Thursday, June 18, 2015

Eight-Year-Old Me: Not Adorable?

I just changed my Facebook profile picture because, according to my family, no respectable woman would be interested in me if she were to see the old one.

I thought the photo was adorable, myself. It was taken when I was eight years old. In the picture, I'm wearing a grey sweatshirt with graphics of a checkered flag and some sort of "USA" logo on it. Presumably, the shirt promoted a racing event, but I couldn't tell you which one. Or why I even wore the shirt -- I wasn't a fan of auto racing then, and I'm not one now.

Sadly, the shirt is no longer in my possession, but I hope it found a nice home at a Goodwill store somewhere.

My younger self is also sporting double-bridged glasses. Remember, it was unfashionable to wear glasses back in the 1980s, but I was committed to seeing well at a very early age.

Really, what makes the photo so precious, from my perspective, is my hairdo at the time. It's thick, it's lustrous, and it sticks straight up toward the ceiling. I had the Cosmo Kramer look before Cosmo Kramer existed on TV. I'm kind of proud of that.

I chose it as my Facebook profile picture for three reasons: 1) I'm a private person and I generally don't share photos of myself online (which is why you don't see the Shane/Kramer pic here); 2) I have a self-deprecating sense of humor -- I like to poke fun at myself, and it's rather easy to poke fun at eight-year-old Shane (it's like I'm bullying myself!); and 3) I really do believe it's a cute pic, and that I was even more loveable then than I am now.

My family strongly disputes the latter point. They don't find the photo to be adorable at all. They find it to be absurd at best and, at worst, a major obstacle to finding love.

"Why did you post that picture on Facebook?" they asked me. "You look ridiculous in it."

Keep in mind, these are the same people who snapped this picture and thought enough of it to display it in a photo album for the past 27 years.

"How could anyone not like eight-year-old me?" I reasoned. "Looking at myself, I just want to give myself a big hug!"

"Shane, no woman wants to be with a man who has a goofy photo of himself as a child as his Facebook profile picture," they countered.

Is that really true, though? I know women ask for a lot in a partner -- good looks, job security, a sense of humor -- but I didn't realize that an appealing Facebook profile photo is also a requirement. 

I'll tell you this much: If a woman were to demand to see my Facebook profile picture on a first date -- like she's a TSA agent checking my driver's license to ensure I'm legit -- I'd walk right out on her. I'd have nothing to prove to her, and neither would eight-year-old Shane.

I polled my Facebook friends to gauge the validity of my family's theory, that women would be turned off by the photo. One longtime acquaintance -- female -- mostly disagreed, writing, "Perhaps some girls [wouldn't be interested in me after seeing the picture] but would you be interested in those boring girls anyway? Cool chicks dig Kramer hair."

Another, male friend openly wondered whether I was using Facebook to pick up women.

As I mentioned at the top, I succumbed to family pressure and changed my profile picture to a more current photo. We'll see what kind of effect it has on my romantic life going forward.

In the meantime, I hope my family doesn't find out my Twitter profile picture is of a pedestrian signal.