The other day, I was out prom dress shopping with my eldest daughter (yep, somewhere along the line, England turned into America and now we have proms for 16-year-olds. But we certainly didn't in my day). Anyway, we were taking photographs of the various dresses in the changing rooms because for some reason it's always easier to get a better impression of a dress via a photo than your own eyes (I don't know why that is, but it is). Now because there were a myriad of mirrors in the changing room, I inadvertently kept being caught on the mobile phone camera. And as always when I am caught on camera whilst not expecting it, I looked bored to death - as miserable as sin. Yet when I smile, my appearance improves remarkably. People have even remarked that I'm photogenic, which I suppose I can be if I 'switch on' the fun me. But photogenic really only means you take a decent photo, it says nothing about your actual appearance. However, I don't smile a great deal in real life. So that is the crux of this blog really, I just don't particularly like the natural set of my face.
This isn't a news to me. The title of this post is something that random men would shout out at me in the street from a very early age (I don't know if it's a saying in regular use, but they used to say it in East London when I was growing up anyway). 'Cheer up, it might never 'appen!'. I don't think I'd mind if those random gentlemen were honestly concerned for my welfare and just trying to advise me that the thing which I so obviously dread may never come to pass. But I think they were just taking the piss, if I'm honest. So basically, I look and always have looked so thoroughly miserable that people feel the need to point it out in the street. Well, not so much nowadays as I don't live in London anymore and now I am in my forties, these random people realise they are more likely to get a punch in the face than the half-hearted smile they would receive when I was young.
I don't particularly like to emblazon my blog with copious images of myself because I like to maintain an element of mystery. Well, there's one photo there in the sidebar but that's because I read somewhere that readers would like to get a rough idea of what you look like. So I got a my dear husband to take a few head-shots when I was on my way out to a party and plastered in make-up. Luckily for me, he's a semi-professional photographer (available for weddings and family gatherings at a very reasonable fee), so he's good enough to make even me look halfway decent. But I am forced to use a couple of photos of me in this post to illustrate the point I am trying to make. Here are two pictures, one of me caught accidentally in the background of a photo whilst dress shopping, and me having a camera pointed directly at me and choosing to smile:-
'Somebody Kill Me...'
'Let's Have A Party!'
Now unfortunately, the first picture is more the norm than the second. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I suppose the obvious solution would be to 'smile' more often (but if you know me even slightly, you'll know that's a pretty big ask). I remember I had a part-time job whilst I was a teenager, at some God-awful time of the morning, I handed out those free magazines to commuters arriving at various London Underground stations (you know the ones, they advertise jobs and little else). And on the days when I made and effort (i.e. smiled at the train passengers and wore a bit of make-up), I always managed to shift a sh*t-load more magazines than on the days I was my usual surly, just-dragged-myself-out-of-bed self). I mean, that's not rocket science, people are far more likely to take a magazine from a cheery girl thrusting one into their hands than some bored teenager who'd rather be dead than at some freezing cold tube station. I would. But let's face it, I can't walk around the street smiling all the bloody time, people would think I was certifiable!
So you see, it's not my fault. I cannot help the natural fall of my face and I can't go around grinning like a Cheshire cat either. It's just another cross I have to bear, it really is. But within reason, I will try to smile a bit more often, or at least perfect an impassive face (whatever that looks like), rather than the, 'let me die' face I inadvertently tend to wear. So if you see me walking around the street looking so miserable that stringing myself up from the rafters seems like a better option, do forgive me; I'm probably as happy as Larry. My face just hasn't realised it yet. And whatever you do, don't shout out, 'cheer up, it might never 'appen!'. A) You're probably not a Cockney and that's just terrible grammar, and B) it might have happened already, for all you know. I might have won millions of pounds on the lottery and lost my ticket. I might have recently fallen down a ravine and badly twisted my ankle but am managing to walk normally whilst gritting my teeth through the pain. Or I may just be bored to within an inch of my life. Either way, it would probably be best just to ignore me and say nothing, I'm a pacifist really and I don't especially enjoy punching people in the face.