So, which mirrors are telling the truth? The ones at home, or, the ones we encounter in changing rooms, gyms, hairdressers or public loos? Which is it? Because, based on recent evidence, I shouldn’t really leave the confines of my own bedroom if I want to be seen at my best.
It’s taken me a lot of years, and a lot of mirrors, to understand that the problem lies with the approach to mirrors outside the home versus the ones inside. At home we check our appearance, perhaps apply make-up, do our hair and privately make the decision, that yes, we look okay to go. We’re used to the lighting in whichever rooms we get ready in and tweak accordingly. The mirrors outside are very different!
We have no control over the lighting or the positioning and the majority of them will involve other people, movement and, something that is quite alien to our generation… publicly declaring that we are happy with what we see!
Take the hairdressers as an obvious example. Not only have you had to sit in front of a mirror catching a glimpse of what you actually look like when you speak, but you’ve possibly watched your hair be turned into nothing you asked for, get shown your head from angles you wouldn’t normally see and had to say whether you like it….in earshot of a salon load of other women!
Pass a certain age and the quest to find an independent shop, selling something that looks good on a body lager than size 0 is quite a task. I sing from my soap box about the demise of the high street, how all towns look the same and claim to love small boutique shopping, at least I do, until I try something on! Almost without exception, these shops won’t have a mirror in the cubicle they have fashioned from a curtain suspended from the ceiling. So, having disrobed and squeezed yourself into, what, on the hangar at least, looked perfect, you have to walk out into the shop to look in a mirror which at this point feels like a ten mile walk away. With no idea what you look like, you walk the said distance to glance nervously in the mirror, whilst the eager shop assistant/owner appraises your appearance, along with any other person in the building. This can go one of two ways…you hate what you see and scurry back to the comfort of the curtained cubicle or you actually like what you see and have to do that thing where you swivel from back to front standing on tip toes and agreeing with the sales person, that yes, you look amazing. Is it any wonder that on-line shopping is so popular?!
Then there’s the gym! I vividly remember my first Zumba class in an overly mirrored studio, wondering why on earth the woman in front of me kept going the wrong way and how she looked strangely similar to my mother. It must have been a good ten minutes before I realised it was me and to be honest I really didn’t need to know!
In conclusion it would seem that, unfortunately, the mirrors outside are telling the truth and the bedroom mirror has been lying to me for a very long time but I love her for it. So if you see a woman walking around with an overly large gilt edged mirror on one shoulder and a bed side lamp on the other, don’t judge me, I’m just privately trying to put my best face forward.