I have to admit that the whole thing snuck up on me this time around, basically I think because I was dreading it so much. The process is never pleasant, the procedure is always painful, and bad results can have a drastic effect on your life for many years to come…that’s right…last week it was time for me to get my passport picture taken.
The last time that my passport renewal rolled around there had recently been some changes made in regards to what was going to be acceptable elements in photos going forward, so I prepared in advance by diligently reading the official guidelines posted on the Passport Canada website and was confident that I was good to go when I left the house and headed to the photography shop near my house.
I could not have been more wrong….
I paid the fee at the counter, stood in front of the screen as instructed, and that is when the horror began. I am tall (some would say really tall) so I knew that something was wrong when all of a sudden the small, elderly, middle-eastern man in charge of taking my picture was directly in front of me, balancing on his tip toes, attempting to get all up in my grill.
“You can’t have hair on your face” he tells me, clucking his tongue and waddling away towards some nearby shelving.
Hair!!!!…On my face??? Waaaaa???? I am obsessive about that shiz, and was in shock that something like that could have escaped the reflection of the 20x magnification mirror that I torture myself with on a daily basis. While I was in the process of seriously contemplating raiding my savings account to pay for professional laser hair removal I saw him returning from the cupboard with a comb, several bobby pins, and a small plant sprayer in hand.
Oh, nowwwww I get it. He meant no hair in my face. Phew.
I am not sure if it was the overwhelming relief associated with the realization that I did not indeed have rogue whiskers sprouting conspicuously from my soon to be middle-aged chin, or the fact that I was still trying to process why the international community wanted to penalize me for such a thing in the first place that had distracted me from what the man had been doing since his return, but it was not until I felt a thin spray of water hitting my face that I came back to reality and experienced the horror of what had been taking place while I was off day-maring scenarios of my boyfriend and I getting turned away at border crossings around the world because I was deemed to have too much facial hair in my passport photo.
As I peered over the man’s head into a small, plastic cosmetic mirror that had been taped to the wall in front of me I saw that not only had he swept my bangs to the side in classic, old man, comb-over style, he had also secured them with a large bobby pin that was conspicuously protruding from behind my left ear. And, to top it all off, he was now proceeding to spray any fly-aways with somewhat questionable water from his plant sprayer.
As I began to process the hideous sight that was staring back at me from that small plastic mirror he again waddled away and stepped behind his camera in an attempt to survey the results of his handy work while continuing to make that clucking noise that I had quickly grown to despise. “Too shiny” he mumbled as he again headed towards his cupboard of fashion derision, and began rummaging.
Waaaa??? Too shiny??? Its called “illuminator” jackass, and I pay a LOT of money for that shimmering liquid they market as “Super Model in a Bottle”.
As I desperately tried to gather my wits about me and decide how I was going to gracefully exit a situation that had quickly gone from bad to absolutely apocalyptic I realized that he was back, and was now standing in front of me covering a large makeup brush in a thick dusting of baby powder!
Now I should point out that during incidents of distress I fully admit that sometimes I begin to distrust my own sense of perception, so while I was allowing this man to cover my face in a thick layer of white powder my inner voice began its bullshit, and began its sly attempt to convince me that since he does this for a living he must know what he is talking about, right? I can’t look that bad?? RIGHT??!?!?!
And that is the story of how my asshole of an inner voice caused me to travel to several international destinations over the past five years carrying identification that made me look like I was an inmate who had just been hosed down by the warden after a rumble in a Kabuki prison.
Now, back to present day….
After 5 years of trauma and the stress of having to hide my passport from many a travel companion, I decided that this time would be different. I now know that my inner voice can be silenced through copious consumption of Pinot Noir. In addition to this, I also have the advantage of knowing that the authorities have a strong anti-bang stance and consider any attempt at projecting a healthy glow to be a shifty maneuver . This time I was going in actually prepared and I was going to be in control. I tied my hair back in a tight bun, made sure my make up was matte, and that I had almost no color on my face in order to mitigate any potential “shadows” that may compromise the image.
The result? I would rather have the picture of me that appears below on my passport than the one that I had taken last week.
Inner Voice 1, Nikki 0
Have you ever had a really bad passport picture? Have any passport picture photographers ever given you an impromptu makeover to ensure that your photo would measure up?
Please share tales of your own crazy passport photos in the comments section below!