Celebrity Look-Alikes: Compliment or Cut-down?

31 Aug

Tonight I had to restrain myself on Facebook. One of my friends posted a photo of his teenage daughter’s new haircut.

My first reaction: Awww! She looks like Pam Beasley on The Office!

I almost typed that, thinking it was a compliment, but then I realized a teenager might not want to identify with the adorable secretary on a show that is cast with people who aren’t overtly pretty, but who are pretty average (at least by Hollywood standards).

Thankfully, I restrained myself.

A few years ago, I wasn’t quite as thoughtful. I informed my new co-worker: You know who you look exactly like? Andy Kaufman!

The words had just left my mouth when I processed his facial expression. It was not unlike someone discovering that they have as many nipples as a cat: fascination turning into horror.

For a minute it crossed my mind to say, “I meant you remind me of him because you’re so funny!” But I don’t find Andy Kaufman funny. So instead, I just said, “It must be the eyes,” and left it at that.

But that’s kind of the thing, right? No one will ever be as attractive as the celebrity to whom you are comparing them (unless it’s Andy Kaufman!), so it’s always going to be a losing battle.

On a recent trip to Chicago, someone on the team there told my friend Margaret that she looks like Barbara Hershey. And then promptly had to follow-up with, “You know, except she’s a brunette. And she’s older than you. And…”

Based on that description, she could be MY celebrity look-alike.

Awesome. Sure beats the Steve Buscemi comparisons.

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