Church pictures. Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old. I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child. I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.
Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later. They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week. So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…
We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!) As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt. We were off to a wonderful start. A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready. The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it. She directed me to sit on one of two stools. She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her. Straddle her.” I fought back a laugh.
My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click. I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled. We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture? I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over. I stood up and turned to leave.
“So, we’re done?”
“Um, no. Unless you really want to be.”
How could I walk away from this nice old lady? She was just doing her job. OK fine. She had us stand and face each other. “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest. Can you see this in your mind? It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head. I mean seriously. Who does that?
I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”
Startled, she said, “Why not?”
“It’s too cheesy. Sorry, I just can’t.”
Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position. Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose. This was God’s punishment for being difficult.
Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him. I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward. Really? Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done. Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer. She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression. Ew. The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me. I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years. Not exactly the church photo I had in mind. I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing. She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.
She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks. Oh yes. That is for sure going on the mantle. When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.
“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”
“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”
“Uh, no thanks. I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”
We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left. We got in the car in silence. I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. The whole things was just weird. These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us! They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.
I texted a photo of our pics to my mom. Her response?
“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”
The point? If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously. Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.