I must have one of those faces. One of those faces that everyone feels remind them of someone else. Often people whom I have never met will mistake me for someone else. Usually it is for an old friend or classmate. More often then not, the conversation ends with a “oh, sorry, you look just like….” However, there are those occasions when it ends in an unexpected way. Heck, it can begin in an unexpected way.
A majority of individuals would probably enjoy being told by others that they resemble a celebrity. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t love to be told that they look like an attractive and highly talented person. As an example, I am often told by my friends, customers, even strangers that I resemble Anne Hathaway. I am certain that I don’t. Long face, darkish hair, sure. But that is where it ends in my opinion. Other people feel differently, evidence of that was presented to me once before.
Several years ago I was in Chicago with a small group of ladies for a bachelorette party. The day was sunshine filled, with the heat of the sun and the breeze off of the lake surrounded us. You couldn’t ask for better weather. The weekend had brought out a large volume of faces. It was the perfect day to laugh, window shop and sample ice cream. (Oh such delicious ice cream!) We had just finished our alfresco lunch and had plans to see a touring acrobatic show at the amphitheater near Navy Pier. We arrived and found that there had been a problem with my ticket. I told the others to go in and that I would catch up in a minute after taking care of it. That way they could get good seats in the general seating space.
Navy Pier is a great place for tourists and local families to enjoy themselves. Also a perfect place to see a variety of people from all walks of life. Cyclists and joggers weave around gawkers with cameras and phones in outstretched hands, before those selfie sticks became popular. So while I was waiting in line I took in my surroundings from behind a pair of perfectly large and dark sunglasses. I’m not a particularly fashion-forward person, but my slim fit jeans and cute tank top that day made me feel quite attractive. You know that feeling I’m talking about, that perfect outfit that makes you feel amazing. You stand a little taller and carry yourself differently. The sunglasses just topped off the feel. So I took in the day of relaxing and celebrating, overall feeling pretty good about myself.
As I was busy looking around I had completely missed the young girl come up from behind me. She had perfectly luminous black hair and one of those tour bus lanyards around her neck, so when she patted my arm I was a little surprised. I am embarrassed to say that I could only decipher that she spoke an Asian language and with a very excited tone uttered a broken “Anne Hath-way! Pwincess Mia!” Uh-oh.
She was speaking very quickly, and calling her parents and two brothers over. I was trying desperately to make out what she was asking until she gestured to her parents to raise the camera as she squeezed in close for a picture. This is about the time I realized that she thought I was in fact THE Anne Hathaway. Without my friends nearby I was cornered and without anyone to help explain that I most certainly was not her. I tried as best I could to explain this, that I was just some regular, everyday tourist like them. I was failing. Miserably.
The little girl started crying and her mother was becoming visibly upset. The last think I want to do is upset a little girl so I took off my sunglasses to show them that this was an honest mistake. I thought that it would solidify my case.
It did not. I was wrong…..so very wrong.
Instead the family got even more excited, likely thinking that I had agreed to take a photo. What could I do? Upset a little girl who was thrilled at the thought of seeing a famous actress in what was likely a favorite movie of hers, or go with the flow. So I bent down onto my knees, put my arm around her and smiled as largely as I could as her father raised the camera. Oh, but that wasn’t the end of it. After a few loud clicks, her mother had produced a pen and a map of downtown Chicago. Oh jeeze…..
I scribbled a rounded “A” followed by an indecipherable scribble and a large “H” and a flourish in the bright blue of Lake Michigan. I handed it to her, her tears had completely evaporated and a huge smile had appeared on her face. Wrapping her arms around me and speaking rapidly, she was clearly elated. Her parents uttered broken “thanks you’s” and waved to me as they proceeded to look at the map clutched in their daughter’s hand.
Meanwhile, I replaced my sunglasses feeling like an absolute fraud. At that moment I wished I could have just become invisible. The woman behind the ticket counter had witnessed the whole affair, her amusement was evident in her face. She laughed as I approached the ticket counter. She told me that I shouldn’t feel bad. She said that in the years that she worked there, she often saw tourists mistake random people for someone famous. As she corrected my ticket, she told me that I should take it I stride.
“After all,” she told me, “that little girl will be on cloud nine for weeks and will be very popular with her friends. You’ve given her a treasured memory.”
When I returned the the ladies of the party, they questioned me what had taken so long. I could feel my cheeks brighten as I opened my mouth to explain my delay. Of course they were amused when I explained what had just transpired. And a good teasing followed.
So somewhere out there in the world, is a young teenage girl who once traveled with her family to Chicago and thinks that she once met the beautiful and talented Anne Hathaway. And at this keyboard is a someone who, even seven years later, still feels a bit guilty about it.