the sticky seed of Image



I got some new eyeglasses. I can’t really see that well through them, but more importantly,  I can’t decide whether they make me look really smart or really stupid. The line between the two shouldn’t be that fine– but I honestly can’t tell.

Glasses are important in real estate. Image. Spreading the seed of image, one inch-square headshot at a time. The more inch-square headshots you place, the more successful you are. It’s a numbers game!

Realtors smear headshot seeds in magazines and newspapers, on for sale signs and paper flyers, on business cards and ballpoint pens and refrigerator magnets and moving vans. Even on the internet now– Realtors are putting their inch-square headshots. Zillions and zillions of them.

Lots of Realtors wear glasses, but some don’t. Some of them have brown hair, but there are blonds and redheads too. Lots of bald Realtors, actually. Some of them wear neckties or stand in front of their boats, or pose with animals. Lots of Realtors keep animals, but not all of them.

Some Realtors look really smart in their headshots, others not as smart. Some of them look plain frightened or deranged or constipated. Some Realtors look so constipated that you wonder why they even put their headshot on the internet in the first place, even if it’s only an inch square. Being a Realtor, I know for a fact that there’s no rule that says you have to put your headshot on the internet or in the paper.

I guess people just like to see what the person looks like that they’ll be asking questions of about a real estate house. As if it has anything to do with the house.

“How about this one, honey? A 3-bedroom rambler on a corner lot. Maybe we should call on this one– the Realtor doesn’t look like she just smelled a fart.”

Realtors aren’t the only professionals who spray headshots around all the time, however. The insurance guys love headshots. Appliance repair guys use headshots more than plumbers and way more than electricians. Locksmiths, sure. Strangely enough the car salesmen don’t use them at all, but you know who really humps the headshot thing is the bailbondsmen.

“Whatdya think of this one, honey? The bailbondsman must have been a real looker forty years ago.”

The bailbondswomen are the best at sexing up later in life in their headshots, kind of an unsettling combination of Fredrick’s of Hollywood and the AARP newsletter. Plus they’re in the business of springing fuckers out of jail, so there’s that whole element too.

But it definitely is the Realtors who are most-notorious for letting their headshots expire. Some of them haven’t had a new photo taken since Reagan’s first term, and they show up in-person and you don’t even know it’s them. Others will update their photo every couple of years, maybe when they no longer wear the mustache, or when they get a new Manx. Maybe they don’t have the boat anymore, so they get a pose just standing on the dock without the boat.

But how fresh is fresh enough? I once had the sherrif called on me because the fool sellers of this house in Glenhaven didn’t believe the headshot on my business card was me. They thought I was impersonating a Realtor. My electronic MLS key worked in their lockbox, and they let me & my buyers in the house, but they stood in front of the fireplace the whole time we were there, passing my card back and forth and looking weird. I was all the way back in town, traveling west on Lakeway when my cellphone rang. It was a Whatcom County Sherrif’s deputy asking if I was Jeff Braimes, saying that the homeowners had called and given him my card. I explained to the deputy that my hair had grown out a bit, and that I’d lost my eyeglasses at the Sadies show at the Wild Buffalo. And that I wasn’t wearing that same purple shirt I was in my inch-square headshot. He bought it!

So now I don’t know whether to get a new headshot or not. If I do, I’ll wear black, because that’s less remarkable than purple. I could wear the eyeglasses in the photo and then just not wear them to the Sadies show, just to be safe. I’d shave.

I just don’t know if they make me look too stupid.


Eyeglasses courtesy of Bellingham Vision Clinic, Dr. Mike Hovander presiding 

3 thoughts on “the sticky seed of Image

  1. I LOVE this! My daughter and I pass the time on long ferry rides mocking Realtor headshots in the various Realtor mags.
    You know, there’s the “Look at me talkin’ on my phone” shot…”Hat guy”, “Glamour-shots fuzzy, angora sweater woman”, “crossed arms full body shot” (the ultimate WORST body language for someone who’s aim – by putting the photo in the the ad in the first place – should be making themselves warm and friendly to the strangers who may need to approach them.) My all-time favorites are “Man in suit laying down sideways on the white studio floor with head propped” – Like a strange oversized man-toddler in a suit…so cute!! (That one actually just creeped us out!) And the very best of ALL TIME….wait for it….

    The self proclaimed “House Whisperer” – who, in his snazzy chapeau (yep, he is also a “Hat guy”) is leaning next to a home’s front door with his ear cupped, as if he can “Hear” if this house will work for his clients.

    Oh, Realtors! Stop being so weird! It’s just plain embarrassing!

    1. cellphone conversation guy rules, I forgot about him. One in every market. But the house whisperer, now THERE’S an angle! I hope you’ve saved a magazine ad of him for your file. This I simply MUST see…
      Thanks for listening as usual, Mimi

  2. Jeff Braimes and stupid in the same sentence is an oxymoron. And I would never let anyone leave our clinic looking stupid, much less you as a friend, unless that was their expressed intent. Very well written by the way

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