What If We Could Choose What We Look Like

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The grass is always greener on the other side. In a world of mirrors, where we see ourselves all the time, 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 change our appearance? The answer sounds pretty obvious – the world would be floating up to its neck with sublime specimens of humanity. We would all be ‘The Beautiful People’. But we would also all be clones. I mean imagine the amount of dudes that would just say, “I’ll Look like Johnny Depp”. And then there would be this army of clones walking about. Guys would step into a classroom the day after this shape-shifting would be scientifically possible. “Is that you, Fred?” A guy would say, “yeah,” his weary companion would reply. To which the first would sigh awkwardly and say “Guess you went for the David Beckham too. You, me, all of 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 god-given beauty, who says I want to share?!” Police would start pulling over drivers on residential roads and saying gruffly, “Sir, are you authorized to be looking like Stephen Fry? Let me see your certificate.”

Then celebrities would sell their blueprints when they got hard up. Rumor would spread its tentacles, and a girl might run into her sisters room squealing, “Lindsay Lohan’s had another relapse, you can get a deed of likeness on eBay if you hurry! She needs cash and nobody wants to cast her! It’s breaking news on Perez Hilton!” The media-loving, attention-addict Katie Price may auction off parts of herself at Christmas. Slogans on TV. will chime; “Get Katie’s hands, today! (All legal work taken care of).”

Then of course, the profoundly creative population will craft their own image, be able to bloom into an original Venus, not a copy of someone already alive. (But they’ll be testing out the compatibility of features on PhotoShop-style programs first.) And people will say, “I would never have thought to lay the nose 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 mustache which he would use as the logo for his ‘Self-Sculpturing’ Business.

Plastic surgeons and all beauticians will be unemployed. The economic wobble would leave England slightly still and weary. All Beauty schools will close. All teachers therein disposed of. Soon enough, rumors of ex-hairdressers turned strippers will sadden false Tory hearts. A tax! “Yes, regrettably, due to the rise in poverty; we shall have to charge a sensible rate of tax upon these who wish to continue to alter their appearance, yes. Oh, and for safety each alteration will have to be verified, approved and archived by our ministry.” Cameron would then fold his pink hands together somberly.

It is very useful for criminals however; 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 penises! Shinier eyes! … I mean, hair…

A new underground movement will emerge and take its predictable roots in Soho. It’d be pro-ugly. Suddenly everyone wants to see ugly because we’ve all forgotten what it looks like. Careful city bankers in disguise will creep down to the colored 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 such a cult following, they’ll be an internet forum. “Hideous features you forgot existed!” The feed will holler. Some would be racially experimental, a Japanese-style Katy Perry might become very en vogue.

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. What is more – 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 Leister 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. TC mark

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