Right, a proper fashion, femmtastic, gushy-girlie blog post for a change. Well, actually not quite, but I want to show the difference her smile makes.
See, if I was suddenly revealed to my friends and work-colleagues tomorrow 80% of them would deny it. Partly because of the sheer magic and skill of Cindy at BWBGs, but mostly because him, drab me, never smiles in a photo.
Amusingly my friends now treat it as the absolute norm – I have one friend who delights in telling me my smile lights up her life every time I post a picture of him on his Facebook, as I always look grim.
Yet, going through ‘her’ photos, it becomes apparent that she loves playing dress-up, to the point that nigh on every photo has a broad, warm, feminine smile. And that’s mildly disconcerting, again partly because seeing her face lighting up looks nothing like the world weary person she is on the inside, but mostly because I’m starting to think that actually she is the inside, and he is the scabby, war-damaged, cynical, world-weary shell she uses to stop people guessing she exists.
Ooo, diving into self-awareness there for a second, can’t have any of that.
But it wasn’t always like that. When I first started dressing in anger I convinced myself smiling didn’t work for me. Have a look at this picture from, gasp, 1992. Almost thirty years ago….
‘Terrified rabbit caught in headlights look’. Nailed it.
Oh what the heck, let’s have another one from circa 1994, a mere twenty-five years ago…
Again, too terrified to smile.
When I started exploring Sarah again after the massive chunk of my mid-life where I had put her, permanently I thought, to bed, she didn’t smile in photos either. I was terrified I’d look wrong, smiling not being something I was that good at or had had a lot of experience of, at least genuinely smiling. Yet over time she thawed, and now, well, you can see from the pictures in this post that I can’t hold the happiness in any more.
So what makes it make her smile so much? For a start it’s delight, there’s something gorgeous wonderful, to me at least, about submerging myself into her world, passing her the keys to the body for a while, and letting all the aspects sink in. The smell of perfume, knowing it’s on my neck and wrists. The tightness of the bra straps on my shoulders. The way my middle goes in, courtesy of a tight corset, my hips flare out. The weight on my chest that pushes the fabric of my dress out. The taste of lipstick, that lovely heavy feeling in your eyelids from the glued lashes pulling down, the weight on my earlobes from the earrings she wears, the odd yet ultimately satisfying feel of the superglue drying beneath her false nails.
Yeah, it’s easy to work out why she smiles so much. But it’s something else as well. The makeup hides him, almost perfectly, and the smile is something that is rarely on his face. So she looks nothing like him.
When my other half (accidentally) found out and I showed her some of the pictures, and this is going back a little bit before Sarah really found her place in the world, there were some where my other half would say ‘I can see you, just about’. Yet the ones with a smile, she’d always say ‘I don’t know who that girl is, I don’t see any of you in her’. And that gave me way more of a thrill than it should have done.
So smiling is hers, being grim and unapproachable is his. And, with that in mind, let’s have a little bit of bird spotting, or at least a field-guide to the smiles of Ms.Sarah Lewis…..
1: The Often-Spotted ‘I know what you’re thinking’ smile.
I *love* it when she puts a finger nail in her mouth, it’s just so damn cute and winsome, and it makes me warm inside in a way that is probably a little naughty. Anyway, this is a knowing smile that extends to her eyes. No acting there, just an occasional flash of the man buried way deep inside realising how she looks and knowing what to do to tweak the intended response from another red-blooded man.
Plus it’s just so damn cute.
2: ‘Miss Demure’, a gentle smile reserved for the best of friends
It’s easy to channel demure when you’re frocked up in a 1940’s Hostess dress. That era just exudes demure women and hey, when in Rome and all that. Oddly enough I don’t smile like this a lot – I don’t have the whitest of teeth (gasp, take that back, etc etc) and when I started to pose and find a look for retro Sarah I spent a lot of time doing this smile. Only issue is underneath I’m bursting with love and joy and just want to beam it, so when you see a picture like this I’m barely holding it in, and sometimes it shows.
3: ‘Tits and Teeth’ darling, show the assets
Yes, it’s a sexist way of explaining it and if I was dressed in a torn t-shirt and jeans, scratching my stubble, downing a beer while leering at a well dressed woman and saying it I’d be the worst of the bigots. But…… when the woman is me I feel entitled to impose my masculinity upon her. And if she disagrees, I’ll just send her back to the kitchen to whip me up some lunch and a beer.
Anyway, insane self-abuse aside, I really like this kind of smile. I do do a *much* more exaggerated version which, cough, I also find seriously attractive, even if it has that ‘Vegas’ showgirl falseness about it. Because that ‘Vegas’ showgirl falseness is something that is seriously erotic…..
Yeah, that one. You *know* she’s putting it on but hell, still drives the guys wild.
4: The Bedroom Smile
I love this one. It’s the ‘slightly not so sure of herself’ smile, reserved for when she hasn’t quite caught the question she’s been asked or, in the case of some friends/admirers, she’s heard the question but is pretty sure that’s not what they meant to ask her.
Anyway, it’s a sweet smile that says she’s happy but not entirely sure why.
5: The ‘hard to contain’ smile
Again, this is such a sweet smile. You can see she can hardly believe she is where she is, and it comes out of her in waves. Most of the smiles Sarah has in photos are genuine, basking in the moment, but this one is a little more, it’s a genuine love of where she is, and who she is, and it is something that can’t be hidden. For that, I love it.
6: An inner-pleasure smile
This is one that is very telling of just how much fun she has playing dress-up. For a start, her eyes are closed, meaning she can’t see herself in the big posing mirror Cindy has in her studio, so it’s a very raw and honest smile. Also, it’s not a ‘toothy’ smile, just a slightly open mouthed smile that is a little cute.
Again, sorry for the self-reverence but wow, it’s nice to stare at these with his eyes on, not looking for flaws but letting the picture just flow over him. He likes her smile in this one, a lot. Plus he wants to sneak a kiss, but that’s a whole other blog-post of oddness.
7: Her Mother’s Smile
Now this one is a little sad. My mother was, well, all cards on the table, not a nice person. In fact, between the mental warfare/torture she put myself and my sister through, combined with her passive-aggressive dominance over my father, who then took his anger and frustration out on his kids, it’s pretty safe to say that my mother made me the woman I am today. I even managed to type that with a straight face.
No, what’s sad about this is that picture is *exactly* how my mother would have looked if she had smiled in a genuine way. That’s exactly the kind of dress my mother wore in the 1980s, her hairstyle, even, to a certain extent, the type of makeup she’d wear. You can see her genetic effect on me – put a picture of her with that kind of hairstyle next to this one and I look like her sister, albeit a slightly older one.
A smile like that would have made her face a lot warmer. I love that Sarah can be happy, looking like her. Plus if I squint it actually looks like my mother is smiling at me. And then I realise of course it’s me rather than her 😉
So, long story short, Sarah smiles a lot. I get the feeling she’s making up for his inability to show happiness, which is good for her and good for him. And a smile makes her a lot prettier. I mean, when she doesn’t smile she doesn’t look at all attractive….
Ahh, maybe not….
Stay beautiful, remember to smile for those who love you, and smile for yourself whenever you can.
Oh go on, just one more then….