Wednesday, April 26, 2006

my vanity

I find it so ironic that this palsy thing is happening to me right now. Just as I am starting to feel quite the dish with my blonde hair, just after I have written an entire chapter about "becoming the stereotype," about "living the dream," and about all of a sudden, being "pretty" in a way that I thought I could be.

A few weeks ago, while I was writing away in my room in an attempt to tighten up my first stab at actual chapters, my hot gay roommate, Michael, was watching a horrifying/fascinating show on The Discovery Channel. It was called Face Eating Tumors (thought I believe it is now being re-aired as Face Saving Surgery, most likely because of the many bloggers who ranted about the awfulness of the title, and whose posts turn up in a long, angry list when you google the aforementioned appellation.) It was the tragic tale of a little five-year-old Indonesian boy whose face was disfigured by, you guessed it, face-eating tumors. I'm talking tumors the size of golf and tennis balls. I know because Michael kept calling me into the living room to watch, despite my repeated explanations that I don't have the stomach for that type of show.

MICHAEL: Kitty! KITTY! Oh my GOD, have to come watch this.
ME: Ohhh...I can't! I can't watch those surgery've got the wrong twin, that stuff's for Undercover Brother, not me.
MICHAEL: Oh...oh, ew, that's soooo have to see this! Come on, just come in here for one second!
ME: I can't! It's going to give me bad dreams. Didn't I tell you that I can't even watch the X-Files without having nightmares?
MICHAEL: Look, I know you're busy, writing that book about being all hot and blonde and stuff, but you have to see's intense...
ME: Are you crying???

He had a point. What's five minutes away from the blonde?

The next show, from which we both couldn't tear ourselves away was called Born Without A Face. This show is about a toddler who was, you guessed it, born without a face. Two shows, opposite problems: one kid has too much face, the other doesn't have enough, I see how their program director thinks. This little girl was born with no upper jaw, no cheekbones, no eye sockets, and the corner of her ear is missing. This show is being re-aired as well; you can see for yourself.

After some time, I went crawling back to my room, to write more in my Blonde Log about the sexually harassing comments that I'd heard that day. Comments that this young toddler girl, who walked and talked just like an adorable little cutie, who waved at mommy and was delighted by her own image in the mirror like any other toddler, would probably never hear.

And as for the Indonesian boy, well, I missed that part of the show, but Michael told me that people in his native village screamed and howled and hollered at him when he walked down the street with his daddy, because his deformed, disfigured, grotesque face must be an indication that he was deeply evil.

These shows have stuck with me since that night, long after Michael turned off the TV and went out to meet his boyfriend for a drink, leaving me alone in the apartment to ruminate, long after I closed my laptop for the evening and tucked into bed. I have been thinking constantly since then about how lucky I have it, thanking god (or whomever) that I have two legs when I see a three-legged dog bopping down the street, and reminding myself that I'm fortunate to have a face at all whenever I start to fret over the wrinkle that's forming between my brows.

I've also been thinking about my own vanity, and about the importance of retaining my humility in my quest to see if blondes have more fun. Kind of obsessively, actually.

And now, here I am with my own facial problem. A palsy of my very own.


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