G is completely, entirely, and blissfully oblivious to pop culture and celebrity stardom. Britney Spears could give him a lap dance and he’d walk away thinking it was just some limber blonde trying to eek out a living. I, on the other hand, can ace every one of those magazine games in which one must identify the star based on a photo of half of her left nostril. Movies were my hobby before children! I just love that whole shiny and Botoxy sphere – it represents something mindless and relaxing that gives me 45 seconds of me-time in my day. It stems from a dark time in college when I was failing Organic Chemistry. I would escape to the campus bookstore every Friday to read the latest issue of US Weekly cover to cover while standing in the back of the store because I was, of course, too broke to actually buy it. It was a free and easy portal to escape molecular structures and Kirksville, Missouri.
I realized that G had no place in this world after I started dating him and perused his DVD collection – scratch that, VHS collection – which included the very modern choices of The Jungle Book, Her Alibi, and an unnatural amount of movies starring Adam Sandler. I got my first ‘compliment’ from him whilst taking a ‘lover’s stroll’ up the Hudson River one day. He looked at me and said, “You know which actress you look like…..”
Come on, ladies, you know your breath catches a little when that statement is uttered. Even if it makes no Godly sense given you’re an all-around-average gal, you want to hear Penelope Cruz, or Audrey Tautou, or Halle Berry. Fine, I’ll settle for Jennifer Aniston or Julia Roberts.
So, as I am staring into his eyes, hoping to be bowled over by the breathtaking Hollywood actress he is surely about to liken me to, he says:
[Override impulse to pull a Linda Hamilton and waste him like in Terminator].
It’s not that she’s not pretty. It’s just that she’s…best known for wearing bandanas and wife beaters while toting ammunition. Plus, she has bigger biceps and jowls than most men I know. The actress I want to be equated to would never star in Children of the Corn. Plus, I’ve always compared him to great people, like a Kennedy or James Caviezel, who played JESUS! How much better can you get than the J.C.?!
He continued this track record of comparing me to celebrities that leave something to be desired after we married. We were watching Million Dollar Baby on opening weekend when he leaned over and said, “There’s something about Hilary Swank that really reminds me of you.” Oddly, my father called long-distance to relay the same sentiment. The scene that inspired this notion:
Okay, okay…she won an Oscar. She used to star in my all-time fave 90210 during the legit years. I like this. So when, months later, I encountered a strikingly beautiful photo of Ms. Swank, I coyly said to G, “Look, I’m in a magazine!”
He said, “Hmmmm….no, I don’t see it here.” And he said it a bit too definitively for my taste.
But when forced to watch Boys Don’t Cry, he painfully admitted to seeing a resemblence again. Moral of this story, I resemble Hilary Swank ONLY when she packs on 25 pounds to play poor white trash who wears no makeup or desires to be a man. Great!
So you can only imagine my trepidation when G arrived home from work on Friday, after I’d enjoyed a much overdue appointment at the salon. Let me interject here, now that I have two babies and gray hairs are no longer a phenomenon as much as the State of the Union now, the salon is a BIG deal. I only get to go every 4 months or so, but it’s like God has given me a cut-the-line nod into Heaven when I cross the threshold of that cutting and coloring palace. I am like their favorite customer, too, because I’m just so absolutely, earth-shatteringly delighted to be there that I squeal over pleasantries like being asked if I’d like water, and I’ll consent to absolutely anything the man wielding scissors and a bowl full of bleach fancies. Blonder? Sure! Low lights? Why not! Bangs? Love it! Make me look like Jennifer Garner, I say, while positioning a photo of her in the mirror of my hair stylist.
Given that I specifically asked to look like Jennifer Garner, and when one pays money to be tranformed into a gorgeous Hollywood super star by her Fairy Godmother hair cutter, dammit that’s what she should get, I was not expecting the oh-so-classic reaction from G when confronted with my new banged out ‘do.
“Holy hair! You look like Rebecca De Mornay from The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.”
Here’s the crux of the issue. As women, we don’t just want to look like some famous actress who’s known only superficially for some kind of look. If that were the case, we’d all want to be Sharon Stone or Heidi Montag. We go a little deeper than that; We consider the actress holistically and wholly. We look at the kinds of movies she stars in. Extra points to the ones who balance offbeat indie films with chick flicks that make us cry (Holla, Rachel McAdams!). The way she dresses, the way she answers questions, the partner she has, and the way she raises her kids informs our appraisal of her. We look at the Hollywood company she keeps, and the places she dines, and the jogging shoes she wears. We say, “I just know we would be friends if we got to meet.” This is why we all gravitate to women like Reese, Julia, Sandra, and Katherine. So, for me anyway, I don’t want to be compared to any actresses known for:
a) Pumping bullets into the chests of robots before slipping into obscurity without even a memorable infomercial
b) Eating chicken fried steaks before pounding a punching bag
c) Breastfeeding some other woman’s baby
But, hey, at least he noticed that something was different about my hair. Usually I have to do my best imitations of a Pantene commercial with all that slo-mo hair swinging before he might say, “are you working out a crick in your neck or something?