Thursday, April 17, 2008

Me: First Thing In The Morning

No, seriously. This is me, no brushing of the hair or the teeth, no spot checking of the make up that I didn't wash off last night because I was lazy.

I do this, not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because I read a blog post the other day (Truthiness In Self Portraiting.) where this girl took a picture of herself first thing in the morning and posted it and asked all her readers to do the same and she totally inspired me. You know, I try to be pretty transparent in what I write here. I know that sometimes I worry that I over share (um, sometimes? probably most of the time.) but it's so important to me that I give it to you the way it really is. I try to tell you about my struggles in parenting, how I work on my weight, and what I spend on the groceries. I do my best to tell you when I'm feeling like crap and when my world just couldn't get any better. Because, you know, I think we're friends now. We've been together, what, almost 3 years now? I figure we're close enough I can tell you the truth. I do all of this, but the one thing I hold back on is any, any, picture that I haven't personally triple checked for spots, extra chins, lighting, and relative thin-ness to whatever object is next to me.

It's ridiculous, I know, mostly because half of you readers know me in real life and my appearance is of no shock to you. But for you other guys, I figure I owe you a shot of me at my worst, to kind of counter balance all of the pictures I give you of half of my face.

I'm sure this is also some kind of feminist leap and a rage against "the man" who makes me feel like I have to look pretty all the time or something.

So, join me as I join billions millions thousands dozens of women who are telling the world exactly what they look like of a morning. We won't laugh. I mean, really, did you see my picture??


Sara Berry said...

Even fresh out of bed, your haircut rocks.

Anonymous said...

I hear the song "Good Morning Beautiful"...

Tiffany said...

I still hate you, and mainly because of your #$#%^&! perfect skin.

Sarah said...

Ditto what Tiff said.

Nicole McIntyre said...

I too ditto what Tiffany said. Totally coveting the great skin and pink cheeks. I look like death warmed over that had an attack of freckles thrown in. Not a pretty sight and I'm afraid if I posted a picture it would be tagged as indecent.

Becky said...

amen typh!! i wish you could have seen me this morning. i would walk out of the house looking like you do in this picture. now me this morning, or any morning...oh sister. if i DID walk out looking like that...i could be naked and have no worries about anyone trying to nab me.

but i totally do the photo triple check.

Jennifer said...

Um...ridiculous. Not sure I understand your need for a triple check if you're looking this smokin' right out of bed. :)

Cameron Clark said...

For Goodness sakes!!! All you women paying compliments to Kristen because she possess something you wish YOU had. She does have great skin, but the bigger point is being missed....maybe.

Here's a male perspective, and I hope all you chicas out there take note. Men, in general, do not expect you to be perfect. Not to look perfect, act perfect, or seem perfect. The men that end up being worth your time want you for who you are.

I don't think, as some have suggested (not Kristen), that the male gender is responsible for women spending monstrous amounts of time preening in front of the mirror. Someone somewhere, who was likely not a man, taught what was expected of you as a woman.

When there is a courtship going on, guys aren't most impressed with your "first date" personae. They want you to be YOU. The real you.

I can't tell you how many of my friends (myself included) have been hoodwinked by the girl who does and says all the right things during the early courtship, but when it gets serious a whole new woman emerges.

One of my best friends in the world got the rawest end of the deal, and not until the end of his marriage did he realize the extent of her guile and trickery. It's a guy's worst nightmare...taken in by a muse with no more personal depth than a kiddie pool.

I was in a longterm relationship with a girl that was never herself around me. She deferred EVERYTHING to me, conforming to my every thought. It was terrible, and it ended badly, which was totally my fault. Without digressing into that morbid piece of personal history, of which I am not proud, I can say that I never really knew who she was or what she wanted from me other than a house and children with ridiculous names.

A good guy, who wants a partner (not a sycophant) really needs to see ONE thing before he gets serious: A girl walk around comfortably in sweatpants and a tank top, no make-up, and her to be comfortable with it. Not apologizing every couple of seconds and covering up her face.

So, the total summation game, match point is this....

"All the girls walk by, dressed up for each other."- John Mellencamp

Girls perpetuate the cycle of this unrealistic physical perfection. The man who loves you thinks you're perfect anyway.'re beautiful, and A.J. doesn't comparison shop. He loves you. I'm sure he thinks your skin is fine.

Nikki, same thing. Nate thinks you're the best thing ever. Don't put down his love for you by putting yourself down.

Other girls, I don't know what your deal is, but I'm sure there are insecurities enough to fill several football stadiums from this page alone.

The guys you're with should love you for who you are. If the guy doesn't know the real you, I doubt it's his fault.

I would love to see some dialog on this. If I'm wrong, I will shut up, and it will be a shame that stains my house forever.

Tiffany said...


I think what we’re dealing with here is the very different ways in which men and women tell their friends that they love them: men make fun of each other; women make fun of themselves in a way that highlights the other person.

Guys like to harass each other and, frankly, do so in a way that would make most women cry. In fact, we have a code in our house that if the teasing is starting to be too much, I tell A.J. he’s doing “boy teasing” and that means I’d like him to lay off. I know he doesn’t mean anything by it; in fact, it’s a way he’s showing me he loves me. Men tend to show affection and appreciation for each other by teasing each other. That’s just how it is. Perhaps it’s some primal way of signaling that you’re part of the tribe or community because you understand the good feelings being conveyed by the harassment rather than construing it as hostility.

For women, we tend to show our affection by pointing out a unique or noteworthy aspect of another woman and the way we are best able to show that we value it is by highlighting our reciprocal lack. Kristen is a naturally gorgeous woman, and I’ve always envied her skin. I’ve told her this before – even through college I was just always so amazed by how beautifully flawless her face was. This was something I placed a high value on since I had to do a nightly regimen of astringent and Clearasil and still ended up with ugly blotches. I could appreciate what she had and hoped that she appreciated it, too, because it was a real gift.

I think that most of the women who are reading Kristen’s site are very comfortable in their own skin. Of course there are things everyone would like to change about themselves, but we tend to show our love for each other by highlighting a trait that makes that person stand out. Becky, who also commented above, has naturally gorgeous hair, for example. I always tell her I have hair-envy when she posts a picture with a cute new style. I don’t do that because I have a bad self image; I do that to signal to her that I acknowledge a blessing she has been given.

You know what a good feeling it is when you’re walking through the mall and someone tells you that they like or your outfit, or that you look nice? (Okay – that’s pretty girly. Let me try something else.) You know when you’re walking through the mall and you see another guy checking out your wife and he gives you the universal, “nice catch” nod? He’s not looking at her in a creepy way or anything, but he just recognizes that she’s a good-looking woman and he’s giving you Man-Props for being the one with her. That’s basically what we’re doing when we compliment other women in with good-hearted snarls, such as you read above.

We know men don’t expect us to be perfect. I read a survey several years ago that found more than 50% of women said they dressed the way they did for the approval of other women rather than for the approval of men, and I really think this is true. We are well aware that most of you really won’t care if the microscopic cerulean blue stripe in our pants matches perfectly with the cerulean cashmere sweater that we found as a late-season return in our exact size on the Banana Republic return rack and snagged for $12.97 even though it was originally $78.99. Seriously – you probably stopped reading that sentence halfway through. Men don’t care about that stuff. But the other women in the office will squeal over that story and regard you as a fashion maven prop, and then lament that we can’t find the right purple blouse to go with a certain pair of pants and we’ve been looking for three years now. It’s a way of connecting with and congratulating someone by demonstrating empathy and acknowledging their good fortune.

Of course there are some women for whom this isn’t true and there are a lot of crazy, shallow, beauty-obsessed and catastrophically insecure women out there; but I think what I explained in the paragraph above is true for most of the women here. We are confident and love ourselves and the multitude of blessings God has given each of us, and we salute another one of our number by highlighting something extra-special about her in acknowledging her superiority in that area. Kristen has a real, natural, and un-enhanced beauty and we’re simply tipping our proverbial hats to that. We love that she doesn’t feel the need to get all made-up.

I guess I see it as similar to if you published the first draft of a piece of writing without any spell-checking or grammar checking or even rereading to see if it made sense – you just put it out there the second it hit the screen. And here’s the kicker: it was great. It read well, made a good and complex argument, and was free from typos. If you pointed out the conditions of its composition, your readers would give you electronic high-fives for producing such a great document in no time at all, when it takes most people multiple reads and hours of thought to create a piece like that. The people who compliment you don’t necessarily hate their own writing; they are just impressed by how great yours is without any of the tweaking most of us require in order to be comfortable enough to allow ourselves to share something that is such a reflection upon ourselves.

Speaking of writing, I’m not sure that I’m even making any sense anymore so I am going to sign off now. But I hope that somewhere in this, you found an answer to your questions and maybe even the dialogue you were looking for.