Posted by: King Bee | August 8, 2006

My mind goes wandering…

When you are being dragged, let go of the leash.
Cynthia Copeland Lewis

I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking when they photoshop their photos into an unrecognizable version of themselves and expect to meet in real life. I came across someone’s profile the other day on myspace and for both of his profile photos, he has photoshopped himself a new shade of blemish free skin, porcelain white teeth and most shockingly an entire new nose. Then for the cherry on top, he added a hint of sparkle to his eyes and a lighting affect over his head that looked as though it was a reflection from his halo. But if you click through to his friend’s page from his top 8, there waiting for you are a plethora of untouched photos of him.

His skin is suddenly riddled with errors. His teeth suddenly not so blinding. In fact he seems dim as there is no longer a halo showering light from above his head. And most disturbing, his nose is that of a pre-surgery Michael Jackson (if you can remember back that far). What I want to know is, what is he thinking will happen when he meets someone in person after being introduced via his profile? That person has declared an attraction for the photographic representation he has presented. How does he explain his “new” appearance when he walks through the door? Recognizing the importance of first impressions, how can that relationship ever go anywhere when it’s genesis is a lie?

I know we all choose our best photos of ourselves for our profiles. We want the best version of ourselves to be on display. I get that. Look, I am plenty guilty of taking out a zit or two before I put up a pic and if I have more than one chin, there is no way it is being uploaded anywhere. But how can you completely change your nose and face and want someone to find your normal self attractive when it is obvious you yourself don’t? And if you have made yourself so overly attractive and you are already not feeling that yourself is so hot, then aren’t you really setting yourself up for quite the ego blow when you are rejected?

But then the next question is- is it really that person’s fault for feeling so insecure about the way they look or is it the fault of everyone’s superficiality that makes them feel they aren’t good enough and causing their insecurity in the first place? Shouldn’t we all be able to post our photos- as is, and have faith that we are good looking- as is? And that the right person out there will find us attractive- as is? That someone will want us thin, fat, bald, hairy or even with crooked teeth so long as we show an authentic and honest version of ourselves? That our personality can outshine our physical imperfections?

Seriously. What are your thoughts?


  1. You have made PLENty of great points…now if only he would teach his friend how to reduce the grotesque size of his ears…

  2. If only we lived in a perfect world. I guess that would be the answer huh? I’m very much afraid of posting my picture on myspace. In fact, it took me a long time to do so and I only did it because Joey Fatone was in the picture with me. I guess being made fun of as a child, teenager and young adult has carried my insecurity of my looks to adulthood. It’s a cruel world out there and I’d rather not post a picture of me that try to “doctor it up” to be someone I’m not. When you post on the internet you never know who is going to see it. That humiliation I can do without.

  3. Yes, it is absolutely a superficial world. The fact that we let our own insecurities take up residence only contributes to the whole pathetic shallowness of all of it. Everyone wants to be judged on personal merit rather than their looks, but more often than not, that just does not happen. I think this is about more than just appearances. I think it’s symptomatic of a society that would rather spend 30 minutes staring at something superficial and fluffy, rather than doing something to make this world better for his fellow man. We want to see the pretty people, not the “skin riddled with errors.” We want a smooth and easy life’s path, not one that has to endure hardship or to empathasize with the hardships of others. We, in general, are a cold, heartless society unsympathetic and unforgiving of mistakes or blemishes of any kind. So, to answer your question — no, there will be no blow to his ego. He already knows it’s coming. Why do you think he felt the need to doctor the picture in the first place? He doesn’t accept who he is. Until he does, he’s going to have a hard time finding someone to do the accepting FOR him. “Personality outshine physical imperfections?” Unfortunately, far too many people get stuck judging a book by its cover. They don’t even bother to see what’s inside. Sure, he’s insecure, but in some sense… aren’t we all?

  4. i don’t know about placing the “fault” on society or on the person about their insecurities. it’s a mixed bag or a loaded gun or whatever phrase best fits here. but i do know that purposely misrepresenting yourself in the hopes to meet people knowing full well you will look entirely different when meeting in person is lying. and that kind of person will probably blame his/her looks for why they are alone but it probably has a hell of a lot more to do with the fact that they a) don’t like themselves and b) lie.

  5. ms. sizzle is a wise woman. I agree, I know I can love someone with physical faults but I am not up to loving a liar that doesn’t like himself.

  6. I think this isn’t an easy issue to pin down.

    On one hand, yes the person who posts an altered pic is lying. Yes, they are probably lying becuase they do not feel good about themselves.

    But I think Bob’s point is what do they think will happen if the they meet in real life.

    I think that these people have been duped by “mainstream” society on SO MANY levels, and they aren’t really thinking.

    First, they think that everyone is SO image obsessed that they wouldn’t meet someone who may not be physically ideal, so they doctor the photo.

    Second, they believe that whatever bond they from online will overcome any misrepresentations they may have made about their appearance.

    The only way to really stop this is to stop all of our behaviors that lead to it.

    1) Teach our kids to respect themselves for who they are. Everyone is gorgeous in their own way.

    2) Help the people around us change how hey view themselves and others. Stop buying into the media hype about being perfect and just start being genuine.

    Ok, now I’ll get down off my soap box.

    See you in SJ on the 26th Bob.
    Mark Shaw

  7. Ohh the horror of the “on line pic post”! Does one post a mediocre pic. hoping the intended is pleasantly suprised in person, or does one post the best pic afraid that a mediocre pic will never catch the eye of the intended?
    Ultimatly it is what we are inside that will bewitch and enchant… There is no photoshop that can airbrush ones lack of self-esteem.
    As a man who prefers laugh lines to an unfurrowed brow, I still own a wide aray of alpha-hydroxy and one strange potion of placental extract and amniotic fluid, they are are skin re-surfacers, not confidance boosters…
    Maybe it is time to lay down people magazine, and listen to the people in our worlds who love us! Bob I admire you! It would be so simple to write your encounter off, instead you search your soul for the deeper human element at work here. Well done!

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