Thursday, January 04, 2007


There are two types of people. Those of us who blush, and those who don't. And I am not talking about a once yearly face flaming in response to a public spill at a restaurant, or down the subway steps.

I am talking about those of us who, like me, spend a large part of their lives with their faces aflame. My friend K coined this phenomenon "hot face" as in "I am getting hot face" or "I totally had hot face". It's when you literally feel your cheeks redden and heat up, your fingertips tingle, and the pink hue work its way down to your upper chest.

I have a big blushing problem. Mainly because it happens most often at work. My blushing kicks in when I am caught off guard, when I speak to a small group in public, when I am called out unexpectedly. This also happens when someone surprises me in my office (which often leads them to say "are you tan?" because I darken so quickly.) If it is a male colleague, I know he is getting the wrong idea.

Don't be fooled - it's not charming or endearing. I don't blush in response to a compliment or from praise. Those are cute and rare moments. It is not adorable when you are at a large conference table and asked to explain this or that relating to your work. Sweat usually accompanies, and I am not a sweaty gal usually. It's bad overall. It's a giveaway that you are uncomfortable.

I also blush when talking to authority figures. I once had minor surgery with a doctor is known for huge ego and icy bedside manner. When he came to talk to me pre surgery he remarked that I was the first girl to ever blush in his presence. Who wants to hear this while naked and wearing a gown that opens in the back??

I think that my fellow blushers were probably also shy children. There is an inherent insecurity to blushing, as if our bodies are proactively requesting forgiveness or indulgence.

An ex boyfriend was a worse blusher that I. He hated it about himself. His skin was very fair and his hair quite auburn, so you can imagine but the combination was not great. I should have guessed that our relationship would have been doomed to fail -- two pale kids trying our best to play it cool while burning up on a regular basis. It sounds like it could have been "hot", in a good way. But much like the blush, it was steamy for a moment, then uncomfortable, and finally over.


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