I’ve just returned from a networking party. I would have never gone to the party alone but I was invited by a friend, so I decided to go. I’m so glad I did because I ran into people I knew, but I never would have done it had my friend not been there. I’m a total wallflower. People never believe me on this but it is true. I’ve heard it over and over about how I have an outgoing personality and am warm and inviting but that’s after the first introduction. I’m a mouse until then and hell if I know why. Once the “first move” is made I’m OK but I’m never one to initiate a conversation in a group setting. My façade is the one of the beautiful woman who is so self-assured that nothing bothers her. WRONG.
As I have aged, hopefully gracefully, my insecurities have waned greatly. My high school reunion is coming up and I have a strong feeling I’ll see again where a lot of my insecurities were born and bred; it helps a lot that I’m expecting many of my former classmates to have lost their hair, grown exponentially in girth and have added a few dozen wrinkles. But I didn’t say I was completely confident and over my resentment of the bullies I endured in school. So, on a recent trip to Las Vegas I had a late dinner at the bar of a hotel off the strip.
When I travel alone I love to sit at the bar. I guess it is where my comfort zone lives because you always feel like you are not “alone” or getting the looks of “ohh, poor her all alone”. Of course I had my camera with me and the ambient lighting of the bar was fabulous which consisted of muted warm lights except for blue votives on the bar. I took the far end by the TV, which had some obnoxious commentator going off about some mundane subject like it was the last day of life as we know it. There were two couples on the other side of the bar and my eye, of course, casually watched their story unfold. The key to this photograph was the reflection and the unknown of who belonged to the glasses, the hands and the reflections. Yes, I saw their faces but I actually tried to blank them out because sometimes you can see more in a gesture than in a facial expression. What I saw in each of their faces directly was just a façade. I watched the hands on the wine glasses, the plates of food on the bar and watched the reflections of facial expressions in the high gloss of the bar itself. The extension of their bodies became what was real. You can smile when you don’t mean too, so your gestures end up telling the true story every time.
I’ll start with the two white wine glasses in the forefront and the people to whom they belonged. They were very comfortable with each other, though it was the kind of comfortable though that comes with time, a lot of time. They were in their late forties, perhaps early fifties and from out of town. OK, that part is obvious as we were in a hotel bar in Las Vegas but bear with me. They didn’t say much to each other or the bartender. The hand movements were slow and methodical and when I watched, their facial expressions mimicked their hands. They would rarely look at each other and when they did it was a glance. When they spoke to each other it was minimal. Now, I’m not an expert in reading people but I think it is obvious that with this couple the flame was burning out, or completely gone and sitting in the bar helped to pass the time. The façade here was one of we are just fine and happy to be here but in reality it was not coming off that way at all. It was difficult to watch them because their lack of connection with each other made me feel like an intruder.
Now, let’s move on to the much more interesting couple at the end of the bar. You can see her reflection in the bar top. She was a bit older than me, full of life and very animated. The gentleman she was with was more subdued but honestly, I could only really see the back of his head; so he could have just been enthralled with her and quite the conversationalist himself. I’ll be perfectly blunt here and say, both couples understood they were getting laid as soon as dinner and the last cocktail were over. This couple showed a bit of childishness in their expressions and the giddiness carried over to when they held their glasses or took a bite of food. The hand would hold the glass and gestures would have to be restrained from letting the liquid spill over the rim. When taking a bite of food it was with a smile and nodding enthusiastically to what the other was saying. It was amusing to watch them but they were also obvious. So what was the façade each one wore that night? The one that we have all worn a time or two, the one that doesn’t reveal what we ourselves are afraid of because we can’t reveal this side, our true side, to others too soon in fear of judgment, personal insecurities or abandonment.
Five people from different places and in Las Vegas for different reasons are sitting at a bar and each wearing a different façade. A beautiful woman giddy from the thought of being alone with the man next to her and he just as enthralled with her, and both on their best behavior and putting their best foot forward. Then there is the other woman of average looks and her partner for the evening just going through the motions for another day. Then there is myself with no one to impress, no one to tolerate and also wearing a façade which consisted of a person minding her own business and most definitely not. I’ll have to be honest and admit to being the one wearing the most deceitful veneer of all.