For the first time since I started this project, I got wolf-whistled today by two shirtless construction workers (oh WHAT a cliche) from about 700 feet away. But it wasn’t like I was even wearing a cute dress or high heels–I had on black slacks, a polo shirt and Laura Ingalls boots. From the 500 feet away that they were, I’m surprised they could tell I was a girl.
I suppose I was a little flattered even though I disagree with wolf-whistling on principle. I’ve been feeling a little less-than-beautiful lately; on Saturday I was visiting Pete, Eeon, Bridget and Jim, and Eeon put on some old Triangulon Home Movies from college. He had this footage of me and Jim just talking in the dining hall of the student union, and all I could do was stare at myself on screen like a big idiot. I was so beautiful! My hair, waist-long and tied back with a funky headband I made out of a pillowcase, perfectly framed my pale, sweet face, my unlined eyes, my unworried mouth. I looked like Geena Davis, and better still, I had this aching vulnerability to my movements, this strange tenderness, a shyness clearly barricaded behind the glass facade of a brash conversation about the long-closed adult video store on Amsterdam Ave in NYC.
People tell me I’m pretty now and I believe them. But for the first time in my life, I became very aware that I am growing old, and that my face, my body, are changing and will continue to change. All the cosmetics and the new hairdos can’t hide that forever; even if I could find that sweater and that hairband, I wouldn’t be able to recreate the Me that I was.
And you know what? That’s okay. I can live with that. I was just glad I had the chance to peek back at myself with all the same friends (and new ones) present, groan at my terrible Ninja Fighting skills, and once again enjoy Fighting Fish:
All that, my friends, is infinitely more important than beauty.
Eeon’s finding me a screenshot; I’ll add it as soon as he does.
I had a similarly unsettled reaction to seeing the old footage of myself. Observing my body language and silly mannerisms made me gratefully aware of how much I’ve grown, but also strangely embarrassed-yet-envious of my younger self. I’m glad Eeon kept the tapes.
Anne and I keep digging up facts for each other like, “the Lord of the Rings films were released more than a decade ago,” which make us feel old. I’ve been sitting on some home movies my uncle gave me a while ago. I figure if I ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.