"You know who you look like?..."



It has started again. It's open season on me. The other day I was walking through the lobby and our security guy said "um, Lilly, you know who you..." He didn't even have to finish his sentence. Thing is, I do know! Apparently it's that time of year again. I know winter has hit when I get pale again and the comments pop out. I get them everywhere, at the gas station (from a little old lady leaning out the window of her car), from people in stores, from friends of friends who I've just been introduced to.

When I was first told that I looked like Janeane Garofalo, I didn't know who she was. I hadn't really paid attention to the snarky best friend in Reality Bites (Jon has forgiven me) and there wasn't really anything else of note. I was first 'sighted' in college by a guy named Ethan who would not let the subject go. When I wouldn't sign an autograph he called me a bitch (ever caving to my fans, I signed, naturally misspelled). I saw him the next day on the street and he started yelling "Janeane! Look! I never washed it off!!!", pointing to the signature on his arm. Poor (dirty) boy.

Soon after, the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs was released. My lookalike Janeane was cast opposite Uma Thurman as the 'ugly one'. Not even kidding. For those of you who I haven't forced to watch it (it has since become one of my favorite movies), it's about a girl who has a blind date with a hot British guy and ends up goofing things up by impulsively describing his looks (so he could identify her when they met) as her model (tall, skinny, blonde) neighbor. So begins the game of the pretty face (Uma) and the brain (Janeane), a chick flick Cyrano, basically. In the end (warning: spoilers!), the guy somehow decides that she is beautiful inside and out, blah blah blah. She was the whole package.

It's a fun movie and a brilliant exploration of the beauty standard in the US (and pretty much worldwide these days). But come on, as if gaining the freshman 15 isn't bad enough, to be told day in and day out that you looked like the not pretty one from the movie was a little ouchy.

When I graduated and moved to LA, it started to happen more (again, it was fall, again my tan was fading. There is a distinct correlation). If nothing else, at least people in LA know who's a celeb. But here was the kicker- I looked so much like her *yet* she wasn't cool enough to get me to the front of the line at Garden of Eden or the Standard (the year was 1999 ye club-going LA snobs!). Useless. I mean, if I was going to look like someone, couldn't it be Pamela Anderson or Cindy Crawford? Couldn't I at least get some freebies?

I started to resent it. She was a bitter cynical comedian-- I wasn't those things!!! Oh wait- I was in law school. I was totally those things.

But for the past few years I just haven't gotten it as much. Something is bringing out my Janeane-ness and people are noticing it once again. As time passed, I started to identify with her more. For one thing, I could spell her name right. I admired her willingness to be political in a violently apolitical society. I didn't admire her brief loss of 20 lbs and hair dying (to, you guessed it - blonde). I felt betrayed... Like she didn't want to look like me!

So for a while there was the fadeout. I was told I looked like Whoopi Goldberg (interesting but inaccurate, not only given my ethnicity, but my eyebrow - as in "I have them" - situation) and the Nanny. But apparently my Janeaneness is blossoming again. It's nice to have her back.

3 comments:

susie said...

that's a great photo of you!
oops. i mean...

Chad said...

that is funny. I was going to post a blog about the guy in grays anatomy and myself. I get the same thing all the time. When my hair is longer, i get doug savant...

Kate said...

Hmmm, I've always said that if there were a movie made about my life, I'd like good old Janeane to play my part. Maybe it's not such a bad thing to look like her, eh?