As I was grabbing my usual go-to brand of orange juice at the grocery store a few weeks ago, I actually took the time to look, read and comprehend the label. There it was: “100% REAL Orange Juice.” I about choked on my Dentyne. 100%? Real? Isn’t all orange juice, like, real, and 100% full of orange juice? Evidently not.
Disgusted by my discovery in the OJ department, I headed over to the cereal aisle. The word “real,” I discovered, is way overused. I came away wondering if Honey Bunches o’ Oats has any honey in it. And what really comprises their “oats”? Sawdust? Are the “red berries” in Special K just shredded cardboard chunks saturated with Red Dye #2? Ewwwwww.
Don’t get me started.
Okay. Get me started…
“Are they real?” That’s what I asked my friends as we walked past an attractive, long-legged, too-perky-to-be-true breasted 30-something last weekend. When I saw Christie Brinkley on TV recently, I wondered if that was all her real hair. Because it was way too full and fluffy and thick and lustrous to be on the head of someone over 50. And then — get this — I saw an ad for “Booty Pads.” Really?
So I guess that’s part of our reality these days — wondering if derrieres are really that rounded and pert, if teeth are really that perfect and white, if hair, breasts, lips, and even our tans, are…real.
And what about when I was on the phone with United Airlines last week? Was the
United agent really sitting in America…or the Phillipines?
I mean, Beyoncé didn’t really sing the National Anthem on Inauguration Day.
Poor Manti Te’o. He didn’t even fall in love with a real person.
And Lance Armstrong didn’t really (legitimately, honestly) win all those Tour de France’s.
As for Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, sadly, they’re deceased. I know the impersonators are laughing all the way to the bank, but I really wish they’d stop acting like they’re the real thing, when clearly they’re just Great Pretender Wannabe’s.
Perhaps the mother of all un-realness, though, is Las Vegas. They have a faux Venice, a pretend Paris, a counterfeit New York, and a bogus New Orleans. It’s all smoke, mirrors and fakery. Why can’t you just be yourself, Las Vegas — an American getaway destination, an entertainment oasis in the middle of the desert?
When Chuck and I were in Grand Cayman, I was trying to decide which flip-flops to buy. Not a big deal, right? But the salesperson was pushing the Havaiana brand. “They’re made from real Brazilian rubber!” As if that made them infinitely more desirable and valuable. (Okay. I’m a sucker. I did buy the Havaianas.)
And the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Are you kidding me? First of all, most of them aren’t even wives anymore, as they’ve long since divorced. Their faces aren’t real either. They’re made of synthetics, molded, sculpted and crafted by the finest plastic surgeons money can buy. Calling them the real housewives is like calling me The Real Best Cook of Gold River. It just isn’t true.
The only thing real about reality TV is the obscene amount of money made by the producers and cast…at the expense of our easily influenced, impressionable youth.
Let’s keep it real. Please!
Well, except for some things…
I’m guilty of being sucked into the fray. For many, many, many years, I’ve paid many, many, many dollars to make my hair look like it was really sun-kissed, like my life is spent cavorting on sunny, sandy beaches — when in reality I’m now just a middle-aged frumpish housewife trying futilely to cover up my mousy dark blonde and gray hair. As for my “tan,” I have Jergens Natural Glow foaming moisturizer to thank for that. And I often wear my “fake pony” — a wonderful, synthetic, thick, fat ponytail that I just clamp onto the back of my head. (There. True confessions. Feels good to get that off my 34A real chest.)
Okay. So I have a question for you. Are these images (below) photos or paintings?
They’re paintings, by New Realism artist Christopher Stott. Realism at its very, very, honest-to-goodness best. (If you want to see his work in person, go to Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento. Truly worth the visit!)
So is our life a sequence of little white lies and falsehoods? Is our everyday world filled with mini-untruths and distortion? I think so. Do I like it? Not at all. But as of right now, it’s our reality. For reals.
I say we now, together, start a new movement: NO MO’ FAUX! Let’s go back to keeping it real.