Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?

On Saturday night, I realized that I have a problem.

When I meet someone for the first time, I am always convinced that they ‘look like someone’. I figure out who it is, and inevitably I tell them.

This rarely goes well.

When we were in Indy, I met a friend of a friend at a Super Bowl party, took one look at him, and decided that he looked like Matthew Broderick. Here’s what went down:

Me: You look just like Matthew Broderick. Does anyone ever tell you that?

Matthew Broderick
Admittedly, not the most attractive guy I’ve ever laid eyes on. Photo from Creative Commons

Him: No, you’re the first.

Me: You know something funny? My sister has a list of people she can’t look at while she’s eating, and Matthew Broderick is at the top of that list.

Him: …ouch.

Me: I’m not saying that she couldn’t look at YOU while she’s eating, because obviously you’re not actually Matthew Broderick. It’s more his personality that she doesn’t like, probably.

Pseudo-Matthew and I did not develop a friendship. What’s worse, I relayed this conversation to my sister Kate when we visited her in LA.

“That’s not even true,” she said. “I used to have a list of people I couldn’t look at while eating, but there was only one guy on it and it wasn’t Matthew Broderick. It was that other guy, from Sex and the City.”

“Kyle MacLachlan?” I said. “That’s fair. Maybe I got confused by the Sex and the City connection.”

“So stop telling people that,” Kate said.

This kind of thing happens all the time. I can’t pick out neutral, attractive celebrities. I have to pick somebody obscure or offensive. Like on Saturday night.

We went to a 30th birthday party for a friend of Jared’s from high school. There was a young blonde girl there who looked so familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

Finally, mid-conversation, it hit me.

“You look exactly like this girl I used to work with,” I blurted out. “I guess you wouldn’t know her. We worked together in the UK. But you look just like her. Man, it’s weird.”

That wasn’t the only thing that was weird. Our conversation fizzled out quickly after that, leaving her confused and me annoyed that she didn’t get more excited about the physical resemblance between her and some chick she’d never met.

Then I met another of Jared’s friends. I’d met him once before and never managed to work out his celebrity doppelgänger. But that night, I got it.

Rowan Atkinson
More dapper than Matthew Broderick. Creative Commons image.

“Mr. Bean!” I cried. “You look so much like Mr. Bean!”

His face fell. “Do you mean…Rowan Atkinson? That Mr. Bean?”

“Is there another one?” I was excited, and waited for him to say yeah, people tell me that all the time.

He didn’t say that.

“That hurts me,” he said. “I thought we were friends.”

“But,” I spluttered. “Mr. Bean!” Then I realized that it probably wasn’t a compliment. And he didn’t look that much like him, anyway.

At this point, it is too late to backpedal, but that didn’t stop me.

“Maybe you don’t really look like him,” I said. “It’s probably on my brain from Korea. We used to watch Mr. Bean in class all the time.”

Seven months ago.

“It’s too late,” he said. “You said it. I can’t erase that.”

Luckily, Jared saved the day. “Didn’t the Queen make Mr. Bean a knight? Maybe we should call you Sir.”

“Yeah,” his friend said, perking up. “Sir Bean. That works.”

Silver lining found, the unfortunate incident was swept under the rug, never to be spoken of again.

Until now, obviously. (And, unfortunately, we were mistaken. Mr. Bean was never knighted, but let’s just keep that quiet.)

From now on, I’m going to try something new: If someone looks familiar, I’m just going to keep it to myself. And if you ever had the fleeting thought that I look like Margaret Thatcher or Octomom, now’s the time to fess up.

I probably deserve it.

Washington, DC
New mantra: First think, then speak.

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  1. My friend once told someone they looked like Mr Bean. They made her inhale helium from a balloon and apologise in a squeaky voice. I still have the video!

    1. 1) I’m glad I’m not the only one who has told somebody they look like Mr. Bean 2) I’m glad there was no such forced apology in my case!

  2. Haha man can I relate. I’ve started to recognize when it will go over well though, so now I wait until I know the person decently (say, two days instead of two minutes) and then tell them who they remind me of (just this week I told a new colleague she looked like the Russian version of my Chinese cousin). But yeah, queen of the awkward conversation starter, that’s me too.

    1. “The Russian version of my Chinese cousin” hahaha I can’t wait for that one to slip out of my mouth. Sometimes I have to hold back from borrowing someone’s phone and pulling out facebook to show them who they look like. Inevitably, they don’t see the resemblance.

  3. Ha, maybe you can just use it to remember names or something (XXX looks just like Mr Bean! XXX Bean!).

    Lately I’ve been getting Emily Blunt as my doppelganger, which is nice, but I’m never really sure where to take it from there…

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