Does This Ever Happen to You?
For a few years now, whenever I go out downtown (that's DC for you newer readers, if there are any), I get stared at. Not by everybody, though. It tends to be younger folks. Not kids, but people in their mid-20s or so.
I'm not this fabulous-looking guy, and I'm not astonishingly ugly or funny-looking--in fact I think I'm pretty generic--so I'm pretty sure it's not my appearance. The only possibly non-generic about me is my overall size. I'm a pretty big guy. But even then, I'm not some super hulk, I'm just bigger than average. Certainly nothing to rivet the attention of strangers.
I think they think I look like somebody. Is it somebody famous? Is it just somebody they know? I'm not sure.
For those who think I'm just all full of myself and imagining things, I present this example, which has actually happened more than once:
I'm standing at a rock show at one of the fine local venues. Perhaps enjoying a beer. A couple of 20-something white professional-looking types are standing nearby. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that one of them keeps looking at me. Like, a lot. Like he WANTS me to see him doing it so I'll look directly at him. When I don't look over directly, he enlists one of his friends to determine if I'm "him." The friend may be skeptical, or he may agree. It hardly matters. I'm the subject of a certain amount of observation and discreet finger pointing amongst the first guy and his friends until the main act comes onstage.
What the fuck is that? Even at shows where I don't actually overhear someone ask a friend if I'm "him," I often catch people trying to get a better look at me.
If I go to a busy hipster-friendly restaurant, there's a chance that I'll catch someone craning from behind their menu or their date at another table to get another look at me.
Here's the kicker in all this. I really don't look like anyone in particular, except maybe my equally not-famous brother-in-law a little bit. Even that's not that close a resemblance--we could be cousins, or we could be what we are: totally unrelated--but it's been mentioned. But I can't for the life of me figure out who people are expecting to see in Adams Morgan or on U Street or at the rock clubs that I could resemble. I have to assume this person is famous enough, at least in those circles, to cause people to forget their manners and stare. Who the hell could it be? Stumped, I tell you.
Am I so narcissistic that I'm imagining all this (though I did not imagine the two times I actually heard someone ask someone else if I were "him"), imagining that people find me mysterious and handsome or something? Am I just one of those people that looks like "somebody," though you can't place who I resemble?
I suppose it's kind of fun. It's a puzzle for both me and the starer--am I whoever? Who is whoever? But I'd really like to know who the hell I'm supposed to be--there might be a free beer in it if I could successfully cultivate the right look. So next time you're trying to figure out if that guy at the hipster bar, rock show, restaurant is --insert famous name here--, please go over and ask. It might be me, and I'm dying to know who I'm supposed to be.