Friday, January 11, 2008

Facial Expression

It is a bit like being in that dream. You know the one I mean. The naked one. Not the one where you wake up feeling frisky and wishing that things like that would happen to you in real life, but the other one. For me, I am usually in a grocery store wandering up and down the aisles. Somewhere around aisle number five I suddenly realize that I have left the house without a stitch of clothes on my body. It is at that moment that everyone I have ever met in my entire life starts pouring into the aisle, from both sides. They point. They laugh. They point and laugh some more. Try try to cover myself, but suddenly my limbs don´t seem to work. It is at that time that I am suddenly transported to the baggage claim of an airport where for some reason I am still naked, as if the clothes I was supposed to be wearing accidentally, and without my realizing it, got packed in the suitcase. It is at that moment that everyone I ever met in my entire life start flowing into he baggage claim area, all over dressed and pointing and laughing.

But what has turned this disturbing dream into an even more curious affair, are the guest celebrities that seem to make a sudden appearance. Most usually, it is Jennifer Aniston. I kid you not. For some reason, Jennifer always shows up when I am in need of some moral support. She never laughs, never points, she just stands there and smiles and suddenly, for some reason I feel better. One time she even brought the entire cast of "Friends" with her, only they were not the cast of the show, they were my personal friends. We hung out. we talked, laughed, insulted each other and drank coffee. Other celebrities that have popped up for some unknown reason include Paris Hilton and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In fact, it was just last night that the Beatrix showed up at an island beach party, every hair glued perfectly in place. What all of this means, I have no idea and I spend my days pondering it all. And it is the appearance of Jennifer that seems to happen the most and intrigue me most of all. She never really says anything, she is just there. I wonder if she is stalking me.

The reason I mention these dreams is that since arriving in Spain, I have felt like I am in one of those dreams. Only naked in a different way. Spain, or at least the part of Spain in which I find myself these days seems to be the graveyard for bad hair and facial piercings. Everyone has at least one, if not both. I have neither and feel self conscious and out of place. First, there is the little issue about the hair. which I think can only be referred to as experimental. Most of it looks like a high school science project gone bad, looking for different and creative ways to use hair bleach and blunt scissors. The only thing that keeps it from looking like a kindergarten art project is the complete lack of dried macaroni. Maybe it´s something in the gambas. Perhaps the same chemical that gives flamingos their pink coloring does something to the human brain.

And then there is the hobby of facial decorating that seems to have swept the country. If it is on the face here, you can be rest assured that someone somewhere here has it pierced. Lips, noses, nose bridges, eyebrows, tongues, cheeks, septums... I have even seen crow´s feet pierced. I was at once stunned and amazed and asked myself "why?"

But then, it was not that long ago when I was desperate for a piercing. I thought of getting by eyebrow done but then changed my mind and decided I wanted a tongue piercing. I was obsessed with them. If I met someone that had one, I had to kiss them. Guy, girl, it didn´t matter. It was like a drug and I couldn´t get enough. I was in London and almost at the point of no return. I decided I would get one. It was only when I discovered that tongue piercings often lead to broken and chipped teeth that I decided not to do it. But I was still obsessed with having a piercing I could call my very own. I could not walk past a shop without stopping in, trying to build up the courage to do it, breaking out in a cold sweat and then walking out.

I did finally get a piercing of my very own, a souvenir from Barcelona many years ago. I was out at Dietrich having a drink with a British guy that, it turns out had both of his nipples and his navel pierced. I decided right then and there to get my nipple pierced the next day. I went to the piercing place, tried to build up my courage, broke out in a cold sweat and walked out. I repeated the process several times that day until at least I gave in and had it done by a heavily tattooed guy. I was nervous and thought I would faint. It turns out the anticipation is much more intense than the actual act. Like bungee jumping, the thrill in not in the fall, at least not for me. The thrill is getting over the mental hurdles that keep the hands firmly on the rails. The mind screaming to keep holding on and finally letting go. After that, its all over. Just fall and fall and the cord snaps us safely back up. each time I have jumped, it has always been the process of forcing myself to let go. Willpower over logic, my mother´s voice echoing in my head "I think if your friends jumped off a bridge, you would too" without her knowing just how true those words would become. And so it was with the piercing. I was excited if not a bit disappointed. It was over before it was done.

But here in Spain, it seems that people just have more guts than I do. I have nothing against facial piercings, it just seems there is such a surplus of them here and I have no idea why. Maybe I am getting old, but I think facial accessories are best left to Spice Girls whose first names are "Scary". They call her that for a reason, you know.

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