Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't read this title yet - I want to re-do it.

I performed for an audience of plastic surgeons last night. I was the featured focus of attention in a room full of people who have had extensive training to find room for improvement in people's appearances.

Well c'mon, I couldn't help but be conscious of that, could I? I do know that it's a silly thing to focus on, though. It's like back before therapy became so common, when people would worry about how sane their answer made them sound if a psychiatrist so much as asked them what time it was. "Quarter past. The hour, I mean. Which is nine. It's a quarter past nine. I do have the full time here. Just like everybody else! Says nine fifteen. Right there. Would you like to see the watch? Oh okay, oh... wait. It's nine sixteen now. I'd like to note that the time did change while we were talking, and that I have never had any difficulty in assessing the correct hour. I am not a communist!" Pure self obsessive paranoia. It was a great show and the doctors enjoyed the entertainment. They weren't analyzing my bone structure and doing a comparative cost analysis against the price of water front property in Hawaii. Probably. Right?

Okay, so I'm not convinced. Actually, if we look at that analogy a little more closely it's really quite odd that we have stopped guarding against involuntary psychoanalysis, isn't it? Our worst fears there have become realized in full technicolor with surround sound. We were worried about degreed professionals trained in objectivity analyzing us? Hah! You can't even order a cup of coffee without a free personality assessment thrown in on the side these days. "Check out Mr. Decaf Soy Cappuccino over there. Today he wants chocolate sprinkles. Classic passive aggressive transference, that. I'm betting he had a fight with his mother." Now pretty much everybody considers themselves qualified to analyze every single thing we say, either on the virtue of having taken a handful of psychology classes in university or on the basis of something they heard somebody else who has taken a handful of psychology classes in university say on a talk show.

I guess we don't worry about whether or not other people think we're sane any more because we know nothing we can say is going to convince anybody that we are anyway. The saner we sound the more obvious it is we're in denial, after all. It's okay, though, because we know the people who think we're insane probably consider themselves to be exponentially more messed up. They only have access to the symptoms of our mental deficiencies when we're actually around to display them (excepting, of course, those of us who have taken the wise precaution of preserving them for future generations on a blog), but self criticism never takes a holiday.

Nothing's ever going to stop us from worrying about what other people think about how we look, though. Birth control, automotive transportation and the internet combined haven't had the impact on social evolution that the invention of the mirror did. I'm sure the first person to ever look their clear, undistorted reflection in the eye immediately hid in a closet until their mother could convince them to come out on the promise that nobody would laugh and there'd be chocolate pudding for dessert. That's not to suggest we don't have our priorities straight, though. Of course we know it's what's inside that counts.

Why else would we be so anxious to create a good distraction on the outside?

24 comments:

Tamara said...

I've got one for you - would you prefer to perform for a group of plastic surgeons, a company of models or surrounded by mirrors?

tattytiara said...

Oh I'll definitely take the surgeons. They were a fun group, but even if I didn't know that from performing for them already they'd still win. I'd be too busy critiquing my performance to actually get through it with mirrors, and since I'm only 5'3 and perform interactively more often than on a stage, being surrounded by models would be like trying to do an act from the bottom of a well.

Cinnamon said...

This is very funny! never thought about the invention of the mirror before...

blueviolet said...

I would imagine that they sized you up for improvements within the first 1/2 second and then it was forgotten. ;)

I'm glad it was such a great show.

Kate said...

I never really gave that much thought before.... great post.

Kate x

Gaston Studio said...

I'm going to be totally honest here and say that I haven't read your previous posts which would, most likely, explain this one, but I've had guests all week and since some were my grands, had no access to my computer!

So I'm going to just say what came to mind which is that we have all become armchair psychiatrists, haven't we?, and are too quick to judge others based only on what we see.

Not sure what your performance as about, but love the analogy of mirrors!

P.S. I totally understand if you use that little trash can icon on this comment. ;-)

♥ Braja said...

I don't know....I just like your titles. You rock.

I like plastic surgeons, since my accident. I turned 46 today but everyone around me SWEARS I only look 45....

Eva Gallant said...

"Self-criticism never takes a holiday." Isn't that the truth!

f1trey said...

did I miss something? what did you have done? is that too rude a question?
Honestly Im going to tell you that I applaud anyone who makes an attempt to brighten their appearance. because I do NOT subscribe to the "its only whats on the inside that counts" bit... I just DO NOT understand this philosophy..unless your a militant, christian....
When I buy a car ...looks dont count?? food....clothes..house.....?? where in the world did this philosphy develop???? It has NO basis in reality at all..but peoople say it all the time....

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I guess i am new enough to your blog that I don't know what kind of performance you do... video?

For some reason, I find photos more sobering thatn the mirror.. not sure why.

Brian Miller said...

ah, i would not worry about it...what do they know...i know i am sane...and thats alll that really matters...really, i am the only thing that matters...nothing is wrong with a little bit of ME...lol. nice one!

tattytiara said...

Didn't have anything done, f1 - they were my clients, I wasn't theirs, but thank you for your kind words! Likewise don't sweat it, Gaston. There really isn't any background to this. I'm in my insane season at work and not posting much m'self.

Fire Byrd said...

What a fantastic post, had me hooting with mirth, which I can tell you just between ourselves is not a pretty sight!
I've always been grateful that one of my qualifications has been Registered Mental(oh yes the missing word here is Nurse!)But who needs the last word!
xx

injaynesworld said...

As always, so interesting and well-written. And sanity? It's so over-rated.

blognut said...

I don't even worry about whether people think I'm sane or not; I just assume they'll know I am not and I get on with it. :)

HalfAsstic.com said...

Plastic surgeons, hu? That would bite... But not as much as a room of psychoanalysis judging everything you say. ;-)

Muthering Heights said...

Oh my stars...I would have been FAR less brave!

Debbie said...

Wow. That would definitely make me self-conscious to be in front of that group! Excellent post.

Liam said...

I have been in therapy off and on for six years. I haven't really taken notice if there is still a stigma attached to it.

Ron said...

Like others have shared, I freakin' LOVE your thoughts about the invention of the mirror, because it's SOOOO true!

The saner we sound the more obvious it is we're in denial.

THANK YOU...I agree.

I totally admit I'm insane, but I love it.

As far as what people think about I how look...

...yes, I can honestly say that I do care. I'm vain, what can I tell ya?!?!

GREAT post!

otin said...

And how we look all relates to sex and attraction! That was simple! LOL

Traci said...

You are so right. One of the reasons I started blogging was that I go ahead and reveal all those things that I try so hard to hide 98% of the day.

BTW, I would be completely self-concious in front of plastic surgeons. I think they would be licking their chops imagining me as their patient.

Glad you had a great show. I really miss performing.
:-)

♥ Braja said...

OH come on, where's the next post, dammit? You lazy wretch....

kys said...

I'd be afraid that they would start attacking me with their markers and drawing in cutting lines.

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