Monday, March 17, 2014

Not-so-sweet 16

Ah, Facebook. A high school friend was tagged in a scanned copy of our school literary magazine's yearbook photo, which alerted me to its social-media presence. At first I wasn't sure I was in the group photo, but yesterday several friends and, more definitively, my husband, confirmed. It's from either my sophomore or junior year, making me 15 or 16 at the time. (I presume WWPD has an international audience - a very glamorous one at that - that might need this spelled out.) I can tell it's not my senior year in part because of the presence of students I know graduated before me, but also because I must have looked better than that by 17. At least that's my recollection.

'Hi, I'm on the school literary magazine! Please read my thinly-veiled short stories about unrequited crushes!'

It's hard to explain exactly what was most unimpressive about my appearance at whatever age this was. (I'm estimating 16; 15 was worse, and involved glitter barrettes.) I looked a bit fatter then than I do now, going by this photo, but probably weighed the same - the well-known phenomenon of "baby face." I don't think I still own that exact sweater, but wouldn't rule it out, and in any case still dress like that. I haven't found drastically better things to do with my hair. The eyebrows look a bit 1990s-tadpole, but that's to be expected. None of the clichéd adolescent complaints (acne, braces, bad glasses). 

No, it's the expression. The face that radiates no life experience, and so, so much awkwardness. While I may not look better at 30 than at 23, and while no age thus far has left me looking like a supermodel, there's something nice about knowing that whichever ravages of ancientness have yet to reduce me to looking as I did at 16.

Let this post be a lesson to the pop-evo-psych-PUA contingent, who insist that women peak while still technically girls, and that it's downhill from 16 on. This may be true of the handful who go into runway modeling at that age. Not so the rest of us.


Miss Self-Important said...

High school literary magazines: the reason that we are grateful the internet didn't exist before 2000. however much it may have improved life since.

Phoebe said...

Ooh, yes. A photo from those days I can handle. The fiction itself, however...