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Your Photos: I can’t fake it any more

Cute Baby

Nope, nothing. Cold. As. Ice.

I can’t fake it. I’ve tried over the years and it’s just left me sounding silly, left the other person feeling mocked and both of us wishing we didn’t have to look each other in the eye again. I am, of course, talking about my reaction to “cute” photos.

The correct reaction, as everyone knows, to being shown a photograph of a baby or a puppy is as follows:
1. Sharp intake of breath
2. Hand dramatically clasped to chest
3. Eyes opened so wide your lashes get caught on the ceiling fan
4. Emit high-pitched cooing noise interspersed with nauseating superlatives “Squeeeeeal! That’s just the most gorgeousest, smoochablyest fuzzywuzzy ickle… I want to eat it!”
5. Ask to see the photo again/see others of the same subject

This is my reaction:
1. Looks blankly at photo
2. “Uh-huh, yep, it’s a dog”
3. Hands picture back awkwardly

You see, I just don’t get it. I think I was born with a set of genes missing, the ones that make you want to “eat” babies and kittens and that make you want to look at pictures of other people’s things that bear no relation to you what so ever. For all the emotion I can give you, you may as well be showing me a photograph of a potato. It can be a real stumbling block, I can tell you, and it’s only getting worse due to the fact social media such as Facebook actively encourages the sharing of  photos.

I don’t mean the sharing of beautiful artistic photos, like the delightful photo bloggers of the world are busy doing, I mean the ordinary folk out there who dump 115 pictures of baby’s first hilarious attempt at getting into a laundry basket on your Facebook feed, 529 pictures of their second cousin’s wedding, or the 57 pictures of the yesterday’s home cooked dinner that actually looks like Heston Blumenthal‘s vomit. Add to these the commercially produced “cutesy” pictures of a soft focus kitten in sunglasses, dangling precariously in some allegedly adorable comedic position, accompanied by a witty caption designed to encapsulate the irony and drudgery of the everyday office worker, it’s all just a bit much and there is really no escape.

I’ve tried faking it in the past. I’ve tried to make the cooing squealing noises when shown photos of some stranger’s baby/newly decorated kitchen/mange infested dog but it just catches in my throat and I feel about as genuine as Paris Hilton in a library. What’s more, because of my inability to produce these standard noises of admiration, the person thrusting the picture of little Timmy/the granite worktops/Ol’ Scratchy under my nose then feels I have deemed their photographic subject matter inferior to other pictures I’ve been shown. They think I’m saying that their cute thing is less cute than other cuties. I’m not, truly I’m not. I just don’t find any of it cute.

Show me a cleverly shot section of unusual architecture, show me an extreme close-up of an autumnal leaf, show me someone falling over in a highly amusing situation and hurting themselves terribly. These are pictures I can get on board with, these are things that are artistic and/or delightful nuggets of Schadenfreude, either way, I can objectively view these and appreciate them without needing the ability to sound like a pigeon on cocaine.

Take the picture of the cretin slipping on a banana skin out of this for now, the other pictures are undeniably aesthetically pleasing and can be viewed by anyone, in any context and still appreciated. How do you expect me to “feel” something when I look at a poorly-lit picture of your toddler’s baking? Burnt cupcakes decorated by a 3 year old’s spittle and sprinkles is a hard artistic sell at the best of times but when that food isn’t even going to end up in my belly, it’s pretty much just a waste of eyesight. (Disclaimer: I would really rather not eat anything covered by a 3 year old’s spittle).

Your kitten/puppy/baby may have just done the “cutest” thing (in your opinion) but that’s because it’s your kitten/puppy/baby and, well, unless it’s going to end up in my belly, err, I mean, unless it’s my kitten/puppy/baby, it really doesn’t have the same impact. This really is a case of “you had to be there”. I wasn’t and 318 pictures of the occasion won’t make me feel any more warm nor any more fuzzy about the whole thing.

I know that many of you will be thinking that I’m either a hard-hearted cow or that I’m pretending to be a hard-hearted cow for comic effect. I assure you I’m not. I don’t generally like to offend people (there are of course exceptions when I’m only too willing) and I also really don’t like having to pre-empt every photo showing session with a formal apology and explanation of my genetic defect. Seriously, I actually do this.

I have one very understanding sibling, who all you “cutesy” photo sharers would do well to learn from. Instead of bombarding me with pictures of her newest family addition, knowing the absolute disinterest I have for all things “cute”, she took pity on me and assured me thusly; “Don’t worry about it. He just looks like a baby and he doesn’t do much.” I know she loves her child deeply and that he is truly unique and special to her but for these words of logic and comfort alone, she will always be my hero.

If you have something special that you think is simply wonderful and you can’t show the level of restraint my darling sister does, please can I humbly request that you limit yourself to taking 5 or less pictures of this particular “cutie” and please don’t be offended when I politely inform you that you may have my eyes but you will never have my coos. Afterall, it really doesn’t benefit either of us if I have to fake it.

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

64 responses »

  1. When I was in the 7th grade and took my camera on a trip with my friends, I got back home and had my Mom lecture me on what appropriate photo material for a trip was….. in all the truck load of photos, there was just one that wasn’t a rock, tree, mountain or stream. Just the one that had a human face in it.

    Reply
  2. I couldn’t agree more. I’m seriously considering sending anyone who sends me cutsy pics a few disgusting porn photo’s. Let them Owww and Awww about them. Just saying . . .

    Reply
  3. This was long overdue!

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  4. Is that a dog, cat or baby in the photo?

    Reply
  5. Diego Serrano

    Im sure there are a good deal of folks who feel the same way as you do, but will never admit it.
    Kudos to you for speaking your peace so unreservedly.
    The more I read your blog, the more I like you…”but not in a weird pervy way” as a friend once said. 🙂

    Reply
  6. yey for PFPT! I so agree! but I’ll submit to your attention a 24 months Jean Dujardin calendar and record your turning “dans un pigeon en cocaine” (oui oui). Hurray for autumnal leaves close ups!

    Reply
  7. Facebook is the worst. A post of a newborn (bald, wrinkly, non-gender specific, Yoda-looking) will elicit about 50 responses of “Oh my god, that is the most gorgeous baby who ever lived and who will ever live on this planet or any other!”

    Reply
    • Facebook is to blame for many of the worst oversharing crimes. I have actually seen someone post a picture of her pre-natal scan. Soooo, that’s a picture of the inside of your uterus, then. EWWWW!

      Reply
      • Bloody facebook has a lot to answer for. As does the ugmole baby in the doctors this morning. My baby is of course really handsome however I shan’t be sending you any pictures of him dressed in his tiger outfit. Mainly because it’d be detrimental to our friendship, secondly, he is a baby, he doesn’t have a tiger suit or any other animal related outfits for that matter.

        I have however heard they’re re making chitty. if you’re interested, I’ll get you an audition for the child catcher.

        Reply
        • I’ve already been approached for the role but I turned it down for the same reason I turned down Cruella Deville in that dog film. I don’t want to get typecast.

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  8. Umm. My first reaction to the cute baby shot in the loveable doggy suit was ‘Awww’. And then I read the post! Oh dear!

    Reply
    • I think we established that you have a groaning uterus from the post I did on babies putting in guest appearances at the office.

      I bet you have a stuffed toy on your bed, don’t you?

      Reply
      • Nope. Only a stuffed uterus. After groaning so much, it slipped out one day while I was playing Connect 4 and it promptly devoured the fluffy pink octopus thing that USED to be on the bed. It promptly choked and died where it lies to this day.

        Reply
  9. I don’t think Paris Hilton knows what a library is actually.

    Heston Blumenthal’s vomit has a three star Michelin. So does Gordon Ramsay’s.

    My son has a friend who must have over 1000 pictures of her daughter on her iPhone. She changes her FB profile pic of her and said daughter like her underwear and we’re all alittle tired of it. And we’re tired of the cutesy “Butterfly” knickname. *GAG*.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. If it’s not your kid, it’s not interesting. You can always tell too when someone is faking the “OOOOOOH’s” and “AAHHHHHHHHH’s”.

    Reply
    • There’s a waiting list for Heston’s vomit.

      That could be Paris Hilton’s next reality show – they just let her loose in a city and see how long it takes her to find a book. It would run for months!

      I have actually deleted certain Facebook friends based on the sheer amount of baby spam they flood the Internet with. I’m not even sorry.

      Reply
      • LOL!!!

        Good point on Paris! She wouldn’t have a problem in the city per se, but once in that library….that might be pretty hilarious…provided the producers don’t have to stop shooting to explain what everything is. It could be a production nightmare!

        I have, too, deleted people on FB because of their off spring dribble. ENOUGH ALREADY! Geez, get a hobby!

        Reply
        • I find my finger twitches over the delete button when they change their profile picture to that of their offspring. It’s not the baby’s account, is it? It’s not the baby doing the updates, it’s YOU!

          Paris couldn’t find her own bathroom without the help of her entourage.

          Reply
  10. Fine. I’ll just put these 33 photo albums back in the platinum bookcase and wait for someone who can fake it.

    Reply
  11. eremophila

    I thought the pic was for target practice……

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  12. a photo is OK, but I hate it when theres like 20 photos and the kid has only moved a millimeter or blinked …..it makes me want to scream “Just stop!”

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  13. Great line: “you may have my eyes, but you will never have my coos.” YES! ( and you are being gracious to allow 5 pictures).

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  14. missy amber

    The only pictures of my occasionally beloved offspring on my FB page are ones my friends have uploaded and tagged with my name. (Which I find slightly weird, cos it’s not me in the pictures). I love them both very much (when they’re asleep) but it’s hard enough for me, and I’m their ruddy mother. I wouldn’t dream of inflicting them, live action or photo still, on anybody else.

    Reply
    • You’re a shining example to all. Hail Missy Amber and her restrained use of family snaps!

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      • missy amber

        We only take photos for trauma material once the bratlings have reached puberty. Mark spent 10 minutes trying to line up the perfect shot of Will’s awesome builders arse hanging out of his over full nappy. It took me over 5 minutes to even think of suggesting that we should have just pulled his pants up for him instead.
        Pictures available on request. Don’t all rush at once…..

        Reply
  15. Ditto on the oversharing.

    But when you start to pick on LOLCATS, now that’s some kind of heresy against the internet in general. Not sure I can condone that.

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    • Now I know what Hell will be like when I die. Me, strapped to a chair, my eyelids glued open and LOLCATS for all eternity.

      Reply
      • Don’t really mean to argue with you here. I’d sympathize if it’s just a random collection of lolcats….

        But judicious use of captioned pics to illustrate something or puncuate a discussion is a vital part of internet culture. I try to use them that way on my own site. The widespread use of seeming facial expressions on cats is often credited to 4chan. (“the dark heart of the internet”, it’s called) Don’t know about that, but it’s actually kinda useful in context.

        Reply
        • Not seeing it as an argument, just a healthy exchange of opinions. 🙂

          You’re more than welcome to use kitty piccies as and when you see fit, I just can’t pretend to find them cute if you show them to me, that’s all.

          Reply
  16. Just discovered your blog and have spent the last hour scrolling through it. Love the posts and love the comments. Thanks, so much better than the work I am supposed to be doing.

    Reply
  17. I have this beautiful picture of a potato for you to gasp at! Please….intake air into your lungs sharply and tell me that you want to eat my potato, and how cute of a spud it is!!

    Loved your blog. I must subscribe. Thank you.
    Dug
    http://tr4f.wordpress.com/bike-build-in-photos/

    Reply
    • I can’t wait to see this cuddly-wuddly potato, soooo cute! Show me 58 more pictures of the same spud, pleeeeease! *puke*

      Thanks for subscribing, I hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  18. “and please don’t be offended when I politely inform you that you may have my eyes but you will never have my coos” – haha, I’m with you there… so hilarious! regards… 😉

    Reply
  19. I must have lost something in the aww gene too because I feel the same way. At the first shot, I stare and move on. I don’t think the 5th shot 2 seconds later makes a difference anyway.

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  20. LOL This is bliss. You’ve hit the nail on the pups head. Often it becomes so painstakingly awkward you almost feel obligated to briskly walk out the door because it would honestly seem less rude at that point. Loved it. Great sight and your style of writing has me in stitches. What nationality are you?

    Reply
    • I genuinely do pre-empt any photo showing activity with a very blunt warning. It still doesn’t seem to stop them so maybe legging it out the room is the only answer after all!

      I’m English, through and through. 🙂

      Reply
      • Cheers to that! Amazing blog by the way. Your writing style is hilarious but thankfully it’s still smart writing. It has a point and you’ve remained true to it. I’ll be back for another read mate 😉

        Reply

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