Don’t read this if you equate birthmarks with scary leprechauns

Summer’s always a difficult time for me. I never know what’s appropriate office wear. Seattle is a gray city for months on end, allowing me to literally hide my junk in the trunk–a trunk made of layers of cotton, wool and liquid latex body paint. But I only wear cotton on Casual Friday because I have to draw the line somewhere, peeps.

my birthmark, exposed

This is my half-Tyra Banks, half-I’m-a-little-teapot akimbo pose, exposing my huge problem of not knowing what to do with my hands in photos and also: my birthmark. I’ve always hidden this patch of pigment under cardigans, shirts, or signs that say, “NO BIRTHMARK HERE!”

my birthmark

My birthmark is a large mass of color that is shaped like Greenland, only brown (Brownland!) and with a mole that marks, “YOU ARE HERE.” I’m sure when the polar ice caps melt and we’re on rogue ships hunting for dry land, some pirate is going to look at my arm and quickly become disappointed that it isn’t a map, it’s just where “the angels kissed me.” (Though, I’ve never understood that line, because what in the holy hogwarts did the angels do to me?)

I was going to put a ruler next to it for reference, but I thought that would be weird because I’m not selling it on craigslist. Or maybe I should! For sale: one 25-year-old birthmark. It’s vintage!

I remember once when I was a kid, I was in my bathing suit and examining my birthmark. I asked my mom if I could get it removed. “No. You need your birthmark,” She replied. “What if you drown? How will we identify your body?”

“I don’t know, Mom. Wouldn’t you recognize my Miss Piggy bathing suit or better yet, couldn’t you just LOOK AT MY FACE?”

I don’t even know what color to call my birthmark. It’s too light to be “brown” or “mahogany.” It’s too dark to be a “taupe” or “mocha.” Could I just go to Home Depot’s paint section and tell them I want to paint my foyer the color of my birthmark?

Another question I have is would it be appropriate to go to work wearing clothing that reveals my birthmark like this sleeveless number? I can understand covering up tattoos and piercings in an office, but what about birthmarks? Should I just make enough trips to the spray tanning booth until my body is one orange blob and my birthmark is the least awkward part of my body?

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  1. thecandyqueen says:

    If it were me, I would never even think twice about it. People don’t hide their ugly ass faces or F.U.P.A.’s (do you know what that is?) in public or the office, so why would you hide a birthmark? Especially in the summer? I have visible tattoos and even on job interviews I try to leave at least a little exposed because I don’t like anything to be a surprise. I just think “this is me.” Take it or leave it. And I’d take you, even if your whole body was tagged!

  2. I say show it off! Maybe hide it if it’s a talking boil, but birthmarks are the new black!

    I have a birthmark on my hip and when I was a kid I used to scrub it until it was raw because I thought it was dirt. It was years before I figured out what it was.

    In other new, I’m really smart.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, my first thought was, where is the punchline? I thought you were being sarastic šŸ™

    Because, really, you are adorable, and I bet that birthmark is only noticable to to you.

    I’m not totally lacking in empathy…..I bet it was hard having it when you were a kid, but truly, now it isn’t noticable.

    Go rock that cute dress whenever & whereever you feel like wearing it.

  4. flutter says:

    I see no reason to cover it up, girl you aren’t a mutant.

    You are adorable! and also? HAHAHAHHAHA @ thecandyqueen and the FUPA

  5. I did not know what FUPA meant. Now, after googling it, I am forever changed. FOREVER CHANGED.

  6. thecandyqueen says:

    yeah…Fat Upper Pussy Area! Sacramento’s full of ’em!

  7. Angella says:

    Flaunt it, baby! It’s a part of you (and you are awesome).

  8. Dude that birthmark is seriously awesome, I actually really like it. I have always really loved birthmarks though so maybe I can’t offer an objective POV? An old work buddy of Pete’s had a huge reddish birthmark on half of his face and down his neck that I absolutely loved, it was just so cool. I would flaunt it, because really whoever sees it will say to themselves “oh she has a birthmark” and move on, it’s obvious it isn’t leprosy yk?

  9. Swistle says:

    You know what would be pretty? A henna border. WORK Brownland. I think the mole is super-cool: it really does look like a You Are Here.

    Two of my kids were born with red marks at the napes of their necks and between their eyebrows. One nurse called them “angel kisses,” and I was like, “Angel HICKEYS! More like!”

    Another nurse called them “stork bites,” and that seemed more descriptive.

    • had birthmark similar to yours that disappeared sometime in my 40’s. Was the biggest embarrassment when I was a kid tho as it was on the side of my neck and looked just like a healing hickey. Boy di dId I get teased.

  10. I have freckles ALL over my face. I like them NOW…but once my brother’s friend said it looked like someone threw sh*t at my face through a screen door. (he later got a scar on his forehead from a bottle rocket…hmmm karma?) I guess I grew out of caring about it. (and even they are SO still there, I don’t even *see* them when I look in the mirror)
    Your birthmark is cool~don’t think twice about it*!*

    The conversation with your Mom about ID ing you…yeah, I peed my pants a little.

    Gotta get a pen. Note to self:
    FUPA means fat upper…

  11. annenahm says:

    The technical color term is probably ‘cafe au lait’ – I have one that color too. Although WTFIK about color classification in birthmarks? Not much.

    I say, stick two googly eyes on it and wear it to work. That’s what I did. Got a promotion out of it.

  12. First of all, you’re gorgeous and have no need to be concerned about your birth mark.

    Second, when I read “you are here” and “treasure map”, I just about lost all of my coffee through my nose. HILARIOUS!

  13. All Adither says:

    I can understand why it would be a big deal to you, but really, your birthmark just enhances your unique beauty. Don’t cover it, flaunt it!

  14. Mayberry says:

    Embrace it! Like Padma Lakshmi’s big scars, right in the same place on her arm.

  15. Butrfly Garden says:

    Sorry, I know I’m really late on this one, but I just wanted to agree with the others that you shouldn’t be worried about it showing.

    When I was in HS, I had a friend – I want to say she was Vietnamese, but I don’t remember – who had a birthmark that covered half her face. She was still gorgeous.

    On a tiny scale I know how you feel because in the area right below where your birthmark ends, I had a mole removed. Now instead of an ever-changing mole (which included sometimes not even showing up), I have a huge red chunk out of my arm. I was apprehensive about wearing t-shirts at first but nobody I work with has asked me about it (not like my family who all said, “what happened to your arm?!”).


  1. […] one or two women who could use their chests as flotation devices. But whatevs, I was the hottest birthmarked body there. At least that is what I am telling myself. In the mirror. While […]

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