Will I Be Pretty? Will I Be Rich?In grade school, I rode the bus. I was shy, but brave and would often sit near the back where the cool, older kids always sat.
One day, I was sitting by a rebellious boy that I found to be very cute who was two years older than me, Michael Zuk. Mike noticed me peeling off a Band-Aid that was wrapped around my forefinger. It had been on so tight and so long that the skin underneath was wrinkled and white. It smelled wet.
I will never forget how Michael Zuk pointed at the small patch of my finger that was temporarily so white it was almost translucent. I will never forget it because he pointed to this tiny bit of skin and said, "See...you'd be so much prettier if you were white."
That's not the sad part of this memory. The saddest part is that I actually agreed with him. I even laughed along with his friend who chimed in with the offer to punch me in the nose so it might swell up and thus not be so flat.
This was before Bennetton ads and multiculti Madison Avenue. We were still enthralled with Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley. The hallways of my school were filled with blonde girls named Kristen who had Romanesque proboces and hair so shimmery it can only be recalled as flaxen. Girls who turned golden in the sun, not dirt brown.
Oh, how I longed to be a Kristen.
Of course, I shed most of those ridiculous insecurities not long after I walked away from that little hick town. My image concerns have shifted from the color of my surface to the amount and placement of fat in the layers below skin level.
Can't win for losing...or, however the saying goes.
Thanks to the internet, though, and this bizarrely entrancing Face Transformer tool I can now see what might have been if there had been a fairy godmother to grant my ridiculous epidermal wishes so many years ago. Thank god/buddha/allah/jeremiah the bullfrog there wasn't.
(Click this scary photo for versions of me in Afro-Caribbean, East Asian, Manga Cartoon and Mucha Painting)