When the quality of someone’s face matches the quality of her character, sometimes you really can’t help but comment on said face. The trouble is, talking about someone’s face is not very polite — because, to be fair, one can’t really help what one’s face looks like. Make up can enhance a face but by no means can it re-engineer it. For that sort of structural modification you will need serious surgery of the sort that transformed “king of social media” Marlou Arizala to Xander Ford.
The trouble with some people with comment-worthy faces is that there is nothing behind said face that redeems the quality that makes it comment-worthy. Some people make up for their facial challenges with an “inner beauty” such as, say, the character of Princess Fiona in the movie Shrek. For some, however, particularly those who we’ve come to know only through their previously anonymous work, a face revealed validates a perception harboured. Because we are all visual creatures, we can’t help but construct a speculative visual model of the person behind a disembodied voice — much the same way the cool cultivated voice of an FM radio DJ evokes images of a well-groomed babe behind a mike. It is also why we are unable to come to terms with revelations that a mass murderer had previously led a double life as a charming suburban father of three. Our brains are wired to believe mass murderers look like ogres and the trendy DJs we listen to on our radios look like George Clooney.
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Sometimes, however, the face actually does match the disembodied persona. In cases like this, the brain does not undergo the same baffling journey of reconciling appearance to ugali. Recall the cult classic 1979 film Alien. Back in the days when such movies were made, much is left to the imagination of the audience. In Alien, we are left to deduce, over much of the first three quarters of the film, what a monster that could wreak so much havoc and human suffering could possibly look like — so much so that when the creature is finally revealed, not much really needs to be reconciled in the audience’s minds.
Unlike the creature in the Alien franchise, however, certain people with such creature-like physical qualities pretend not to be monsters. The creature in Alien liked stalking and attacking its victims from behind so much so that most of its victims never knew what hit them up to the very end. But when it finally came face-to-face with Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), it remained consistently badass ’til its own end. In contrast, certain people baldly change tack when they come out. They lose the attack dog persona they wielded as shadowy predators and suddenly become saintly “victims” when cast under a harsh light.
This tactic perhaps works for cuddly-looking but otherwise natural born killers like polar bears and tigers. Indeed, billion-dollar industries were born casting these dangerous man-eaters as kids’ beloved stuffed toys. They are also able to attract millions of dollars in pledges to efforts to protect their species from extinction now that they had become the victims of their own prey. When you look more akin to The Creature, however, and you suddenly find yourself becoming the prey after a successful run as a predator, it becomes a bit more of a hard sell convincing people with your best puppydog eyes and basang sisiw act. It also makes it difficult for people gawking at your victimhood not to comment on your face (behind closed doors so as not to be impolite, of course).
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.