Thursday, July 30, 2009

As much as I hate feet, you'd think I wouldn't stick them in my mouth so often

Updated to add: Teacher Tom, or anyone else who might have read this and gotten the wrong impression .... I did not at all think this young woman was "trashy" looking ... in fact, I wrote that very thing below. She was adorable .... just so much older looking than twelve that I was taken aback. And promptly stuck my foot in my mouth about it, which is about par for the course for me. :)


Tonight, I attended the second in a six-week series of classes I am taking at the local vo-tech to learn portrait photography. Tonight's session was about learning to use studio lights and the proper camera settings for traditional studio photography, as well as letting us "practice" posing a model. That's something I have struggled with every time I've ever taken photos for someone else .... we show up, I've got my camera, and they say something along the lines of, "So, tell me what you want me to do or where you want me to stand or sit and what should I do with my hands" and I look at them like they've grown a second head, or like they're speaking a foreign language because truly, I have no clue where to even begin.

Tonight, the instructor brought his daughter along to be our model. The first half of the class she helped him with the computer, viewing images we had all brought in to be critiqued ... then he had a photo session with her, to show us how he would do it as a professional if she came into his studio for portraits. Then we all got to practice with her.

When he was preparing to start his session, he told us how he likes to visit with his clients, especially if this is their first time in his studio, and develop at least a little bit of rapport to help them feel at ease. So while he was putting up the backdrop, and meter-testing each light, and syncing the strobes, he was sort of half-handedly asking her questions as if he didn't know her .... again, just to give us an example.

He started with the standard, "What's your name?" and then "How old are you?"

Now, she had been in the room over an hour already, and although she hadn't spoken much, I could clearly see she was in high school. Not very tall, but with a fairly-developed figure, nicely styled hair, and a full face of makeup. I wouldn't have *guessed* college, but definitely at least driving age. So when she replied, "Twelve", well, I about fell over.

"You're kidding," someone else in the room asked. "You're twelve?"

(Clearly, I wasn't the only one taken by surprise.)

"Yes," she said.

And I said, "Really? Twelve? Are you kidding?"

"No," she repeated, "I'm really twelve."

And then the thought that went through my brain was, "Holy cow, my daughter is twelve, but she doesn't look NEAR as ...." except unfortunately I realized, because everyone had turned to look at me, including the girl, that I wasn't actually thinking those thoughts in my brain, but that they were in fact coming out of my mouth. OUT LOUD. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

So I immediately started scrambling for an adjective I could use that wouldn't sound judgmental or mean-spirited. I mean, she was a cute girl, but what I was really thinking was, "My daughter doesn't look near as ......" What? Slutty? Trampy? Old? Developed? Mature? Because she didn't look slutty OR trampy ... she just looked so much more .... so much more ....

"Pretty!" I finally exclaimed. "My daughter is not near as pretty as you are."

And the lady sitting next to me turned and said, "That's not a very nice thing to say about your own kid!"

So I started back-pedaling, and trying to fix it, only it was clear I was just digging myself in deeper.

"No, I mean, she's pretty, too, it's just that she doesn't look so .... um ..... so .... grown up, is all" I finished weakly. Really, there is no good adjective to describe what I was thinking.

And her father, my INSTRUCTOR, heard the whole thing.

POSSIBLY she was so fixed up because she knew she would be having her picture taken twelve hundred times tonight.

POSSIBLY my daughter is a little behind the times, considering she is also twelve and wears no make up at all.

POSSIBLY I will soon be receiving a big fat "F" in Portrait Photography this year.


Anonymous said...

LMAO! You keep on keeping your girl a child at 12. 12 IS a child, of course you wouldn't know that, with some acting as if it were the new 16. 18. or 21.

My DD was still a little girl at 12. Still loved dolls and Little House on the Prarie DVD's and actually playing in the pool, as opposed to sunning herself and strutting around in a string bikini in front of the life guards. She is 15 now and still a good girl. Unlike some of the "grown" kids we knew.


Dianna in Louisiana said...

OMIGOD Kristie Seriously LAUGHING OUT LOUD---- I so, so, so, SO wish I could take a class with you!!!

It's really disgraceful that we as a society now find it acceptable for young girls to dress in a way that was totally unacceptable for even adult women to dress less than a decade ago, heck, five years ago. It's really very, very sad.

As far as the girl goes....... No way in heck will my daughter, at the tender age of twelve, wear a face full of makeup and dress like a hussy. Call me old fashioned, but fake fashion shoot or no fake fashion shoot, it's disgusting that some people think it's okay.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.

Kelly said...

12 used to be so much "younger" than it is now. Keep your daughter young/make-up free for as long as possible. There's plenty of time for all that drama in the future. I'd personally love to be a YOUNG 12 again!


Heidi said...

I'm 23, and I've never really worn make-up on a regular basis. That might be why people still think I'm 15.

Anonymous said...

I agree keep her young as long as you can. I am nearly 30 only wear make-up when going somewhere fancy with hubby. I get carded though buying my son meds UGH seriously when they say oh we though he was your brother doesn't help when I am pissed already, but once I get home I feel great lol!

Anonymous said...

You need a reality show.

hyzymom said...

Don't you worry. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when I "catch" my 16 year old watching the Disney channel or iCarly! Could be because I blocked MTV and MTV2 from all our TV's! :o) It doesn't last long, so be happy!

Anonymous said...

Haha -that's what I often thought about some of my former 7th grade students. Half of them looked older than me!

Maybe the hair and makeup was a bribe from mom and dad to get her to sit around in her dad's class?

Lucy and Ethel said...

Yes, keep your daughter 12!!! Mine was a real 12, too, thank goodness. She's almost 20 and has turned out great. She's STILL real :)

I would also love to take a class with you - any class! That is too funny....


The Running Girl said...

Some girls, uh...mature, much faster than others these days. At the JUNIOR HIGH mission tip I went on a couple of weeks ago, there were girls there that looked like seniors in high school. And the way they dressed on mission trip surprised me. One day someone left some VERY small thong underwear in the shower area. Really???? At 12 and 13?

Madison is almost 14. Occasionally she'll sneak some mascara on or something like that, but in general she does not wear makeup. I tell her to hold off as long as possible. She'll thank me for it later.

Heather said...

I agree with Rita. I would much rather her look 12 which is a child than to be mistaken for a small high schooler! They grow up too fast as it is.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! (You know, since it wasn't ME with my foot in my mouth and all....)

My daughter is 13 and was on a softball team with 7th and 8th graders this summer. Most of her team mates came to the games in FULL make up. It's hot, they're playing SOFTBALL, running, sweating and they wore loads of eyeshadow, mascara, blush, etc.

Mary Z

Teacher Tom said...

My daughter's 12 and is more developed than most of her friends. She generally wears a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. We sometimes let her wear make-up when we go to the theater or opera, but that's it.

People always guess she's in high school. Sometimes little girls look older than they are, even if they aren't slutty, trashy or a hussy. It reduced her to tears the other day when the bus driver refused to believe she qualified for a youth ticket.

The consequence is that people expect much more from her than they do her peers. She's responded by becoming a poised, articulate, well-mannered young woman. I'm proud of her.

Teacher Tom said...

Kristie, what you've written is hilarious!

I just noticed that some of the commenters were using some pretty charged words to talk about little girls. I know, they're probably not expecting any 12-year-olds to be reading this blog, but with the visions fresh of my girl crying it made me feel like I needed to give the other side. =)

Melinda TX said...

My 12yo daughter wears no makeup and still plays with her American Girl doll. The only time she wears makeup is for dance performances - she is heavily into ballet. I don't think our girls are behind the times at all - they will have their whole lives to spend getting "made up!" Sorry about the awkward moment, though!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is talking about normal adolecent development. My DD's best friend developed quite early, but her mom recognized the mind was still 12 and treated her as such. I think everyone, at least for me, is talking about the pressed haired, thong/bootie short/spaghetti strapped belly showing tank top wearing 12 yrs olds that have layers of eye liner to achieve that lovely washed out heroin user look, flipping their pressed hair that has been highlighted, careful not to chip the fake nails mommy bought them who are glued to cell phones and boy crazy and who have parents that think it is cute to drop them off (at 12???) to the movies on "dates" and have curfews later than I had at 18. Those girls, that are held up as the "norm" in Middle school. That are long passed the days of playing in the woods (ewww, might get dirty), playing in the pool (can't get the highlights wet) and underwear with Tinkerbell is soooo out. Thank God my child wasn't the "norm".

If they do all that at 12, WTH is left for them to do at 16?


Catherine said...

Did the same thing with my sister in law's family. Her brother has a daughter who is a year younger (11) than my 12 year old boy. She looks older than my 16 year old son. I nearly fell over and blustered terribly when they said she was 11.

Let's get my 12 year old together with yours. It'll be a match. LOL

theothermother said...

12 comes in a lot of different packages. My daughter at 12 looked much older, but still liked to play with Legos, carefully hidden on the floor of her closet.

Hang onto 12, Kristie, because 13 is right around the corner!

Sharon C said...

Be PROUD you have a daughter that looks 12, and not 17!! Says something about the parents raising that 12 year old if you ask me : )

Pam D said...

All I can say is "Thank God I have a boy!!" amen.
(and it seems as if you AND P.W. were gnawing on your lower appendages this week... I got a great workout rolling on the floor laughing with BOTH of your f-i-m adventures....)

Lollyblogger said...

This made me laugh out loud. Not laughing "at" you, but laughing in a kindred spirit kind of way. You could have said "So, that's what happens if you don't drink organic milk?"

The hormones. Crikey, the hormones.
Your crazy reader from Southern California!

Donna said...

I have trouble assessing ages between 10 and about 16. There are some high schoolers that look like they could still be in 7th grade and some 7th graders that look like they could be juniors. I do a lot better with the younger ages where the teeth tell the tale!

Ever so glad I don't have to fight the tide of sexuality in girls' clothing, except to explain to my boys what constitutes acceptable attire in a date (and even that not for several years yet!). I am always amazed at the selection in the little girls department. But then again, it's harder than I thought to find young men's clothing without skulls on it. :0)

Anonymous said...

Um...*I* was wearing make-up to school by age 12. And this was in '93. Two college degrees, a burgeoning career and a terrific husband later, I think I turned out pretty well (and incidentally, gave up a full face of make-up years ago).

Sarah :)

Mike and Katie said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog tonight. You have a great sense of humor. What a great trip to take with your kids. WOnderful memories!

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Ahhhh...... I was one of those who misread..... that's what happens when you try to read to fast! Sorry!

kimi said...

I was that girl. Bra at 10 and all. It's hard and I'm going to go on a limb and say that the girl was wearing tons of make-up so that she wouldn't look washed out in your pics.

That being said - you rock!! I love that what is in your head comes out of your mouth. It gets me in trouble all the time...and my dh has a blast laughing.



Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Maturity as girls grow is all so relative. My daughter was born two hours after her cousin, and from birth she looked much younger. In the playpen at 6 months her cousin rested her elbow on my daughter's head. My daughter has freckles and dimples and all the other things that makes a girl look younger, in addition to being short. Her cousin had sleek blonde hair and all the other things that make a girl look older, in addition being tall. My daughter was always being mistaken for someone much younger -- it could have been a real problem, considering that she skipped two grades in school, but was not because she had the personality to carry it off. Her cousin was constantly by men (not boys) who had no idea of her age. However, someone the two made it through the pre-teen years, and then the teen years, and then the college years. They still look years, not hours, different in age. The important thing, though, is that yhey have been and are very good friends. All the rest does not matter.

And, I imagine the very embarrassing comment, will be less emotionally vibrant in a month or other "vibrant comments" take its place.

Thanks for sharing a laugh today. (I know it is at your expense -- but you put it up there, and it was funny!)