Since I hit forty, I have this tendency to pull a very peculiar pout with my mouth when anyone asks me to pose for photographs, and I end up looking like a duck.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I do know from where this problem emanates. You see, unlike the majority of women who have body image issues associated with their stomachs or thighs, my problem area is my chin.
It’s not like I don’t have a problem with my muffin top – it sleeps beside me on the mattress at night, and hangs appropriately over the top of my fugliest granny undies – but the difference is that I can conceal my baby belly with voluminous tops and dresses.
Whereas, other than wearing a Hijab or full-blown Burqa, it’s virtually impossible to disguise the size of my chin.
I realise that I sound as vain, vacuous and narcissistic as a Big Brother contestant, (and I admit to being all three where my chin is concerned), and I am aware that there are many people with physical disabilities and facial disfigurements out there. But we’re all allowed a self-indulgent moan occasionally about those little things about our bodies that don’t conform to society’s idea of female perfectionism and piss us off, daily.
To be honest, I got a reasonable set of legs and although the boobs are on the small side, they work. But I also inherited a tortoise neck set of chins that is so multi-layered in its complexity that there is no discerning indentation between my chin and neck.
So what I tend to do to distract the eye from this natural disfigurement when someone takes my photo, is one of two things. Either I lift my head up at such a ridiculously high angle to disguise it, that I end up looking like someone has just rammed a hot poker up my ass. (And of course I can’t possibly maintain that position all day, hence, hideous fugly photos suddenly threaten me on Facebook and I look to my friends like I should be a participant on the Biggest Loser).
Or I pull the duckface.
I have been told that the duckface does indeed draw attention away from my over-developed neck area, but unfortunately it also makes me look like I’ve been to the cheapest lip surgeon in Sydney.
Even when I lose weight, the chin remains stubbornly en masse. It is a persistent reminder of my father’s genes – and men definitely wear it better. NC has inherited the neck curse too and we have both learned that there are many things in this life that we dare not do – such as lying back in sultry poses, because our head to neck area shifts into one mass of very unattractive skin folds; or looking down.
In my defence, I CAN and DO live with this problem. But it becomes an issue in photos. I’m a ‘creative’ and I like to make a record of events and I think I take a good photo. I certainly take a lot of them. But if you looked through our online family photo album, you would think I died in childbirth. Most of the photos of me end up on the cutting room floor. When the family takes a photo of me, they take it at least ten times, muttering, ‘oh, dear!’ after each shot.
I know, just call me Dorian Grey.
I’ve wasted many hours in front of the Mac photo booth trying to get that ONE special photo that I can fake it with for the next ten years. And time is not on my side.
Make me feel better. Do you have an area of your body you hate?