After almost three years of living in my current house, I’ve finally managed to put up something close to a full length mirror in my bedroom.
Until now, I’ve had to check that my shoes match my top in one of my kids’ rooms, which has offered some practical difficulties (especially when they’re fast asleep and I’m having one of my late-night wardrobe-sorting sessions).
So the bequeathing of an old mirror –only slightly afflicted by black spots –was very handy.But I couldn’t have anticipated how disconcerting it would be to catch a glimpse of your reflection when you don’t expect it.
The mirror’s only been there a few days, so every time I enter the bedroom I think there’s some dowdy, old woman walking towards me from the other side of the bed.
Wait! She’s wearing my clothes…and she should really see to her hair…
It’s on a door, so the angle changes daily.
Normally I front up to the mirror from a carefully chosen viewpoint with mylooking-in-the-mirror expression. (You know we all have one.)
Now, I’m surprising myself from weird and disturbing angles, catching side and rear images I can’t unsee.It’s really messing with my self-perception. I think I preferred not knowing the truth.
The funny thing is, this is how other people see me all the time –from the side, with unflattering expressions, talking, walking, hunched over my desk. That’s the real me.
It made me think about tweens and teens with their phones, sending each other 50 Snapchats of the tops of their heads and their most hilarious facial contortions.
They are without doubt more familiar with their own appearance –from every angle –than any generation in history.
They might only post the most meticulously curated images onto Insta, but they scrutinised themselves repeatedly to get the best one.
While I routinely deride the vanity shown by some of them, perhaps I’ve overlooked the benefit of all this (literal) self-reflection: at least they won’t get blindsided by a side view.