If the truth be told, I don’t particularly like my face. When I smile, I’m convinced that it resembles Georges Méliès’ moon in Le Voyage dans la lune. In fact, I’m surprised that Professor Brian Cox has never turned up on my doorstep simply to stare in wonderment at its planet-sized proportions. My face also lacks the symmetry that good looking people are blessed with. Bastards.
Still, I guess this is the face I’ve been lumbered with. And even if I had the money, I’d still choose an ageing, imperfect face over cosmetic surgery. Admittedly, my low pain threshold has a lot to do with that assertion. But it’s also because our faces are supposed to be interesting. Every line, every scar, tells a story. But in some people’s cases, those stories have either been filled in and ironed out or sucked out and hacked off, then eaten out of clinical waste bins by stray dogs. It seems a bit of a shame.
Take Sharon Osbourne, for instance. Her most recent facial reinvention (which suggests that her favourite surgeon works out of a poky Warsaw apartment, wallpapered with laminated medical certificates written entirely in Comic Sans) seems to contradict her claim that she’s spent around £120,000 on plastic surgery. Either she’s spent that money largely on travel or she’s a big tipper.
And when Katie Price’s botoxed face eventually collapses, it’s going to look like someone’s covered a blob fish in mascara and fake tan. On the upside (for us), it’ll make OK! magazine’s front covers marginally less gut-wrenching to look at, and a million times funnier. “Katie Price Exclusive: “Even more reasons…gurgle…why I left Pete…dribble…squelch.”
If Katie Price suddenly lost her fortune, she strikes me as the kind of person who’d be rushed into A&E after injecting her face with Innocent smoothie.
In the quest for ageless facial perfection, all roads invariably lead to horror. Or at the very least, a terrifyingly unnatural appearance, devoid of anything even vaguely interesting. At least my face still has a few stories. It still bears the marks of illness and stupidity.
To start with, my face sports several pitted scars from when I caught chickenpox off my sister at the age of 21. In spite of quarantining myself to ensure that I didn’t catch it, I ended up in bed, itchy and delirious, having one of those feverish OCD dreams. (In my dream, there was one representative from every nation on earth stood in a queue in the desert, which snaked off into the distance. My task was to put everyone in alphabetical order. “Armenia?! Come on, mate, what the fuck are you doing stood between Panama and Togo? Right, who are you? The Islamic Republic of Mauritania? Shit. I don’t know whether to put you in ‘I’ or ‘M’? Help! HELP!”
At the time I caught chickenpox, I’d been trying to woo a girl I really liked. I don’t think she fancied me even before I had a face that would’ve made a village of medieval plague victims collectively retch, but I remember picking my scabs off early and pulling my shoulder-length hair over my face so that I could go to the pub and see her. It was a pitiful effort to look normal. The only way I could’ve drawn more attention to my face would’ve been to throw my hair back and stick a load of McCoys crisps to the weeping blisters covering my miserable fizzog.
It was the desperate picking at my unsightly scabs that left me with several small scars on my face. For the sake of a rubbish night down the pub, it probably wasn’t worth it.
I also have a scar in my left eyebrow, which was the result of my forcefully headbutting the corner of our new flat screen television in 2004 as I went to excitedly plug in a scart lead. That afternoon, my girlfriend had built the entire TV stand single-handedly without incident (she took over from me after I’d retired to the sofa to grumble incessantly about the ridiculously small screws), so my inability to plug the telly in without drawing blood marked me out as something of an imbecile.
The next day, as I walked past the mild-mannered folk of Henley-in-Arden to pick up the Sunday papers – with my Steri-Stripped wound on full display – I liked to think that they were talking in hushed tones about the brawling hellraiser in their midst. They didn’t need to know I was just massive twat.
However, there are some facial injuries I’m pretty glad I sidestepped.
Thankfully, I managed to avoid being left with a burn on my face ten years earlier, in 1994, when I got drunk at a party and threw a flaming Drambuie in my face. (For anyone wondering, I accepted a challenge to drink the flaming liqueur, but failed to comprehend that I needed to extinguish the flames first. My solution was to try and accurately throw the fiery liquid into my mouth. Genius.)
It was a misjudged party piece that mercifully drew my night to a close. Had I continued drinking and trying to be the centre of attention, I might have tried eating the sand in the driveway or urinating into a toaster. The incident left me with singed hair and eyebrows, and a scab to the left of my nose in the shape of Greenland. Throughout the following winter the mark regularly appeared on my face whenever it was deathly cold, but it eventually faded.
I wouldn’t swap my facial quirks for anything, but I obviously wish I was slightly better looking. Given the lookalikes I’ve been saddled with over the years, it’s difficult to get a handle on where I stand on the scale of attractiveness. Based on people’s comments, I seem to be an amalgamation of Simon Amstell and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals. (My friend Laura once told me that she thought I looked a bit like The Doors’ Jim Morrison, which pleased me greatly. Although, she initially got confused and said that I reminded her of Jim Davidson, which was a truly horrifying moment.)
I once did a “celebrity lookalike collage” on Facebook, which told me that my face was made up of: Fergie from the Blackeyed Peas, Billy Crystal, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and Hayao Miyazaki (a 66-year-old Japanese director of animated films). Based on those results, my face should have the capacity to frighten and repulse in equal measure.
So why all this talk about my face?
Well, on my wedding day next year I’m going to have to endure an entire day of having my photo taken, which is going to be tough going for the photographers (I suspect the experience will leave them haunted and sad). So I’ve got ten months to learn to like my face, so that I can project a newfound confidence towards the camera. I have to be comfortable with my slightly wonky moonface.
After all, I don’t want to be charged hundreds of pounds for a wedding album of pained expressions, as if someone’s just asked me to smile for the camera then vomited on my shoes.
But with a mixture of Fergie, Billy Crystal, Joseph Lieberman and Hayao Miyazaki staring down the lens, those photographers are going to need iron stomachs.