I woke up yesterday morning after a rather large night on the champagne with Miss A, during what can only be termed the 'C'mon Let's Vogue/What Happens in Seminyak Stays In Seminyak Tour of 14' with a very dry mouth and an interwebs full of a strange face which Google assured me was, in fact, Renée Zellweger's.
After looking at several pages of said face, I did believe that yes, it was in fact that of Bridget Jones, former spinster of the parish, and Roxie Hart, merry murderess of Chicago, amongst other personas. Did it remotely resemble her? Nope. Did I buy into the whole 'stop criticising her because she's fighting the Hollywood anti-ageing syndrome/she's not Jennifer Lawrence and we are evil for saying so/oh my God leave her alone, she's not had cosmetic surgery BECAUSE SHE SAYS SO AND STARS DON'T LIE' shebang?
No. People were shocked. She's a public figure, she has not been out and about for a while, and suddenly she turns up with a brand new face. If she and John Travolta had been running around as arch-nemeses in a real-life scenario where they throw each other's visages on, I for one wouldn't have blinked an eyelid. The woman is Castor Pollux, Mark II.
But as far as I am concerned, she has simply stopped looking like Renée Zellweger; and for me, this debate isn't about ageing and becoming a has-been in Hollywood; it isn't even about cosmetic surgery. I don't particularly care if she wants to look like Fantastic Mr Fox. The point is, she looks like a different person, and if you want to say 'wow, she looks different' - because she DOES look different, and it's a bloody big shock - then fair play to you. It isn't being a troll, or a bad person, to say 'holy utility belts, Batman, I think the Joker's been playing at DJs makeup counter again'.
What it comes down to is this.
Everyone knows what it is to be judged. Now that the virtual world has virtually become our reality, and the power of the like has taken over as our arbiter of taste, we all understand the sting of self-exposure. It is something that has come home to me more than ever this week, as I remember what it is to be a five foot ten, pale, pale, pale red head in a country which is inundated with people seeking the sun - or people seeking to nullify the effects of the sun.
Judgement is constant and acute. Stares are obvious and plentiful. This is not ego speaking; quite the opposite. But I understand, to a very, very small extent, what it's like to be gawked at for having a different look.
Mind you -
(And this is why Jerry Maguire and associates, including Dorothy, can talk to my hand) -
My face is, as far as I know...