We all get the urge. You’ll be innocently browsing the Internet, tweeting and hashtagging without a care in the world… You’ll be watching TV–some reality show that should’ve been cancelled fourteen seasons ago… You’ll be on your iPad, not beating your all-time high score in Angry Birds and swearing vengeance on those damn pigs… You’ll be sending a quick text to a friend… In all these scenarios, the screen that you’re using will eventually fade to black, and you’ll come face-to-face with your worst enemy: the ugly face.

A screen is to an ugly face what a full moon is to a werewolf: it makes you change whether you like it or not. It always surprises and startles you, too. You’ll close out of your Internet browser, return to your computer’s desktop with its dark background (probably a picture of your pet doing something only you find adorable), and there, reflected in the screen, will be some squinty, clenched-jaw gargoyle-esque version of yourself. You’ll gasp, and quickly rearrange your face before anyone sees you, trying to erase the lingering ugly crease-lines and return to your normal self. But unfortunately, once you’ve seen your own ugly face, you’re never the same. You soon become all too aware of your screen face habits.

Oh, hi there!
Oh, hi there!

I always start off with my normal, reasonably pleasing average face before I get deep into my web-surfing or television watching. After approximately 30 minutes passes, I start feeling the ugly face tugging at my facial expressions. My upper lip twitches, wanting to curl back most unflatteringly. My eyes desperately long to squint. My brows start bearing down, knitting themselves together. My nose eagerly awaits being scrunched. …When I’m all alone, I give in to the temptation. I now live in constant fear that my webcam will spontaneously turn on, documenting my facial changes from the good, to the bad, to the hideously, embarrassingly ugly.

This is how I look when I'm responding to your comments. Sorry to spoil all your fantasies.
This is how I look when I’m responding to your comments. Sorry to spoil all your fantasies.

In succumbing to the ugly face, you’re flirting with disaster. You will be seen eventually. The first time I was seen, my mom caught me deeply embroiled in an ugly face that had been planted there for a good 20 minutes. She came in the room, and so invested was I in my Facebook creeping, that I forgot to turn back into my normal self. She noticed my horrendousness immediately prompting a, “What’s wrong?” I further furrowed my brows at my laptop, thinking what is she— OH NO, MY FACE! I quickly, painstakingly, snapped my features back to their normal order like a grotesque, technology-adled Mr. Potato Head, forcing my mouth that had been pressed into a hard line for quite some time to smile again, and offered a simple, “Oh! Nothing, just reading something.” Yeah, right. I was deeply embroiled in one satisfyingly ugly face. Is that so wrong?!

Making a good, attractive face when you’re perusing the Internet, texting, or watching is totally unnatural. I spend the whole day maintaining socially acceptable faces for the benefit of the people I interact with, but damn it, after a long day, I just want to take off my bra, let my hair down, and make some ugly faces. In a perfect world, the ugly face would be accepted. We’d no longer have to be ashamed of our disgusting screen-induced grimaces! In this ugly utopia ugtopia, whenever you’d go into Starbucks, you’d see all usual suspects drinking their mocha chocolata ya ya lattes, using Apple products, and making faces not even a mother could love!

So rise up, fellow ugly facers! I know the numbers are in our favor. We can organize and make this world an uglier place!

47 thoughts on “The Ugly Face

  1. Funny. Some of us will have an easier time than others in making these ugly faces. I know what you mean. It happens to me when I am watching something on my computer that requires a bit of thought. it will go black and there I am, ewwwwwww. Thank you for allowing me to be more acceptable in my ugliness. I find it hard to believe you could possibly have an ugly face by the way! 🙂 Thank you for the entertainment.

    1. Aw, shucks. We just need to embrace it! You walk through any college library, and aside from people sleeping and looking surly with their Beats by Dr. Dre headphones in, ugly screen faces are all you see. That’s the only reason I miss school–ugly face acceptance.

      1. I believe that must be true. College has to have that! I would miss that too. When I was in college. No laptops, no cell phones, no Ipads, no Facebook, no technology whatsoever! How did we learn. It was much harder to communicate as well. You had to like…….talk. It was a strange world. I was thinking how creative it is to notice this and write about it. You have a gift. 🙂

      2. This begs the question, before cell phones and computers, was there an ugly encyclopedia and rotary phone face?! We’re gettin’ historical now!

        I don’t know about a gift, just having a need for people to pardon my ugly squinting combined with too much time on my hands.

      3. It is a gift, because when you talk about them I know exactly what you mean, yet I have never thought of things like ugly face, peeps or gym etiquette before as hurdles to get through life. It is great observation. The powers of the introvert.
        You are getting historical now, remember I am twenty years ahead of you. If you wanted to get in touch with someone in their dorm you called the payphone at the end of the hall. I am trying to remember if there was an ugly face there. Probably. Also I am not sure if you are aware of this, 🙂 but there was quite a bit of drinking and recreational drug use in college back then. I saw many an ugly face in that situation. I am thinking that in the library there were many ugly faces searching through the card catalog looking for a reference books about Horace Mann. We just thought that is how you looked when you learned. Then we drank and smoked pot and forgot about it. (others probably did those things, I admit nothing.) 🙂

      4. HA! Oh the card catalog! I had almost forgotten! I can only imagine the squinting, brow-furrowing, and peering associated with that. Melvil Dewey probably had the ugliest face of them all!

      1. It’s going to be donofalltrades. I’ll be putting that up next week. I suppose I should remind him, he sent it in a little while back… Don’t forget you’re up next month!

      2. I’ll start harassing you at the end of April. If I don’t get a post from you, I’m writing a fraudulent non-bitter post and claiming you wrote it, thereby ruining you bittereputation.

  2. Too funny! Just yesterday I was typing furiously away, responding to comments and emails. Then suddenly – I looked up. And at my work there are mirrors all over the walls so I in fact met my own ugly face. Not only did I have the ugly face going on, but I also had that awkward slouched-over, face 2 inches from the screen situation going on. Now THAT is just plain sexy!

    1. After reading this, I realized I was hunched over Quasimodo style. Mirrors don’t belong anywhere near a computer monitor or TV screen. That should be an entire class at interior design school.

  3. Haha , my goodnes I’m glad I’m not the only one. I don’t know when it started but everytime I get really deep into a movie my jaw and the whole head altogether drops down very slowly.. then my eyebrows go with it so my eyes are forced to slantedly glare at the screen. But my neck would hurt so I’d reposition myself every 20-30 minutes. So catch me at those intervals !

    1. My face sometimes turns into a snarl–I have no idea why. I’m actually getting fine lines around my eyes from squinting, and there’s no good reason for it either! I can see! It’s just comfort ugly.

  4. The worst is when I’ve left my iPhone camera on “self-portrait” mode and then I open it up to take a photo of something other than my face. Those first few seconds of being accidentally on camera are always hard on the self-esteem.

  5. Well, I never knew this was a thing. I especially never knew this was a thing that I do. Now I can never unknow about my ugly face. Have I been doing this in public for 25 years?! Oh. My. God.

    What have you done Katie?!

  6. I accidentally flipped my wife’s make-up mirror to the magnified x 100,000 once while trimming my nose hair. I still have nightmares. On the positive side, it has desensitized me to the iPad “ugly face” experience.

  7. Every time I catch my ugly face, I wonder if I’m actually just wildly unattractive but delusional enough to think I’m alright looking. Maybe my laptop is just trying to help. It doesn’t want me walking through life with false confidence.

    1. Ashley, I do that, too. What if my ugly face is really my true face and what I think is my normal face is actually a good face I’m consciously making for the world to mask my ugly?!

  8. I’m at Starbucks (since that’s clearly where the cool kids without home internet do their blogging) and the girl next to me was just completely making the ugly face! Wish I could have gotten a picture…it was a great face!

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