Thursday, April 10, 2014

Selfie story

I spotted a news story today ... which isn't too unusual. I keep an eye on what the world is up to, usually so I get fair warning if the paranoia turns out right and the world sends a curveball my way.

This wasn't that but the story touched a nerve anyway. What was it ? Here's a link. It's a BBC story, so your credibility-challenged alarm is already going off but take a peek. It's about a health warning issued about the rise of selfie pictures being taken on the internet.

Ok, what's so strange about that ?

I didn't find the subject matter particularly puzzling. The question of self image has been paramount throughout history. It's only recently though that the camera has mercilessly shown the truth of what we look like. At least, the camera combined with our own tendency to self criticise.

But I'll come back to that. What I found puzzling was the scope of the research. 881 people questioned, all women. While not wanting to appear as sexist as that selection, it's not just the ladies who have self image consciousness, it's us blokes too.

We all want six packs. We all want to look like the guys on the telly. We want that strong jaw and that corded rippling bicep. Actually, my reaction to what I see with the guys on telly could be seen as being a little gay. That is, if the reaction was "I wanna be with him." It's not, it's a "I wanna be him cos that's what the ladies seem to like" reaction.

We all tend to want to look like something different. And the selfie doesn't help there ...

The thing about the selfie is that it's a picture typically taken from a very short distance. The camera lens is particularly unkind over that distance and we rarely get that person making us do that chuckle with a "cheese!" which brightens up the pic. There's a couple of pictures I took of myself in my Atomic Hat which I don't like to show people. But I do because I find it funny to say "This hat so bright, this night time pic did not need flash"

I've mentioned before that I'm on the Okcupid site - I found it very difficult to find a profile pic for myself there. Selfie pictures tended to be pretty nasty. I did get one eventually, it's one taken as Lords on a sunny day with me in Smart Stuff (doesn't happen often outside work) grinning away from the top of the Pavilion. I think it's got me a few peeks there, although not as many as I'd like.

But yeah - the selfie. It's one of those modern things that now we have cameras which have instant internet connectivity thanks to being in our phones, it spawns a new craze that the rest of us are expected to join in with.

However ... the ones that will dominate are the ones taken by those with most confidence to show themselves off. I'll admit right now, I'm not one of those people. And seeing pictures that make me look chubby makes me feel bad. I bet it makes the rest of you feel bad too.

My opinion of what I look like - chubby because I know what's hidden under the t-shirt
What people may think I look like - broad shouldered and probably a strong build (cos I engineer my posture that way).

I'm curious actually to know what people think of how I look. I just see the photos/pictures and think "need to lose weight". And I do ... but not as much as I think I need to lose. The more weight I carry, the less speed I have and the more unpleasantness from acid I suffer. That's my primary motivation for not getting too heavy. I could have a few targets for my 5 feet 8 inches :

14stone - a Strong weight. It's what I am now. If I converted the excess ballast to muscle, I'd be a powerhouse. Do I want to be ? Nah. I wouldn't have Warp Speed and there's only so much you can do with Popeye Arms.
13stone - a Fit weight. When I get down to this, I still carry a little ballast cos my arms are spindly but I have WARP SPEED and some strength.
12stone - is probably what I should be. However ... I carry all that leg muscle around which tips me into heavier territory. 12st might be a decent weight for me, I'd have Warp Speed plus agility but I'd probably not have much core strength.

What does Science say ? I just did a WTF at seeing what Body Mass Index recommends for my height - 8st 10lb to 11st11lb. That 11st 11 ain't too far fetched, it's a strong weight for someone who hasn't got the tree trunk legs I can get. When I got heavily into cricket, I filled out from 9st very thin into 11-12st broader shouldered. That was from age 14 to 18 though, so I had a lot of natural growing to do anyway.

But - 8st 10 ? I have to admit, I saw a few gamer boys at EGXRezzed who were probably my height and that spindly weight but I didn't want to be them. They looked like half starved bags of bones and that weight was probably causing them malnutrition type problems. (Although you do get the ones genetically pre-disposed to being ultra-thin and tall)

The key thing isn't weight, or height. It's confidence.

Confidence can turn the otherwise plain into creatures of total beauty. Lack of confidence puts a wall up that hides that natural beauty.

We all have that natural beauty, we just tend to hide it behind a lack of self belief. And that's made worse by seeing pictures of people who we'd like to look like. Me with a sixpack ? Don't think that's ever happened ! Although I bet it could given a breaking of the biscuit addiction and some concentrated exercise. I do tend to lose that Warp Speed if I exercise though.

I think that's another of my quirks. I can see that hidden beauty in people. I occasionally help bring it out when people spot me sending The Grin their way.

I'll close there but not without a message to everyone who's borne with me and read this far.

You're GORGEOUS. Yes YOU ! You don't think so ? Well, there's someone here who thinks you're the most beautiful thing on the planet. You just need to trust me, have confidence and believe it.

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