Look at me! Look at me!

I posted a picture of myself in the margin of the blog Wednesday. I don’t like pictures of myself. I never have. They just don’t seem to look like how I think I look, which cannot be the case but still they make me blanch.

But last week when I posted my party pic a few folks referred to me as elusive and mysterious. I wasn’t being coy; I wasn’t hiding. It’s just not about me. I’m a middle-aged, medium height, middle income wife and mother of three living in middle America. I didn’t go to design school, am not a designer or a design historian.
I’m curious. I’m interested, but not interesting. Men talk around me at dinner parties all the time. Or ask, “How are the boys?” Fairly indistinguishable, there are thousands of women just like me everywhere. There are a dozen in your building or neighborhood. Still, after the comments I thought maybe it’s odd to hear the voice but not see the speaker.
I was 4’10” in eighth grade. Paul Steiner deemed me president of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. Right before my freshman year I received a tragic Dorothy Hamill haircut. The only date I had in high school was to my senior prom and that was with a friend. You are welcome to comment away on how I look, but believe me, I’ve heard it all before.
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45 thoughts on “Look at me! Look at me!

  1. If men talk around you at dinner parties, they're missing a great conversationalist.

    Cameras DO distort how people look in photos. It has to do with the lens shape, and the color reduction in the printing process. That's partly why really strong portrait photographers are so sought after.

  2. I think we may be sisters. Brown hair, medium height, size 8 shoe, nothing all that distinguishable. Except I have medium boobs–never got to be President of any Itty Bitty Committee…

  3. Patricia- Your current photo is gorgeous, and yes, it's much better than your freshman picture, but then again I think most of us look better in our 20s, 30s, and 40s than we did in high school. Ditto for me on the high school dating situation, which might explain why I know so much about 1980s tv shows- I stayed home a lot. I would just say we were late bloomers!

  4. Suzannah – I was a late bloomer in nearly every way. Let's just say everything developed to my advantage.

  5. I hate pictures of myself as well, and probably for the same reason – what I see in the mirror doesn't seem to be what the photographs show! I am somewhat less critical when they are professionally done.

    It is nice to see you! I think you look great, friendly, warm and someone I'd love to sit and chat with!

  6. I like the photo on your sidebar very much. You look like the photographer caught you by surprise and you're a little self-concious about being the subject. But charming and gracious nonetheless.
    Now, if you want to talk about high school photos and late-blooming… I hope you got your braces off before I did… still had them for my senior portrait. Not a good look for me!

  7. In photographs and life it's not about where you start, but where you end up. I suspect there's little you'd change about where you are now. That's the ultimate win.

  8. Not true. You are one of the more interesting people I know, and you can really rock a string of chunky turquoise beads (and riding boots, too.) I think some fashion sense must have been there all along.

  9. Living well is the best revenge. Those who criticize others usually don't like themselves very much. Live on, Mrs. B.

  10. "They just don't seem to look how I think I look…"
    They must not.
    Because I saw you quite often back then – and that's not how I remember you looking. I would believe that the person in the ID photo was one of the suckers who purchased an elevator pass the day it was taken – but not be so easily convinced that it is a photo of my sister's best friend…who I always saw as being so stylish and put together.
    4'11? Really? I guess I didn't see that either. (Maybe because you always walked on your toes… ;-)) but likely because you just knew early on how to carry yourself so gracefully.

  11. Yeah you're so uninteresting… I eagerly jump on your blog to not just see your style & savy come to light once again but also to read your curve of your words.
    If I was in KC I'd likely be stalking you because you're a great woman & those men who talk around you…frankly their self involved buffoons.
    You rock!!! Case closed.

  12. Cute then but oh-so-chic now. Aren't we all glad that there are definitely things and people that get better with age?

  13. Perhaps the men who talk around you are interested but realize that they are uninteresting and therefore not worthy of your attention.

    Perhaps How about them Royals? is as interesting as they get.

    They are not your loss.

  14. Thank you all for your very kind comments. As for my dinner companions, mostly they are interested in "deals" and "the market." While those things are of note, they are very tedious dinner conversation. I'm happy to bide my time with the soup.

  15. Patricia! LOL!!! I roared when I read/saw this blog. I have a drawer full of photos like these too. You brought a tear to my eye… from laughing to hard. God love ya honey.

  16. You are a beautiful woman inside and out! I can still hear the comments made when I was in 8th grade at St Pius that caused mt to shave my legs w/o Mother's permission…

  17. boy, can I relate! I love that picture. I went through an ugly duckling/swan transformation via hair straightening and contact lens and tweezed eyebrows. If i was as brave as you, I would post those pictures!!! love love love you.

  18. You look stunning in that party pic by the way…and weren't we all slighly more awkward at school? I know I was.

  19. Oh my God, we were all Plain Janes. You've seen the high school pictures of movie stars. Tom Cruise comes to mind – whoa, no thank you. As Clark Gable's wife said about him "he's no Clark Gable."

    In the years when boys determined what I was worth I was always too tall and too flat cheasted. So while the boys married themselves off to busty blond bimbos I played my best card and got my doctorate, established myself professionally and became financially secure.

    Now I live with a man who is knock down gorgous, has a PhD in biochemistry and adores me. Blondy still lives down at the trailer court with her 6 kids and her 4th husband. Bless her heart and thank God it isn't me.

    In the first trimester of a woman's life her power is in her appearance, in the second trimester it is in her brains and in the third trimester it is her money.

    I hope the people who read your blog realize what you and I both figured out that it ain't whatcha got it's what you do with it. Ann

  20. You are charming! As for not having many dates in high school, Tina Fey once said the greatest thing about that. Speaking as a "late bloomer", she commented that she felt so lucky because other girls had to suffer through the sloppy kisses and silly teddy bear gifts while they were in high school. She said as far as she was concerned, they were all practice for the boys. She didn't get the guys until she was in her thirties, when they knew how to kiss and what women wanted. I have to agree. As I look back on a mostly dateless high school experience, I had so much more fun with my friends than the girls who holed up with boyfriends. And I ended up with one fabulous husband (sounds like you did too)!
    Your photo is great!

  21. Oh, if only I could find my eighth grade picture you would feel much better about yourself. I was told on several occasions what a handsome boy I was!! Even while wearing earrings and a skirt!! Just for the record I think you look cute!!

  22. Mrs. Blandings,

    Modest and gracious you always are. As for men talking around you, it's in their genetic code. Take no notice.

    And as for blooming, I think of it as life long. I am still in a state of bloom and suspect I will be till I wilt to the ground in a heap of, what I hope will be, loveliness.

  23. I may need to plagiarize this for my blog. Same boat.

    That said, you are nooooo wallflower my dear.

  24. Fortunately for all of us loyal readers, you are both interested and interesting. Not to mention inspiring and entertaining.

  25. Hi Mrs.B,

    Been meaning to come by since listening to you on the Skirted Roundtable. I visited you many moons ago but didn't come by for quite some time.

    This is a very sweet post – I often feel very mediocre in the big old world, especially this blog world where everyone is accomlishing so much. I have been a blogger for 3 years but don't have your readership. I am an engineer by day, a partner and a daughter, voracious reader, funny pundit on lots of things. I can cook well, I'm good at sports, have a keen fashion sense and have a knack for decor. But when I get measured against all the societal things, I feel very Medium. Even though I am very gifted and incredible (just like you!).

    But then I realized that I am not mediocre if judged by the right measures, and especially when judged by the sum of my parts! The same holds for you, I'm sure. Writer, mother, decorator, beauty…what a list of accomplishments, even if you do them only half-way some days.

    Love the author photo…! Now going to read several dozen posts I missed….

  26. If I attended Bishop Kelley High School, I would have been your best friend- but that indeed was not the case. Lucky me to count you as a dear friend and let me just set the record straight, there is nothing middle about you.

  27. I love how you've kept this High School ID card, a bit like my 1989 Driver's Licence that I still keep tucked away in my pocketbook. It is the only half-pie decent photo ever taken of me, & it's been a big downward slide in the photo dept. ever since. May we canvas Mr. B's opinion on your post subject Patricia, I do believe he may beg to differ on your harsh self-assessment.
    Millie ^_^

  28. There is a great section in Katharine Graham's autobiography regarding men (Kennedy's circle) talking around her. Where she was clearly there intellectual equal. B. Walters mentions this excerpt, too, in her autobiography. Along with Barbara Leaming's 'Mrs. Kennedy,' there is no better beach/mountain reading for me.

  29. Raising my hand back here. Patricia, I'm DY-ing at that photo. Seriously, that's some funny stuff.

    but honestly, you were sort of a stylish gal back in college as I remember you: 501s, white shirt (collar up) and red cowboy boots. And,you ended up being enviably, tall and leggy, whatever your height was in 8th grade. More than I can say for myself!

  30. This is FABULOUSLY hysterical! As my mother says…
    "Early bloom, early rot!" Be grateful… you are finally in full flower! And if it makes you feel better… I had the same Dorothy Hamil haircut, and trust me… yours is MUCH better 😉

  31. Patricia!!!! You are extremely interesting, talented, and charming. Kansas City men, on the whole (I am so sorry to say) are bores and boring.

  32. i love your picture, in the right column and in high school. i also love that you still have your high school ID!

  33. I think embracing your quirks make you so adorable…. I love your quirky look… its why streisand never had a nose job! I love that you posted this… I detest my pictures…. my son looked at my driver's license yesterday and said …. oh my god… its beastly! I had gone to get my car inspected early one morning and was NOT intending to get my picture taken… but my license had expired one day prior and that was not a good picture day for sure. I can't even bear to look at it…. and I never think I look like my pictures… denial? LOL

  34. I would be your friend if we sat next to one another on an aeroplane. If it was a trans-atlantic flight & we were Business Class or better we would have new life-long friends.

    As Oprah would say, "Dude, I know this much is true".

    As ever, you & your blog are lovely.

    Your Friend,

    P.S. Ninety percent of the planet looks like that in middle school.

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