I was having a barbecue at the house of some relatively new friends the other month. The weather turned a little unpleasant so we took our nibbles and drinks and adjourned to the living room.
Taking pride of place above their fireplace was an enormous photograph of the lady of the house in her lingerie. I was taken aback for a few seconds and Melsie noticed I was looking at her portrait. I felt like I’d been sprung.
Melsie – “Do you love it Jase? Best thing I ever did, just for me”. She beamed with pride.
I couldn’t think of anything to say.
Me – “You look very… enthusiastic”. This was probably not the most complimentary word to choose.
I never really understood the upside of the whole portrait thing. Family shots I get, but a single photo of the family mum, displayed relatively publically, I just find a bit unusual. I know they are designed to make women feel beautiful, special and the process itself allows them to be spoiled for a day, which happens very rarely in their busy lives. But…
Nobody would ever accuse me of being a prude, ever. However, in this case I felt a tad awkward standing next to Melsie, her eleven and seven-year old daughters and her husband Phil, smiling as we all admired the massive photo. The likeness of Melsie was… provocative.
She had her hair teased up and blonded, her lips were bright red, glossy and were unusually Angelina Jolie like. She was wearing black lingerie (and a fur) and her ample cleavage was very much on display. Melsie was lying on what appeared to be a rose petal-strewn, heart-shaped bed!
Not only did Melsie look like one of Heidi Fleiss’s girls, but the portrait didn’t even resemble her. She was so teased, made-up, dyed and airbrushed, that I could barely recognise her. I’m pretty sure good old Phil feels like he has two women in his life. His lovely wife and mother Melsie, and her sexed up young doppelgänger “Melsie Sweet Stuff”.
I cannot see how it could do anything other than constantly hammer Melsie’s self-esteem. In the photo she looked fantastic, not a hair was out-of-place and not a wrinkle or blemish was present on her skin. She looked slim, young and passionate.
What must poor Melsie feel when she looks at herself in the mirror and sees her actual face – a normal woman’s face, a real face with a few crow’s feet, carrying a bit more weight than she probably wishes and looking her age. How is Melsie seriously meant to remain confident and energised when she has to constantly look at the “perfected”, Melsie Sweet Stuff version of herself every day?
Wouldn’t she feel that people (blokes in particular I suppose) will look at the portrait and think to themselves, she used to be such a hotty!
I suggest all portraits which are hung in living rooms should be designed to make the real person look good by comparison.
I saw a photo the other day of me at a birthday, dancing. It was a shocker and if I didn’t know better I’d swear I was fat and bald (I know, I know, I am fat and bald). That’s the photo I would have above my fireplace! One like my profile picture, that makes people say, you’re looking bloody good today.
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