American Beauty is a series written by an American beauty writer temporarily marooned in Japan who is feeling a little down lately, OK?, but it’s going to be fine.

I want to take a moment to thank everybody and anybody who has read this column. The truth is that living abroad can get lonely, and it helps to think of both of you taking time out of your gorgeous lives to read my little musings.

There are apparently over 8 million Americans living happily elsewhere all over the world, and I am barely one of them. Before embarking on this journey, my contracting job treated me to a mental health seminar that was more of an 8-minute long YouTube video describing the emotional toll of suddenly entering a new cultural climate. The speaker gave a helpful visual framework: Instead of experiencing ups and downs, like a sine graph, adjustment occurs in the shape of a slinky moving gradually upwards. Highs and lows are relative. They are still acutely felt, but adjustment occurs imperceptibly over time. The highs get higher, and the lows get less low. I am still doing my best.

This week was a stressful one, Lightheads. I embarrassed myself maybe 40 times. You know that cartoon thing where somebody is trying to say something kind in another language and actually says something insane and alienating? It happens to people with the kindest of intentions. On top of all that, I am tired and my skin is dry. And after a long day of teaching my third graders that the straps hanging off my pants are not for playtime and yanking on, are in fact decorative and vestigial from a time when they might tie to a parachute and be worn to jump out of a plane, are NOT toys stop PULLING on them you little imps, I like to curl up in the silence of my one-room apartment with my favorite American pastime. Don’t ask me what it is because I’ll tell you unprompted: It’s TMZ’s Celebrity Scramble.

In addition to breaking celebrity news, the scientists over at TMZ leverage their paparazzi photo surplus for a variety of fun games. It involves a famous person and 15 seconds of Photoshop labor. If you are exhausted and sad, it is an unbelievably good time. Who’s this guy?

OK, that one is pretty easy. (It’s the Dune boy.) A good Scramble emphasizes a celebrity’s random characteristics while obscuring more recognizable ones, but the great Scrambles are simply the stuff of nightmares. Can you guess who this famous face is?

Ahhh! Now that’s a delicious scramble. I had no idea it was her!

Here’s another easy one. Do you know this country female?

Of course, you do. I wanted to give you a break before doing another scary one.

Eeek! You can click here for the answer.

OK. Soon I gotta jump into sleep’s downy embrace and the terrors of unbidden dreams, where Halsey and I work at the same circus, and she tortures me with a whip of flames. Before we go, I’ll give you one of my favorite Scramble regulars. The next two images depict the same woman. A clue: Her Body isn’t visible, and her face barely is. Who is she???

Another hint that feels like it lends itself to a funny clue, but I am a little tired: Blurred Lines!

Yaaas, queen! It’s Emily Ratajkowski.

[Editor's note: The main artwork is Rihanna, I think?]

Photos via TMZ Celebrity Scramble.


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Grasping at the edges of his hairline, a writer discovers the perfect haircut.
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How a writer stationed in Japan passes his time
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