Trendysomething in SoMo
Do I really look like Franz Ferdinand? Döppelganger does Dallas
Friendster, Snood, the animated paper clip from Microsoft Office 97 – all technological sensations that hit the tipping point at an alarming rate before they quickly bit the dust. Some of these fads are less offensive than others (who doesn’t love a daily LOLcat, or knowing all of your lady friends’ bra colors?), but some, no matter how fleeting, can find you grinding your teeth as you angrily jab your fingertips onto the computer keys as you update your Facebook status, “I am so over celebrity döppelgangers!!”
For those unacquainted, Celebrity Döppelganger Week is a Facebook trend in which, instead of using a real picture, a user uploads a photograph of a celebrity with whom they vainly perceive shared physical features but is in reality much more attractive. At the beginning of the month, a ghastly groupthink swept cyberspace as what seemed like millions of Internet users logged onto myheritage.com to upload a photo and receive the validation that yes, you do belong on the red carpet.
Despite the closing of Döppelganger Week, the photos continue to identify a slew of friends and frenemies on News Feed. No matter how admittedly tool-ish it may be to fancy oneself in the limelight, the most catastrophic fallout of the meme is that a stray glance may convince the all-too-casual Facebook stalker that one of his friends has overnight become movie-star-glam.
I’d say that this charade must stop, but I try to channel my activist energy into other causes, and I happen to have been a beneficiary of Celebrity Döppelganger Week. The other weekend, I found myself in Dallas on business. On my first night in town, I ventured out to the hippest haunt I could find – the new, rouge-colored Bar Céline, tucked away behind the trendy restaurant Parc.
Some cruel friend had told me that Dallas is a much more walkable city than Houston. This may be true during the day, and also within a very defined area. But once you cross the boundary in which all commercial establishments require valet, you know you’re in trouble. After a terrifying walk from Uptown through shady East Dallas (muggers are surprisingly receptive to the old standby retort, “But you don’t even have the password to my iPhone apps!"), I landed at Bar Céline and entered a room of young artists, artist-types, and musicians, many from around the world and in town for an epic art fair.
As I took a sip from my sage-kumquat cocktail, I heard a shriek echo across the velveteen walls.
“OMG Franz Ferdinand is here!”
A bright blonde young thing came trampling across the room with her horde of Dallasite divas. After they introduced themselves, it became apparent that I’d been mistaken for the lead singer of indie Scottish art school band, Franz Ferdinand, known for their garage-rock meets post-punk revival style, with the occasional vaguely homoerotic lyric thrown in for good measure.
This is not the first time this has happened. Any resemblance to the singer was most noticeable several years ago when the band came to Houston, and at the show, many confused concertgoers asked for me to pose in photos with them. Of course, I obliged. I’m also not going to pretend that I didn’t capitalize on the resemblance to access the backstage boy’s room.
It really only makes sense that I be mistaken for the singer. We’re both half Scotch (in terms of genealogy and blood alcohol content), and sometimes, after a streak of gray days in Houston, my complexion reaches the beautiful level of pallid ashiness that is epidemic in the British Isles. I also might indulge in the occasional mod wardrobe change, as I was that night in Dallas.
But what I think really pulled it all together was a recent ‘do from my backyard hairdresser, Evelyn. The last time I sat down on the patio chair, she whispered in my ear, “I’m going to give you the ‘Sexed-Up Possum’ style,” followed by a sharp cackle. I feared that “Sexed-Up Possum” might later translate as “Under-Sexed Steven,” but this turned out to be quite the opposite. Once Evelyn was done with me, I looked like a Quadrophenia-era skinny tie-wearing master mod — perfect for deceiving star-struck Dallasites.
And so I summoned my skills from a questionable Harwin knockoff "Rosetta Stone: Scottish Brogue" cassette tape and wooed the room with my witty British slang and tales of Glasgow. When impersonating a rocker, it's important to maintain a glazed "over it" stare so that your fans remain on pins and needles as they wait to hear your next destination. Instead, I let my newfound friends take me all over the city, bumping between club after club, skipping entrance lines, and desperately avoiding insistent requests to perform in exchange for lines of Dallas' favorite vitamin.
I obviously ended the night with obligatory free access to the "Notorious" suite at Hotel Zaza, where I brought select members of my new entourage. Hours later, I awoke in a glorious pile of groupies, with that familiar crunch of last night's champagne in my Sexed-Up Possum hair. I turned to my side to find what, only hours ago, had seemed to be an anonymous silk stocking dream boy. Yet it instantly became clear that this was a familiar face — an estranged cousin of a friend's ex from a raucous sophomore year rendezvous.
"This is going to sound crazy, Alex, but you look just like this guy I once met at a party in Houston. Steven..."
It's surprising how a charming, "Fancy that!" can get you out of the most difficult of situations. Not wanting to push my luck, I strapped on my Ben Sherman boots and headed out the door, leaving my horde to wake up wondering whether the entire night had ever even happened. And so, Celebrity Döppelganger Week came to a quick halt for me, leaving a string of lies and broken hearts in its wake.
My luck at look-a-likes might not be over yet, though: for the past two days, I've been slammed by strangers swearing that I'm the real-life Johnny Weir, U.S. Olympic skater. I just need to get my hands on one of those hot pink shoulder tassels.