(Ooh, X has a deep dark secret): I can’t recognize faces…

Two things happened this morning that prompted me to post this blog:First, I watched “Fringe” last night. My hubby wondered who played the mother since she looked familiar. Like a dutiful wife, I posted a question on the Internet Movie Database, IMDB.com. I found out this morning that she was one of the stars of a TV show we had watched for years. She did not look familiar one little bit.Second, also in “Fringe”, there was a guy in the episode who was supposed to be dead. The episode was actually from last year, before the guy died. For some reason, they decided to air the episode that they did not air last year.When I posted about the lady playing the mother, I noticed the posts about Charlie being back from the dead. Charlie? Where was Charlie? I did not recognize him at all. “Fringe” is one of my favorite shows and I have watched every episode they have broadcast, but I did not recognize one of the main characters…I’ve had this all my life. When I was a kid, it took a few years to be able to tell Bob hope and Jack Benny apart. If I ever saw them side by side, it might have been easier. Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford always look alike to me, too.A couple of years ago I saw a show about a condition called “prosopagnosia”, also known as “face blindness”. I realized I have a degree of that condition. Some people can’t recognize their own family or themselves in the mirror.There is a website by a young woman who has this. One of her pages does a really good job of explaining it so that other people can understand it: Face-Blindness ( Prosopagnosia ) and stonesMy condition is not as extreme as some, but it is still frustrating:I have to tell TV and movie characters apart from their hairstyles, facial hair and clothing. If somebody changes their hair color in a TV show, and my hubby does not tell me, I think it is a new character on the show. This happened on “House”.There are a zillion ways this effects my TV and movie enjoyment:

  • Every guy in a suit and short dark hair looks alike.
  • All soldiers with a uniform and a hat look alike.
  • All women with the same hair color and same hair style look alike.

Those are if they are characters in the same show. It is even more difficult when a character on a show is on a talk show. For instance, I cannot tell Jack from Lost apart from Mike from Desperate Housewives. All slender good looking men with dark hair look alike to me.

In “Heroes”, there is now another woman character with long blonde hair. I have to figure out who she is by what she is doing and who she is with.But, there is one bright star in my world, many of them actually, who are collectively called “character actors”. Character actors, as opposed to the “stars” look like individuals. They are not groomed to look like the beauty standard of the day.This does not just happen in movies and TV. This happens in real life, too.If I meet somebody new, I do not recognize them the next time I see them. They must think I am rude and standoffish. But, if there are people I know in a room, I just won’t recognize them unless I know them very well.My most embarrassing moment regarding this is when I saw a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” the second time in two days. Before the play started the second time, I saw the bass player from my church. I told him how good the play was, and how much he would enjoy it.Guess who I was really talking to? Yep, the star of the play. He played “Joseph”. I had seen him in every scene of a two hour play the night before and did not recognize him.Not fun.XEdited to add: I’ve noticed recently that I am often better able to recognize somebody from the back of their head. I realize that I have been subconsciously registering the shape of people’s heads in a database of sorts. We watched a movie the other day. I saw the back of a guy’s head and new right off it was Ed Harris. Tricky, huh?XShare with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon, etc


Filed under Health and wellness

9 responses to “(Ooh, X has a deep dark secret): I can’t recognize faces…

  1. Greg

    Thank you for clarifying that last night\’s episode of Fringe was actually an unaired episode from last season. I couldn\’t figure out why Charlie was in it. My wife and I have watched the show religiously since the start, so I was sure I hadn\’t missed an episode.Interesting to hear about your troubles recognizing people\’s faces. I\’ve heard of that condition before. Must be difficult to keep up with Lost, considering that show\’s neverending parade of flashback/forward characters and labyrinthine storylines.

  2. X-Evolutionist

    @Greg: Ooh, you have very good taste in TV shows. It takes me a long time to get to where I can consistently recognize characters in a TV show. But, I got addicted to Lost right off. I was on message boards like IMDB.com and I would see screen caps. That helped get to know them. But, like you say, with all the flashback/forwards, it can be tricky sometimes. My hubby tries hard to be patient with me all the times I have to ask him who people are. It will be hard getting up to speed when the new season starts. There will be a learning curve. X

  3. X-Evolutionist

    UPDATE: For those interested, I edited my blog to post a link to a website that explains this condition:http://prosopagnosia.com/main/stones/index.asp

  4. Fernando

    Interesting …So, can you tell if a person is attractive or not?

  5. Dave

    It\’s easy, it\’s the bit on the opposite end to the feet 🙂

  6. Jeffrey

    So, Jesus and Darwin are in a room…. <evil grin> just playin with ya! It\’s sad – this is the last season of Lost and Fringe might get canceled (I read somewhere??? http://tv.ign.com/articles/106/1060186p1.html) . 😦 Oh, and thanks for clarifying the Charlie scene. It would have been good to delete it.

  7. X-Evolutionist

    @Fernando: I can tell what people look like while I am looking at them. But, I can\’t remember them if I see them again. People who are "good looking" all look the same to me when I see them again. I can sometimes remember distinctive faces, like the type of people who are character actors, when I see them a second time. X

  8. X-Evolutionist

    @Dave: Funny….

  9. X-Evolutionist

    @Jeffrey: I would really miss Walter. He\’s a lot of fun. I don\’t mind it being the last season of Lost because it\’s the only way they will tell us what\’s been going on. Darwin is easy to recognize because of his beard. Facial hair helps me tell men apart. If I guy shaves off his beard, or if there are three guys with the same mustache in a movie then I am lost!

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