In this age of blogging, email and cell phones, we're often left to speculate what the people we're communicating with on a regular basis look like. Blogger and other social networks are nice because you can post photos on your profile, but are those accurate representations? Take my photo, for example. I HATE having my picture taken, so when I come across one that is decent I tend to glom onto it and use it over and over. A photographer friend of mine took that photo of me--under protest--when my youngest daughter was just four months old. I was surprised how much I liked the picture. That was more than two years ago. I'm a little bit older, more tired looking and the skin on my arms, among other things, is starting to gravitate toward the floor. I will be using that photo until I'm 90.
I met someone I had been emailing at a trade show promoting my embroidery business Suzi Homemaker and they told me they thought my hair would be more red, like my business logo. It's a cartoon!
As soon as they convert pantone colors into hair dye I will be all over the I Love Lucy red, but for now I prefer a more natural look.
When I talk with my digitizer on the phone or via email, he reminds me of my Uncle John, who died about 15 years ago. They have the same dry sense of humor so I always picture my uncle with his hip glasses and mod hair sitting, eternally young, on the other end of the line, chatting me up.
My long distance BFF, Christi, and I have never met in person. She sounds like another friend of mine--also named Christy, so I always pictured Christy when I was talking to Christi or emailing her. I don't know who she pictured for me, or if she pictured anyone at all...I digress...I sent her a Christmas card in April (a tad late) with a picture of the whole family on it--another rare photo that I actually liked. I've seen a picture of her that was in a newspaper and it was of the left side of her face, so now I know what half of her face looks like. When we meet in person I'll have to be sure to sidle up to her on the left so as not to mistake her for someone else.
I hired a subcontractor through ifreelance last year. We had emailed back and forth a number of times and the tone of his emails was very smug, very New England. The first time we talked on the phone I was shocked to find out he sounded very brother-in-law, very Kentucky.
I used to work on a news desk with an openly-gay friend, Mark, and we were always confused on the phone. People would call the desk, I would answer and they'd say, "Mark?" and vice versa. So that would mean that I sounded like a homosexual male and he sounded like a heterosexual female? There are worse things, I guess.
Several years ago, I met my roommate's boyfriend after speaking to him numerous times over the phone. I remember him looking quite surprised when we shook hands and I asked him if there was something wrong. He brushed aside the confused look and said, "It's just that you're not what I was expecting. You sounded fat on the phone." How was I to respond to that? Well, you sounded like you had chest hair.
My Babycapes business partner, Elizabeth, has been on CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch," several times now promoting Babycapes and always remarks how she sounds like an 80-year-old grandmother on air. To ease her self-consciousness, I told her she sounded very slim.
When I was working for a municipal government, back in the day, I had been speaking with an advertising sales rep on the phone. When I hung up, I told my friend that the guy sounded exactly like George Clooney! He was coming by to pick up an ad contract, so I went into the bathroom and freshened up a bit. A while later, the receptionist buzzed me to tell my guest had arrived. I hurried out front. Let's just say not George Clooney.
One time my imagination was dead-on.
Before my husband and I met, we had emailed and spoken on the phone several times--the first time while he was in Ireland on a Presidential trip (he used to work at the White House--do you like how I slipped that in?). He had worked up enough nerve to call me after visiting an Irish pub and imbibing in a bit of the drink. He sounded like the funniest, most handsome man in the world, albeit a bit tipsy. When I met him in person a couple weeks later, wouldn't you know, I was right?