At the end of last night’s Parochial Church Council meeting (think Vicar of Dibley if you want an idea what that’s all about) we were all required to have our photographs taken for the church website. I was
first in the queue.
I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like me - but the meeting had already gone over the time when Mr B was expecting me home and even
though there was footie on TV to keep him occupied, I knew he would start to fret when I didn’t turn up at the time written on his whiteboard. So there I was, all ready to take a seat in front of the blue display board which had been carefully positioned
to provide a standard backdrop to our mug shots.
If I’d known, I told the church warden (who was masquerading as a photographer for the occasion) I would
have washed my hair. I was only half joking - I had had an extremely early morning what with the arrival of (i) the Loft Insulation Team (though there was only one of him, so I’m not sure he could be considered a “team”) and (ii) the fella
from the local garage who was collecting my Grand Old Lady for her MOT. There had been little time that morning for more than a quick wash and the Brushing of Teeth. It was a good thing, I continued, as the church warden adjusted his lens, that I wasn’t
Which, again, wasn’t completely true. I have to admit that I do, after all, try hard not to be at the very front of family group photographs, because
I know in this position all my double chins will be on show. I like to stand at the back, where possible, so that nobody who views the happy scene will observe that I have, perhaps, put on a little weight since last they saw me.
On the other hand, I never ask family members to delete less than favourable photographs of me which they have posted on Facebook - even the ones that show me fast asleep on the sofa with my mouth
slightly, but unbecomingly, open. I don’t insist on slapping on the make-up, shaping my straggly eye-brows or applying a judicious smear of lippy whenever anyone points a camera at me - I am what I am. Which might, don’t you think, be a form of
vanity in itself...
I remember when I was about ten years old, catching myself gazing at my own reflection in a shop window and thinking how beautiful my hair
looked. So horrified was I at my own vanity that I immediately asked my mother to book me an appointment at the local hair salon where I had my lustrous locks cut short. It was a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Or, more accurately,
for “nose” read “hair.” Of course hair will grow again, unlike a nose...
“Try to look happy!” the churchwarden instructs me.
Obediently, I put on my best happy face.
“Not that happy!” he objects, recoiling somewhat (I’m assuming) at the sheer brilliance of my smile.
I struggle to achieve a face that is happy, but not too happy, one befitting a member of the esteemed Parochial Church Council. The churchwarden snaps away before giving me up as a bad job and calling up the next person in line to take the hot seat.
Now, here’s the thing - I didn’t ask to see the photographs he had taken of me. To do so, I felt, would prove that, despite all my protestations, I was a Very
Vain Person. It was a decision which may come back to haunt me when our photographs are eventually posted on the church website. Everyone else will look perfectly sane, at least compared with me. I mean, I didn’t even brush my hair before submitting
myself to the camera which, as everyone knows, never lies...
I shall just have to brazen it out, I suppose. If anybody comments - and, let’s face it, they
will probably be too kind to do so, I shall have my answer ready.
“Such a good likeness!” I will say, jauntily, waiting for (nay, expecting) them to
protest the opposite on my behalf.
I just hope I don’t have to wait too long...