The grass is always greener on the other side. In a world of billboards, adverts and photoshop it’s hard to stop wishing. “A smaller nose”, we think, meandering through life, “less freckles”, “straighter toes”.
So what would happen if one day, we could suddenly all change our appearance? Shape-shift?
The answer seems pretty obvious – the world would be bursting at the seams with sublime specimens of humanity. We would all be ‘The Beautiful People’, ‘The It Girl’ ‘The Hot Guy’. But we would also all be clones. Imagine the amount of dudes that would say, “I’m gonna look like Ryan Gosling”. Lo and behold! Army of Ryan’s. Guys would walk into class after this shape-shifting became miraculously, scientifically possible-
“Is that you, Fred?”
“yeah…” his weary companion would reply.
To which the first would sigh awkwardly, “Guess you went for young David Beckham too. You, me, all the sixth form lads, and the head teacher…”
People might have to copyright their faces after Naomi Campbell appeared on the news whining; “This is my face, who says I want to share?!”
Police would start pulling over drivers on residential roads and saying gruffly, “Sir, are you authorised to look like Stephen Fry? Let me see your certificate.”
Celebrities would sell their DNA blueprints when they got hard up. Rumours would spill and spread, and a girl might run into her sister’s room squealing, “Lindsay Lohan’s had another relapse! You can get a deed-of-likeness on eBay, hurry! She’s desperate for cash and nobody wants to cast her! It’s breaking news on Perez Hilton!”
The media-loving, attention-addict Katie Price might auction off parts of herself at Christmas. Slogans on T.V. will chime, “Get Katie’s hands, today! (All legal work taken care of)”.
Of course, the creative crowd will craft their own image, bloom into an original Venus, not just copy a celebrity. (Compatibility of facial features will be doodled beforehand, moodboards of noses will clutter Pinterest.) Comments will read; “I would never have thought to lay the mouth at that remarkable angle!”
A certain chap just graduating in architecture with a flair for entrepreneurship would start designing layouts and advice sheets for the unimaginative to follow. He’d make an unexpected fortune, forget architecture and would put his powers to use by constructing himself a magnificent moustache (which he’d also use as the logo for his ‘Self-Sculpturing’ Business).
Plastic surgeons and beauticians will be unemployed. The economic wobble would leave England slightly still and uncertain. Beauty schools will close. All teachers therein disposed of. Soon enough, rumours of ex-hairdressers turned strippers will sadden Tory hearts. A tax!
“Yes, regrettably, due to the rise in poverty; we shall have to charge a sensible rate of tax upon those who wish to continue altering their appearance. Oh, and for health and safety, each alteration will have to be verified, approved and archived by the ministry.” Cameron would then fold his pink hands together somberly.
Everyone worries about how easy life has become for criminals, they just won’t get verified! They won’t pay tax! Identity theft is easy… when you can shape-shift!
And of course, the teenagers will be going mad; no acne! Bigger boobs! Longer lashes!
A new underground movement will emerge and predictably take its roots in Soho. It’d be ‘pro-ugly’. Suddenly everyone wants a peek at ‘ugly’ because we’ve forgotten what it looks like… Careful city bankers in disguise creep down to the twinkles of Soho’s naughty clubs and therein find macabre monsters…
Dads will pass on the dirty secrets to their precious offspring rather in such a way; “Son, you’re becoming a man. It’s time for you to understand the other side!” Maybe this back-end of the spectrum will gain a cult following, there will be internet forums; “Hideous features you forgot existed!” Fat Noses and Fat Necks!” Feeds will holler. Freakshows will be back.
Of course everyone will spend so much time thinking about appearances that no work shall ever be done. On BBC News they’ll tell us dolefully that the British work ethic is at an all time low. “Catherine’s been really studying for her exams,” her grandparents would say at Christmas, “she’s hardly altered once in the last months.”
The poor would feel left out. Activists will campaign for the homeless to be able to change themselves from bearded and soiled, to fresh and hairless without having to fill out the paperwork. “Even the most basic human rights are denied to us,” They would weep outside Burger King in Leicester Square.
You’ll sit on a rush hour tube and six smiling, blinking, doe-eyed Kate Middleton’s will be opposite you.
Eventually we’ll be so sick of it all, we’ll want natures randomness returned.