Jokes about romance writers used to be we walked around wearing pink, sometimes feather boas (I’ve got to admit I have one but it’s purple :}) and perhaps look over the top. But honest, we’re like everyone else and sometimes get caught not looking the image of a writer.
In the early 1980s I was interviewed by the Orange County Register, pictures taken, the whole thing.
The day the article came out my cockatiel, Shadow (named after my book Dancer in the Shadows) pulled a blood feather. Since I couldn’t get the bleeding stopped, I raced him to the pet ER. I had shoulder-length hair pulled up in a sloppy ponytail, shorts and t-shirt that had seen better days and no make up.
You got it. I walked into the reception area with Shadow in a small travel cage, and right there on the receptionist’s desk was the newspaper turned to that article and a large photo of me. Sigh! The receptionist took my info, stared at my name on the paperwork, looked at the picture then looked up at me. She didn’t say a word, but easy to see what she was thinking, but she also knew why.
Yes, I could have taken the time to fix my hair better, throw on some makeup and find more suitable clothing, but it was an emergency. It seems we’re never our best during emergencies, are we?
Then a few years later, Donnie, my Amazon blue front parrot I’d rescued from an abusive home freaked out and tore my lower lip. I sat in the ER with an ice pack on my mouth, wet hair straight from the shower, yep, no make up again and I threw on shorts and a t-shirt by the time my husband got home from work to take me to the ER. At least this time there was no newspaper picture lying around showing me at my best when I’m there looking at my worst. Although, what made it bad for me was the super cute male nurse who helped treat me. I ended up with six stitches in my lower lip and the doctor used what looked like turquoise fishing line. Funny thing was my husband and I went to a parrot mart at the fairgrounds that weekend and every breeder looked at me and said “blue front?” Yes, a reputation those guys have.
I really try to look human when I go out even if it’s tinted moisturizer (my best friend), hint of bronzer, blush, and mascara. I have permanent make up for my eyebrows and lower eyeliner, so that saves some time. If nothing else, sunglasses are fantastic.
What about you? Has there ever been a time when you’ve been out and caught off guard? If so, how did you handle it?