I have been accused, from time to time, of being a fake. There is good reason for this. I am.
And so are you.
Let’s face it. We all do it. Every job application that you have ever submitted describes a person that any idiot can tell is not actually you. And don’t get me started about dating sites. The fact is that you and I are essentially mundane, unattractive and boring and no-one would pay us the least intention if we didn’t make some sort of effort of pretence to be otherwise. Every morning we get dressed and put on a mask. Everybody does it and the very worst offenders are the celebrities themselves.
It is, nevertheless, rather nice to be mistaken for one.
Of course, there is always a chance that you are an actual celebrity and know exactly what I am talking about. You have, in other words, already mastered the art of being mistaken for a celebrity.
Not that it matters. Be you an actual celebrity or not, the appropriate response to this pleasant human interaction is the same.
1. Say as little as possible. Any gushing response of affirmation will appear annoyingly vain and will likely expose you immediately as the odious individual that you really are. To the question, “Hey, buddy, aren’t you Harrison Ford?” a simple smile says more than a thousand words, without saying anything. Your admirer can then go back to his or her friends and accurately report, “I just asked that guy if he was Harrison Ford ….and he didn’t deny it!”
2. Accept free drinks. It is rude to do otherwise. If your new friends continue drinking with the same enthusiasm that has emerged within you (unencumbered by previous budgetary constraints) it may be possible to prolong the ruse well into the evening.
3. Requests for autographs should be complied with, and with fabricated modesty. Don’t worry about your handwriting. The more illegible the better. The process of autograph signing will likely set off a chain reaction in the establishment whereby there forms a queue of gullible admirers wanting the same treatment. And wanting to buy you more drinks. Some of them will not even know why they are doing it. These are the people that you should focus on. Paradoxically the social guilt within people for not recognising you as who you aren’t may be a more powerful tool than it’s opposite.
4. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the public to give you all the clues. They will not always supply you with the details of your temporary celebrity status. A more common occurrence than the ‘Harrison Ford’ example is something along the lines of, “Hey, haven’t I seen you on TV?” or “Aren’t you the guy from …?” Once again, a simple smile is the best response or, better still, raise your index finger to your lips and make a conspiratorial ‘shhh’ sound. The air of mystery thus created may induce a conveniently illogical bond between you and the gorgeous misguided creature standing before you.
5. If you are both (i) asked for an autograph and (ii) have no idea who you are supposed to be, do not panic. As alluded to above, most celebrities have illegible handwriting. You should be no exception. Furthermore, if the admirer who has just said, “I am a great fan, will you sign this (particularly if ‘this’ is an exposed body part) is young and attractive then it is perfectly acceptable to do so with your phone or room number. If, on the other hand she has said, “Will you please sign this, my grandmother is a great fan”, and hands you a paper napkin then you may have a problem. You may have several problems, in fact. And things are unlikely to get better.
6. No matter what, enjoy the moment. It is unlikely to keep happening. And try to remember always that it is better to be recognised as someone who you are not than not to be recognised at all.