Today, at work, I nipped in the bathroom with the camera and took a few quick snaps of myself in the mirror.
So that's me there on the right, as of eleven o'clock this morning.
"Who cares?" You may well say and I suppose the answer is that I do.
I generally hate having my picture taken and go to considerable pains to avoid it. So, since I started blogging, I've been using a few pictures everywhere which were taken some time ago.
I started doing this without thinking too hard about it - the pictures were smiley and accessible and that is how I tend to see myself and thus that was the image I wanted to project.
But over time a very curious 'Dorian Grey' effect began to take place. In real life, I have been aging, gaining a little weight, going grey, getting wrinkly, but my online presence has remained firmly rooted back in his thirties.
This actually started playing on my mind a bit. I was looking at these online pictures every day whilst also being faced with the true facts of my own, not unusual, deterioration.
When the issue first arose, I saw it as something of a challenge. "I must work," I decided, "and regain the youthful features my lying online portraits are presenting to the world." And, in truth, this didn't work out too badly - I managed to shed quite a few pounds and the scale is still to this day creeping in the right directions. But we can only do so much against the ravages of time, can't we?
So, today, when somebody asked me for a photo, I took the opportunity to take this snap and I resolved to make this the subject of my bi-centennial post in an attempt to burn my virtual portrait-in-the-attic once and for all. I will go now and work through the places where I use my image online and update it and perhaps I will update you on how this little tweak plays out in my own mind in the weeks to come.
Can I just say again that I wasn't using the older pictures for any vain reasons - at least I honestly don't think I was anyway. It seemed to me that those pictures reflected in some way the wry outlook on life I secretly think I have. When somebody somewhere first commented that the face in the picture had a 'cute smile' nobody was more astonished than me - I really am *not* an oil painting in real life.
Now that I've mentioned vanity, and if I'm really trying to be honest here, then perhaps vanity does have some part to play in all this.
Look at today's picture. I could have taken a much worse picture than that. My story is that I wanted to emulate the older photo to see if any vestige of the old wry smile can still be detected. But the fact is that the poor light in that bathroom helps to conceal the deep pock marks left from my war with teen acne, my nose is redder than it appears here and I think I've got my chin lifted up a bit to try and reduce the effect of the few extra pounds.
I'm a little vain after all, I guess, and for no good reason.
But at least I don't look thirty-five anymore and, seeing as how I'll be forty-six next week, that's probably just as well.