doing, after all, in relationship: judging. Discerning. Trying. Asking out. Being asked out. Chatting, talking, flirting, seeing if we’re a fit.
And so, yeah, this applies equally to men and women and all of us. It’s incumbent on me to represent myself accurately, even showing my thinning hair, my real age, my not-quite-in-great-shape-ness, sometimes. Because when we’re reaching out to find love, it’s the real me who has to reach out, or we’re sending out a signal that won’t bring them back to us.
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