On some level, you know that when your grandma was young she probably got drunk and had sex with three guys in the back of an El Camino in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen. Yet if you saw a photo of it, you'd never quite think of her the same way. Well, famous people manage their image way more carefully than your grandma, so it really freaks us out to see them as they actually are (I would know -- because of that book I wrote, I can't leave the house without my famous "penis spider" costume). Well, hang on to your asses, because ...
Celebrities age weird. Did you know that Samuel L. Jackson is 64 years old? Or that William Shatner is 82? You just kind of put it out of your mind -- the idea of Samuel L. Jackson lining up for Senior Citizen's Night at Golden Corral Buffet just doesn't register. Even more so when said celebrity made his living as a real-world cartoon character:
Not pictured: OOOOOHHH YEAAAHHH!
Sure, you are vaguely aware that "Macho Man" Randy Savage had been doing that bit for a long time (he won his first belt in the WWF way back in 1986), so you had to know that even though he looked exactly the same in those Slim Jim commercials, there was an aging man under those sunglasses. But then when he passed away a couple of years ago, pics started to emerge of the man without the hat, wig, and beard dye. And he looked like your uncle:
"OK, you can have one beer, but you'd better not tell your dad I let you have it."
And then you almost feel silly -- did we actually think that ridiculous costume was just what he looked like? But it's hard to picture him as anything other than Macho Man -- that was all we knew. Even if, not too many years before Macho Man was born, Randy Poffo (yes, that's his real name) was a mild-mannered baseball player who looked like this:
"OOOHHHH ... yeah?"
So let me ask you this: If you could go back in time to meet that outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds at age 19 and show him this picture ...
... and say, "This is you ... FROM THE FUTURE!" do you think he'd be surprised? Do you think you'd be surprised at a picture of yourself from 10 years from now? Because it might be just as different. For example ...
Tell us that isn't the 1960s-est goddamned photo you've ever seen (even if it was taken in 1971). It's a big family in mod clothes, piled on a convertible pink Caddie in a fashionable shopping district in Europe.
Hmmm ... who's that boy near the end?
It's the dude from That '70s Show!
Why, that would be the 15-year-old face of unspeakable evil. That photo depicts a gathering of the bin Laden family on a shopping trip to Sweden. Just eight years after that photo was taken, Osama would join Muslim guerrillas in fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan. About 10 years after that, he would form al-Qaida; about 12 years after that, at age 44, the 9/11 attacks would occur.
This is my point -- you teenagers and 20-somethings out there, that is how little you will recognize yourself by the time you hit your 40s. From rich, teenage high school soccer fan on a shopping trip in Europe to murderous crazy person chuckling on video at the thought of 3,000 people burning to death, doomed to be hunted like a dog by the most powerful military on earth.
All of you will become terrorists, is what I'm saying.
And while we're doing the "Who could have guessed where they'd end up?" thing ...
There's nothing wrong with that girl up there. She's probably a 6 or a 7 -- you likely work or go to school with girls prettier than her (hell, some of you are dating girls hotter than her right now). She's just a very plain brown-haired girl like you'd expect to see turning a wrench on an airplane motor. If you were asked to imagine her in 10 years, what would you see? Probably got a couple of kids, maybe put on some weight, maybe she's cut her hair short so it's easier to take care of ...
That, or she's the most famous sex symbol in the history of the human species:
"No, we'll have to take another one. You keep stepping on that fan, and we can see up your skirt."
Yep, you have to wonder if anyone who worked alongside 19-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty at the Radio Plane Munitions Factory in 1945 recognized her a few years later when she was suddenly on every magazine cover (including Playboy), starring in movies, and getting plastered across tabloid headlines as "Marilyn Monroe."
All it took was a photographer from Yank magazine showing up at that factory (that's the U.S. Army's weekly newsletter -- what did you think it was?) to grab some propaganda photos of the girls hard at work. The photos didn't even get published, but the photographer told young Norma Jeane that she should look into modeling. She figured, why not -- her husband was off at war, and it was better than spraying airplane parts with fire-proofing gunk. The modeling agency told her sure, they could get her some work. But that she might want to dye her hair.
She then auditioned for a film role, where an executive at 20th Century Fox pulled the name "Marilyn Monroe" out of his ass, because it sounded sexy. She divorced her husband, married one of the most famous baseball players of all time, and porked the president of the United States on the down-low. And it happened so fast that when she was in bed with JFK right in the goddamned White House, some of her former co-workers were probably still working the same machines on that same assembly line.
There's a fantastic chance you've never thought about Hillary Clinton's boobs one way or the other, ever in your life, but you're thinking about them now. And we know at least one guy who was thinking about them in 1975:
Image taken on the building-sized Apple 1 Enormous Camera Phone.
That would be the future presidential couple taking a break from a volleyball game in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when Hillary was 28 and Bill was 29, an age at which he was not above using a volleyball to hide his erection.
She seems to be looking around, almost as if to see if anyone is watching. Like maybe they're going to start doin' it right there in the field. Have you ever thought about Bill and Hillary Clinton doin' it? Well, you are now.
Ha! Look at that dork! You can bet he got his head crammed into a middle school toilet or two!
Or, not. That would be Bruce "baddest badass of all time" Lee, not just dancing the cha-cha, but winning the Hong Kong Cha-Cha Championship in 1958, at the age of 18. Now, after reading the last couple of entries, you probably think we're going to tell you some tale of transformation, how he went from dorky dance champion to martial arts punching machine. Maybe he was bullied because of his dorky glasses and skinny frame, so he took up karate instead of dancing?
Nope! These were two loves of the same man -- he had been studying martial arts since age 13, the same years he studied (and mastered) dance. See, guys, he felt secure enough in his manhood to dance the cha-cha specifically because he knew he could also do this:
And that's how five of his dance partners tragically met their end.
Although if you're a fan of "nerd to badass" transformations, I guess I owe you one ...
That would be actor Matthew Lewis, who 12 years ago was the chubby, buck-toothed kid who was deemed perfect for the role of the dorky Neville Longbottom in the film adaptations of the Harry Potter series:
You take one look at that face and you know everything you need to know about the character -- he was the bullied, bumbling doofus whose constant humiliation was played for comic relief.
Actions are usually followed by a wacky "boing" sound.
And now, ironically, he has gained the real-world magic power of making panties fly off just by walking past them.
All of the men to the right are currently pantiless.
I bring this up because this is something you teenage boys out there don't know about getting older: Many of the hot girls you're drooling over now will be unrecognizable in 10 years. Conversely, the girls you'll be ogling at your 15th class reunion will be the ones you remembered as awkward and pimply. Here's what Charlize Theron looked like in high school:
Standing at a bone-crushing 6 feet 11 inches tall.
So take heart; some of you nerds will figure out how to be cool over the next couple of decades, while some of the coolest members of the football team will get fat and commit suicide in a trailer park.
That photo of a barely awake Katy Perry was tweeted by then-boyfriend Russell Brand, who immediately deleted it. For comparison, here is how Katy Perry presents herself to the world, and in millions of sex fantasies:
Now, she looks fine in that Twitter photo. For a woman just waking up (as she appears to be), she has nothing to be ashamed of -- that's about as good as women look in the morning, which is 10 times better than any man.
But it's shocking precisely because it makes you realize that this is the true deception of TV and movie makeup: It's all about raising the floor, not the ceiling. In other words, when you're supposedly seeing a girl at her worst on television -- say, Zooey Deschanel stumbling out of bed, or Jennifer Aniston on the sofa in sweats looking "ugly" -- she is in reality still wearing hours of makeup, hair, and wardrobe. Her "ugly" day is carefully calculated to look better than any of us did on prom night.
The reality is that these impossibly gorgeous women, if scrubbed of perfect makeup, lighting, and Photoshop, look like somebody you could stand in line next to at the grocery store and never give a second glance. Here's another one of Perry, sans makeup:
Her "everyone's older sister" look.
For an even more extreme example ...