A fond look back

By Mir
January 28, 2006

Sometimes you have to look a bit deeper to really understand a word’s true meaning in context. In this case, I don’t so much mean “fond” as “horrified,” but it’s an irony thing, you see. We writers do that, sometimes. We say one thing in order to imply another. It’s crazy! What’s next? I don’t know! Perhaps utter chaos!

A couple of women whom I admire greatly have recently bared their sordid pasts just to allow us a few moments of hilarity. First Jenn got out her big mall hair and hoop earrings, then Holly showed off her purple Disney glasses and Coolio hairdo. It’s a thing of beauty when us gals can share this way, don’t you think?

Well, I started digging around. You may wish to avert your eyes.

It turns out that I don’t seem to have any candids laying around from my childhood. They’re all in Ye Big Olde Family Album at my mother’s house, I suspect. I do have a number of my school pictures from elementary school, but other than a few unfortunate hairstyles and the obligatory frightening clothing choices of the 70s, there’s nothing too interesting there. I am smiling and toothy and clearly oblivious both to myself and the world around me.

No, I prefer to make fun of the Me Who Was Old Enough To Know Better.

I’d say the turning point was somewhere around 6th grade.

11 years old and about to be ruinedHere we see my picture from the start of the 6th grade year. It’s grainy, and small, but let me assure you right up front that yes, that’s my hair and not a puppy draped atop my head. You can also see that this was the beginning of a long stretch of turtleneck wearing, and–as was the style at the time–I would wear them under EVERYTHING. I only regret that I could not find my wannabe-preppie photo where I’m wearing a turtleneck UNDER a polo shirt (color turned up, natch!) UNDER an oxford. ANYWAY. Here I am, looking pixellated, but basically happy. Not too frightening.

Now, what you need to know is that I got glasses when I was 9. And I picked them out, and wore them for many years, and I loved them, and my mother–having better long-term vision than myself–always told me to take them off for pictures. So I almost always did. There is very little photographical evidence of what I thought was hip.

Student council or mug shot?Here we see the emergence of what I refer to as the Angry Mir period. It started around… oh… age 11, and lasted until… ummm… well, I’ll let you know when it’s over. Anyway, immortalized for all of history in this charming still of me inserted into the yearbook along with the other student council officers (student council! at age 11! so important! I vote for BENDY straws in the caf!) are both my glasses AND my impressive scowl. Also I appear to look like a 40-year-old chain smoker in this picture, for reasons I’m unclear about. I wish it wasn’t such an awful picture. You really want to behold the majesty of the gold-wire aviator glasses taking up half my face. Seriously.

Thankfully, in high school I went on to remember to take my glasses off for photos. But–alas–my hair continued to expand, as did my scowl. I cannot remember what I was pissed about in the junior high picture, but I clearly remember having had a spat with a boyfriend the day this picture was taken. Also I was probably still pissed that I’d gotten into Madrigals (the dweeb singing group) but not Vocal Jazz (the cool singing group). Or maybe I’d just been trying to detangle my hair. Hard to say, really.

I’d like to tell you that once I cleared high school, it was smooth sailing from there on out. But that would be a lie.

Would you like to see a touching photo from the rehearsal dinner before my wedding? Of course you would! And you can! Just clicky clicky right here! (Of course, now the truth comes out—now you all understand why I ended up divorced. He was a wonderful, sweet man… but his face… well… he was always so… I dunno… blurry.) ANYWAY. Check out my HAIR. It had been growing ever-larger since that high school shot, I tell you. And the GLASSES. They are asymmetrical! Which I thought was so cool! Except they are eating my face! Which apparently I had not noticed! Also please note that I appear to be approximately 15 in this photo, as I was a fetus on my wedding day.

SPEAKING of my wedding day, I have one more goodie for you! I must say, I look lovely for a toddler bride, do I not? Yes, I do. Except for the gigantic flowered headpiece veil thingie that was so freaking heavy it made my neck hurt, and I’d always wondered why, you know, but this picture makes it all clear. I thought it was just flowers and netting. I had no idea they’d stuck a wire hanger and an entire suit bag in there, too. Also, I had a lovely little bridal shower wherein I received any number of lingerie items that I never wore, but NO ONE THOUGHT TO GIVE ME A PAIR OF TWEEZERS. Sweet Mary mother of Jesus, did no one see that once I took my glasses off, my eyebrows were free to devour my face? Sheesh.

I hope you have enjoyed this stroll into my past as much as I have. There will be a ceremonial bonfire later, if anyone else would like to join in. Bring pictures!


  1. Jenn

    How is it exactly that you look older in the picture of you as an 11-year old than you do in the picture from your rehearsal dinner?

    Why were we all wearing gigantic glasses? Who exactlt decided that that was a good idea?

  2. Nancy

    I can sympathize with the big glasses and hair. I too went through it all. Maybe I’ll join in the craziness and post pictures of my own sordid past, which includes giant black framed glasses on a four year old. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. buffi

    I think I had the same gigantic asymetrical glasses. Who told me that my cheeks were myopic?

    I keep trying to destroy all photographic evidence of me wearing those glasses. I never thought of them making good blog fodder. Hmmmmm.

  4. Cori

    I think the only thing that is more troublesome than the big hair phase is that I tried so desperately to have the big hair but no…I have the limp hair, the hair that is limp, the hair that was cursed with, um, limpidity? I was cursed with the big glasses, though. Still have them (as an emergency pair?) and tried them on last month. Not a good look.

  5. Amy-GO

    I think the wedding photo is lovely – although clearly you were far too young to get married. I got married as a fetus, too. What were our parents thinking, allowing this? But lovely! Not at all as though the eyebrows were eating the face! :)

  6. Nothing But Bonfires

    Oh, I think you have REALLY out-spectacled me now. I’m sort of sorry I started this; I mean, I totally thought I would win.

  7. Julie

    Thank goodness for AquaNet…and sheer determination…and also perms…otherwise I would have never been able to walk in the shadow of other big hair heads… I know it’s not cool…I’ve been told (GENTLY..it seems ;) ) for years…but alas the new growth of tiny puppy fur now covering my once bald head is craving chemical processing…

    A while back I found my frosty green dinner plate glassess from the 80’s…I shoulda known better…but I was high from the perm fumes..that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  8. Jackie Joy

    I will most certainly not be posting any of my fashion travesties (for though I am young, the travesties, they are many) but did have to say that I actually think you look lovely in the wedding photo. Erm. From the neck up.
    You look just like a manager I once had who put herself down very often, and none of us knew why because we thought she was gorgeous and classy-looking.

  9. Monkey loves Kitten

    To answer your question, yes, yes I did enjoy the stroll. Please lay out another path sometime soon!
    Pee Ess – I think you look lovely in your bridal pic despite the garment bag hanging from your oh-so-young head.

  10. ben

    How cool!

    After seeing how brave y’all can be, I posted a baby pic…

  11. DebR

    Love seeing the flashback photos!! And I think the wedding one is lovely even if you don’t look like you were nearly old enough to get married. (Are you SURE that isn’t a prom pic??)

    There must be something in the air about posting ’80’s Big Hair photos. Someone else I know was talking about it a few weeks ago and I posted a pic from 1987 with my Big Hair and my sister with her FeMullet. If you are brave and want to see, you’ll find it here:
    toward the bottom of the post.

  12. Jenny

    Oh, I’m so going to throw down on you with the old photos. I had the eyebrows of death! I too was in madrigals (and I thought it was awesome!) and I was in MARCHING BAND. With a giant fuzzy hat.

    Oh, man.

  13. CityMama

    Thank you for taking me back. Way back…back into time. I really enjoy your writing. (longtime lurker, first time commenter)

    Stefania Butler

  14. Jen

    Oh wow. I have to say, the eyebrows do appear to be eating your face. But you were pretty, nonetheless. For a toddler bride, that is. :)

    Share with us…how old were you when you got married?

  15. Cele

    What is it about Junior High pix that make us all want to run and hide in shame. And the seventies? Psychedelic Nehur paisely. Oh the horror of it all.

    You were a lovely bride Mir.

  16. Dawn

    Silly thing. You’re pretty!

  17. Y

    Ha. Your veil thingy doesn’t even compare to the HUGENESS and HEAVINESS of the one I wore as a teenage bride. I think I’m going to have a “biggest veil contest” only because I KNOW I’ll win.

    I LOVE these kinds of posts. Hilarious.

  18. Steff

    Loved ths post…you have a beautiful smile!!

  19. Jenn2

    Hee hee. I could so completely waste your pictures. In my sophmore year, I was missing my two eye teeth, had braces, insane eyebrows,Sally Jesse glasses, pink frosted eye shadow that enhanced said brows and clashed with the glasses, and, as my husband calls it, “Roseanne Rosanna Danna” hair. And the photographer caught me sticking my tongue through one of the holes in my teeth! I am not making this up. I’d attach one but my mother destroyed them long ago. I love my mom.

  20. Carol

    Hey, at least you can rest easy in the knowledge that you were in style, right? Hell, my husband made fun of me in 1998 when I *still* had face-hogging Ray Ban’s! Clearly his dorky ass didn’t understand that they were still in style in 1998!

    You were adorable – puppy dog hair and all :)

  21. Zuska

    Now don’t take this the wrong way but in your 6th grade pic, you look alot like….my husband, lol!! The hair, the smile, the turtleneck – you two could have been twins in the 6th grade, except that he’s much older than you. And the “chain smoking 40-year old” shot is priceless!!

    It would be downright scary if I were to share my eyeglass photos with ANYone. But I thoroughly enjoyed yours!!!

  22. Aimee

    Oh dear…my sixth grade picture is nearly identical to yours, except I believe I was wearing a shiny rayon shirt with airplanes on it, which…nevermind. But we had the same hair, and the same glasses. Wow.

  23. laura

    You can self-deprecate all you want. Deprecate all over yourself! You’re still GORGEOUS, eyebrows and all.

  24. Fraulein N

    Aw, I think you made a very pretty bride. But your hair in that 6th grade photo? (And I say this with love!) Hee! Not that mine is any better, of course.

  25. Shiz

    Oh my, you are so brave. I am not brave enough to do that. And I only have childhood photographs, because there is no way I’m going to keep those painful reminders around. Nuh-uh.

  26. Shiz

    The painful teenage reminders, that is. ;)

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