Too much like family

She’s hot, but … ick!

is a Sacramento writer and author of the upcoming book, Kite Flying at Night. Reach him via

Van Morrison’s annual Christmas concerts in San Francisco are often the highlight of the holiday season for me.

I have been going to see Van and his crack bands at the Masonic Auditorium—the acoustics are so good, even the flush of a urinal sounds great, and yes, I once flushed them for the fun of it to show a friend how great the acoustics are—since 1992.

Many of these fantabulous shows have featured cameos between Van and his songstress daughter, Shana Morrison. This year, Shana was the opening act. Whee!

I have seen Shana up close at The Palms when it was in a Davis barn and when you could settle your feet on the cozy stage. Shana is hot. Beautiful, gracious, shapely, interacts with the audience, unlike her prickly old man. Not quite the singer Van is (who is?), but a great entertainer in her own right who knows how to work an audience.

There is only one problem with Shana.

She looks too much like dad. She has what my friend Keith and I call “brother face.”

“Brother face” is what happens when you are denied true attraction and fantasy over an otherwise fetching person because he or she looks too much like a sibling whom you’ve known longer.

In Shana Morrison’s case, any fantasy goes out the window, because the face reminds me too much of the grumpy old man who happens to have been my favorite singer long before I knew there was a Shana, even though Shana rebounds a bit by having a cute, hippie mom named—get ready—Janet Planet.

I am not the only one afflicted by this difficulty. “I once went on a date with a sister of a good friend,” my friend Keith explained, as we tried to solve the world’s problems over darts and tequila in his garage.

“But I just could not get physical with her because she looked too much like my friend.”

That, dear reader, is a prime example of “brother face.”

“Bro’ face” is an, um, kissing cousin of what I call “Jodie Foster face.”

Jodie Foster is a very attractive woman and a helluva an actress. One of my friends raves about her. But I cannot go there, because I remember Jodie Foster as a tomboy on myriad programs as a kid—The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and all that. She kind of looked like River Phoenix.

Drew Barrymore? Hot now, I suppose, if you are into tattoos and rehab types. But … have you seen E.T.?

Same problem. Never mind the charitable work of late and the admitted bisexuality that scores bonus points with the trite girl-on-girl fantasy. Drew Barrymore has posed for things nekkid as an adult, but I could not look. (Well, not for long.) It just felt wrong—because of the nice, innocent 6-year-old in E.T.

Not long ago, I was at a UC Davis football game. The woman in front of me turned out to be someone I had known since fifth grade.

“She is pretty hot,” my companion remarked.

“I guess,” I replied. “But I knew her when she was 11 and was more boy than girl. I saw the braces and pigtails.”

Then, there is the ultimate in “brother face-ology”: “Mother-in-law face.”

They say you should take a long look at your potential mother-in-law, because that is what your wife is going to look like. Fortunately for me, Lora, who left this world way too early some 12 years ago, was a lovely, kind compassionate woman who gave me my own “Brown Eyed Girl.”

So, no problems there.

Now, about “father face” …