~Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Letter from the Editor

My predecessor's face smiled at me from the upper-right corner of the Letter from the Editor page. She's pretty. She's very pretty. She has a boyfriend in TV I hear.

It's hard seeing who I'm replacing. With her facsimile of her appearance, I imagine she's also brilliant, and funny, and rich- everything I'm not. I already know she has natural style. For her photo she paired a black open-collared button-down with a chunky turquoise necklace. I don't own a chunky turquoise statement piece; the closest thing I have is a mock-vintage black beaded necklace from Ann Taylor.

My issue doesn't compare to hers. As far as journalistic integrity and proper grammar, I win. I can follow the rules like anybody else. But I think my writing lacks the flair hers had. I didn't insert any personal anecdotes. I didn't have time to come up with marketing genius wording, I was juggling too many projects and the deadline kind of snuck up on us all for that. My interviews are good. My ad copy is good. It's just going to have to be good enough.

I had my photo shoot for my editor's headshot today. I couldn't get an appointment with my stylist because of the holiday season. The photographer compensated by saying my dark roots looked punk rock. Awesome. I am so not punk rock. He said I smiled easily and he liked the shirt I wore: a raspberry two-in-one where it looks like I'm wearing a white collared shirt underneath from TJMaxx. But my nipples give the thinness of my shirt away because it's cold out today.

Now the graphic designer has my photo and he's asking since my smile is so cheeky—I'm not smirking, I just have big cheeks—does he have my permission to remove some lines on my face? Hell yes, he does. But then another graphic designer gets involved and I can hear them critique my photo, and thus also my appearance.

"Here's before," he zooms in on a cheek-induced crinkle below my eye. "Here's after," the crinkle has disappeared.

"I mean, the before isn't that bad," I hear the other designer remark.

"Hey, that's my face you're talking about!" I shout from my desk.

"Don't do too many touch ups though, it should look natural," the second desginer advises.

"Shut up, Chris!" I holler again.

Before I know it, the original designer is back at my desk and inspecting my face. He points to my lower lip, "Is that a beauty mark, or a blemish?" he asks.

So he must have noticed it on my photo. "It's a mole," I respond blandly.

"I better leave it then!" and he disappears back to his desk while I feel more and more like a monster.

A few minutes later, he shows me the photoshopped version. It looks like me, but I still don't like what I see. Each of my cheeks and my chin form a noticeable triangle around my smile. Maybe that's the human form, but it looks awkward on me. They say I look friendly and helpful in my photo, but all I see is a big face of awkward- the same as that 7th grader whose face hadn't caught up to her lips yet and sported braces and had cowlicks in her hair.

"I bet you took really great school photos," the designer remarks.

I think back to my 7th-grade self, "Nope."

I wonder if my predecessor will pick up the new issue of the magazine. I wonder if she'll stare at my photo now in the upper-right corner and I wonder what she'll think about me.


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