DMV: department of my vanity

I will not divulge my age, but it’s safe to say the 90s were not a good look for anyone. As you can see by the photo below, I apparently didn’t own a brush or tweezers when I was 16. God bless my parents for letting me dress, groom & present myself however I pleased growing up. Eventually I learned that a v-neck tshirt wasn’t showing too much skin, there’s no reason to fight curly hair, and sometimes a little bronzer doesn’t hurt. Let’s just say, the learning curve to becoming a woman was steep for me.

Despite all of this, a little piece of me was actually sad when I got the renewal notice from the DMV that it was finally time to come in and retake my picture. I’ve had this gem since I passed my driver’s test when I was 16:

16 & brushless

Today, I woke up early ready to bravely face the infamous Department of Motor Vehicles. My game plan was as follows: since you only see the shoulders of any top, I avoided dull black or white tops; they’d just wash me out. I applied a neutral eye look with big beautiful eyes, layered some dallas bronzer with CORALista for a pop of color on my cheeks…and just for a TAKE THAT to standardized photos, I wore full-finish lipstick in saucy, a sparkling tangerine shade.

While I’ve heard horror stories of the DMV, especially the one in San Francisco, today wasn’t that bad. I was in line before the doors opened and the whole process was rather painless (I felt victorious when I got to keep the same weight information)…that is, until the picture.

So here I am in my third line of the morning, the guy shuffles me over to stand behind the white line in front of a small blue screen. I smile. I’m ready. He says, “Oh no, you can’t smile.” WHAAT?! You can’t change the rules, DMV! When did this happen & what purpose does this serve? I give him a serious look of confusion. He just stares at me. (Secretly, I wish I knew this new rule ahead of time so I could have practiced. Yes, vain as it is, I’d like to look okay-to-good in my picture. I am unconvinced that normal-looking, non-smiling pictures are achievable. I am not a model. My “sexy pout” looks like a duck face.  I smile too much on a daily basis to make unsmiling look natural.)

Okay, fine. As if that picture above didn’t give it away, I’ve been a rule follower since I was young. So I abide. I strained to have the smiley-est unsmile that I could, tried “smiling with my eyes” so I didn’t look mean, tilted my head forward, and thought to myself: this is the most ridiculous I’ve looked in a while.

Click. So, that’s it? I am ushered out of the DMV in less than 2 hours with no war wounds, except a bemused facial expression captured on film; I continue to be utterly perplexed at the No Smile Rule. This new photo marks a new era of geekalicious. Silver lining: Maybe I get to have that saucy lipstick in this driver license photo until I’m 60.

Do you have a DMV horror story? How is a gal to look anything but boring in her driver license’s photo?!