A week or so back, I was on the quest for jobs as usual, this time in Fortitude Valley, and I stopped for some lunch in Gloria Jeans (the way better Australian answer to Starbucks). While ordering, I noticed the cashier was staring at me a bit, almost nervously. I began to panic, running through all the things that could be wrong in my mind. Was I obviously sunburnt and didn’t realize? Was a man with a knife standing behind me? Was there a huge bug on my shirt? And yes, I thought them in that order, which shows you how mixed up my priorities are. I noticed she was about to say something and braced for the worst. “I like your sunnies!” she said sheepishly. I thanked her, wondering where that came from and was about to turn away when she continued. “Um, you’re American, right?” I nodded, still confused. “From where abouts?” I gave her my standard answer, “Philadelphia, it’s about two hours from NYC.” She looked really excited by this and I wondered why it was so interesting that I’m American and have cool sunglasses. “NYC,” she asked gingerly, “where your cousin lives?” Holy crap, how does she know I have a cousin there? Before I could ask, she looked at my shocked face and did a little dance. “I knew it! I knew it! You thought nobody would recognize you, but you look so much like him!” she squealed with glee. I had no idea what she meant, but I knew it was too good to pass up, so I played along. We had the following conversation with me completely improvising:
Me: “Really? Man, I never thought we resembled each other at all.”
Crazy girl: “Well, I mean, not exactly, since he’s a boy. But you really have the same hair and nose.”
Me: “What can I say, those are our best traits.”
Crazy girl: “I bet Ben gave you those sunnies. That was the other thing that made me realize it.”
Me: “Actually, no. I bought these myself. But Ben has a similar pair in red.”
Crazy girl: “Shopping with them must be loads of fun, eh?”
Me: “We are complete shopping whores when I go to NYC. Yup, we raid Beacons Closet, Trash & Vaudeville, you name it.”
Crazy girl: “Ooooh! Have you met Kirsten Dunst?”
Me: “Um, no.”
Crazy girl: “So Andrew and her aren’t really dating?”
Me: “Uh, I’m not at liberty to talk about Kirsten.”
Crazy girl: “Sorry! That was wrong of me to ask. I’m just such a big fan of your cousin! And Ben too, obviously. Will you be there tonight?”
And then it all clicked. She was talking about the band MGMT, who were in Brisbane that night. She thought NYC cousin+ similar hair and nose+ nice sunglasses meant I was cousins with Andrew from MGMT. If having the same schnoz and androgynous messy hair style as rock stars from my tri-state area meant we were related, then I have a way bigger and cooler family than I thought. I once met Adam Green briefly after his concert, he was incredibly high and grabbed my hair, saying, “Hey, we’re twinssss.” With crazy girl’s logic, we must have actually been separated at birth, along with several of The Strokes, Joan Jett, and way more NJ emo bands than I’d like to admit I know of.
Another thing that made this strange scenario even funnier to me was that I’ve been told I am the spitting image of other famous musicians, usually males. The only female celebrity I’ve ever been compared to was Claudette Colbert. A classmate’s mother told me that when I was in seventh grade and I had no idea who she was at the time, but now I’m flattered. My own mother, however, loved to point out I looked just like the lead singer of Fall Out Boy circa 2003. My friends even insisted I dress up as him for Halloween (not much of a stretch because I wore boyish clothes anyway) and people did double takes. He’s a lot heavier and slightly balding now, so that comparison no longer stands. Hey, it’s not so bad though. I’d rather be told I look like the girl version of an attractive guy than have someone say, “Are you Janet Reno’s daughter?” That would be rough.
Cousin? Eh, I can sort of see it...