Archive for the ‘Secrets’ Tag

New School vs. Old School

One thing you should probably know about Doubleawk is that she’s a fiery feminist, always ready to point out (and blame) the power of the patriarchy for one wrong or another.

But another thing you should know about Doubleawk is that she likes to look pretty.  True, she might not always (ever) shave her legs (not b/c she is a feminist, but because she is lazy and practically hairless), she forgets to brush her teeth, and she plays fast and loose even with the shower every other day rule.  But when it comes to nighttime, or to having her picture taken, she likes to be seen in a cute outfit, heels, and a face full o’ make up.  Blame the patriarchy.

So when the New School, which she will be attending for her MFA in nonfiction (starting a week from today!), told her she could send in a photo of her choosing for her student ID, she grabbed the camera and started posing.  She didn’t even wait for photog hubby to come home, but took pictures of herself.  Why not use a preexisting photo?  Well, the ID folks had specific parameters; plus, picking the right photo was a complicated calculus.  She couldn’t look like she’d picked the best photo of herself.  It had to be a natural looking photo, with enough make up to be pretty but not so much as to look like she was wearing any.  So she took, like, a billion photos, each one not quite right–one too shiny, one with a creepy smile, one from too far away.  And she had bags under her eyes.

There's a reason we call her doubleawk.  But by that logic, we could also call her shiny head, luggage eyes, or funny lips.

There's a reason we call her doubleawk. But by that logic, we could also call her shiny head, luggage eyes, or funny lips.

A bit of cover-up, and finally, she got one she could live with.  But the excessive glow and under-eye satchels continued.  What’s a girl to do?

It’s called retouching, and once you start, it’s hard to stop.

I swore I’d tell no one.  Then I sent it in, and afterward felt the caffeine-like buzz of an irrevocable secret, like midday cookie binging or a crowded-train fart.

Let me say this again:

I retouched my school ID photo.  I’m a thirty-one year-old self-proclaimed feminist and I airbrushed my school ID photo.  And then I admitted it to you.

Ah, much better!  But it still looks like me, right?  I should take this moment to state that I wholeheartedly disapprove of plastic surgery.  Really, I do.

Ah, much better! But it still looks like me, right? I should take this moment to state that I wholeheartedly disapprove of plastic surgery. Really, I do.

So today, when I went to pick up my ID, I was excited to see how it turned out / nervous that the retouching would be obvious and people would judge me.  This is the New School, after all, where I should be super-comfortable with my appearance, esp. if said appearance involves tribal facial piercings.  But I digress.

The man who went to retrieve my ID hesitated.  Oh, God! I thought!  Does it look so young that it doesn’t look like me? Then I saw it.

This Leda Eizenberg was younger than I am, to be sure, but that wasn’t the problem.  She was blonde.

“That’s not me,” I said.

“I didn’t think so,” he replied.  “But it’s ok.  You’ll just have to get a new photo taken.  They’re taking photos today.”

The blonde on my ID looked something like this.  Or maybe I've just got Jennie Garth on the brain because I watched a million episodes of 90210 on IMDB this weekend.  The man at the ID table wouldn't actually let me see the wrong-photo-ID very closely; perhaps he thought I'd run off with it to see if I could pass as a blonde.

The blonde on my ID looked something like this. Or maybe I've just got Jennie Garth on the brain because I watched a million episodes of 90210 on IMDB this weekend. The man at the ID table wouldn't actually let me see the wrong-photo-ID very closely; perhaps he thought I'd run off with it to see if I could pass as a blonde.

“Can’t I just resend my old photo?”

“It’ll be faster to retake it.”  He clearly wanted to help the next student in the line that had built up behind me.

“But it was a really cute picture.”  I tried to do the funny, goofy thing.

“This one will be even better!  It’s exciting–your first day of school and all!” The woman next to him chimed in.

Do I look like an eager freshman? I thought.  “But, but…”  I was desperate.  “It’s hot out.  I’m sweaty.”

They shook their heads.

I kept trying.  “I’m not wearing make-up,” I mock whispered.  “I haven’t even showered.”  When they looked at me like I was crazy, I tried another tactic.  “Will there be a huge line?”

“I’ll call them now and tell them to let you go straight in.”  He pulled out his phone.  I was dismissed.

Naturally, I got hotter and sweatier on my six block walk to the building where photos were being taken.  I had mascara and a kind of ugly lip gloss on me, so I ducked into a bathroom to apply, then sat down in the hall, popped open my lap-top, and resent the original photo just in case they would make me a new ID using it.

Predictably, a mob had formed, consisting mostly of young co-eds, all pretty and made up, not one tribal piercing in sight; maybe I had the wrong impression of my new school.

They whisked me in for a new photo, ignored my pleas that they use my old one, and took my picture.  As I waited for my ID to be printed, I emailed John:

Subject: Grr…

The stupid new school put a blonde girl on my id, so I had to take a new photo, and I’m sweaty, unshowered, and only had mascara and lip gloss in my purse.

So much for my retouching efforts.

(In a weak moment, I had confessed my retouching to him about a month after submitting the photo).

His reply:

I’m sure you look beautiful!  Also, your obsession with how you look on useless photo ids is possibly problematic.

Well, honey, one out of two ain’t bad.  I fully acknowledge that it’s problematic.  It’s just that when I look good in an official photo, I feel like it’s official proof that I’m good looking.  Young in an official photo?  Officially still young.

The bags are back!  So is swath of flesh (the excess of space between my neck and my breasts), but that's a topic for another post.

The bags and shininess are back! So is swath of flesh (the excess of space between my neck and my breasts), but that's a topic for another post.

Officially disturbed?

To quote another woman who set back the feminist movement 100 years, “You betcha!”

On the bright side, this goof-up saved me the trouble of having to argue with people about whether my (undated) ID was current when trying to get student discounts.

On the not-so-bright side, I’ve just revealed myself as terribly shallow.

Blame the patriarchy.  Or blame my awkwardness.  Better yet, let’s just blame the bags under my eyes.

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Blogoreferential

One of the cardinal rules of the writing workshop is that one shouldn’t write about writing.  

And yet so far, all I want to blog about is, well, blogging.  First of all, there are all of your lovely comments to which I want to respond, but probably won’t.  Blogs invite dialogue, but to post to each individual here might grow tedious for my three other readers.  

But I have a more sinister confession.  Today’s awkward encounter, if you will.  Between me and my computer (no, not that kind of encounter, you pervs).  

I’m already obsessed with my own blog.  

That’s right, it’s been up a mere fifteen hours or so and I’m already checking it repeatedly to see how many visitors it’s had, calculating the effects of posting a doubleawk link in my status on Facebook, and frantically checking for subscribers.  According to feedburner, I have none, so I would greatly appreciate it if you would slow my racing heart by getting off your asses and subscribing.

Of course blogging about blogging probably isn’t the best way to get you to do that.  

So let me blog about the history of my life as a blog junkie.  A quick flashback, if you will.  I actually remember when I learned about what a blog was.  I attended the Columbia Publishing Course in 2002; blogs weren’t in the curriculum yet, just vague references to new media.  But a rather pushy Italian woman in the course kept asking about blogs: Why weren’t we studying them?  What role would they play?  Had we read hers?  We mostly ignored her, or occasionally imitated her talking about her blog in a way that made her sound like Dracula: “Why won’t you read my blog?”  I didn’t know what a blog was, to tell the truth, and even the explanation that it was a weblog made little impression on me until said Italian woman wrote some rather unkind things about the director of the program on her blog.   That got my attention, if only briefly.  Career suicide, I thought (wrongly).  And, How can she think that electronic diaries are going to change the publishing industry?

Well, I guess it’s clear who the idiot was on that one.  And frankly, career suicide in publishing before getting my job as a publicity assistant would have saved me eight miserable months.  But I digress.  And also, I want to be on the record as saying I love the publishing industry since I am hoping that one day it will publish my book.

John occasionally accuses me of being addicted to the Internet, which is really embarrassing.  And also slightly true.  But I figure it’s a better boredom cure and procrastination technique than eating, which was my old favorite way to entertain myself and kill time.  The ten pounds I’ve been able to keep off without exercising can be credited to the fact that I enjoy spending large swaths of time dicking around on the Internet (no, not that kind of dicking, you doublepervs!).

My first blog was Perez.  He did a lot for me: weaning me off US magazine, helping me unwind during a free period at school, providing me with pop-cultural knowledge in quick, easy to digest morsels.  And then, as obsessed as I was with seeing what was going on with Britney or Brangelina, I suddenly wasn’t.  Celebrity gossip seemed too redundant, too banal to read every day.  And half of the celebrities were people I’d never heard of: The Jonas Brothers, Shia LeBeouf.  So as quickly as I’d fallen for him, I was so over Perez.

Next came my phase of lurking on creative writing grad school blogs, where I’d look for ideal programs, nervously check up on everyone else’s application progress, and pray to find typos so that I’d know I was better than the competition.  But that, too, turned tedious.  People asked the same questions repeatedly, posted condescending replies, and got their feelings hurt by condescending replies.  Plus, the anxiety was contagious and I manufacture plenty of that on my own.

Political blogs are my most recent downfall.  It was debate season that got me hooked on Wonkette, Jezebel–not just politics, but culture and snark, too!–and The Huffington Post (which isn’t really a blog I suppose). In the several weeks leading up to the election I got minimal work done, as I scampered from Blog to newspaper to poll sites, obsessing over each new detail.  I actually had to make a rule for myself that I would only look at such sites during mealtimes, a rule which completely failed in the week before the election.  I thought it would stop post-election, but there are new political matters to obsess over–the cabinet, the financial crisis, where the Obama girls will go to school.  But at least I’ve cut way back.

And now my own blog, consuming in a different way.  Comments to read, stats to check, design and function elements to tweak.  Oh, and posts to write.  As pretty much all of you know, I’m trying to be a writer.  And yes, the book is going pretty well, thank you.  Grad school apps (and other things, see above) have been a bit of a distraction, but chapter four is coming along and I’ve written about 90 pages in total.  So yes, this blog might become a time suck, but I figure time spent writing is a good thing no matter what.  Or that’s what I’m telling myself.

In an effort to stave off any blog fatigue you might be feeling with my blog already, I promise to make the next post about something unrelated to blogging.  Oh, and I might even let that husband of mine have a say or make an appearance, since ostensibly this is a couple’s blog.

It should be noted that WordPress spellcheck doesn’t recognize the word blog.  Nor does it recognize WordPress.  A tragic, self-effacing irony.  Or a hint that blogging about blogging is wicked boring.