True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘mirrors’


She marched toward me determinedly and forcefully, scowling as she approached. One look at her warring demeanor signaled danger. News headlines of random attacks around the world entered my mind as I warily watched her approach. She advanced and came closer, glaring into the mirror. She dared it to reflect an image of a young model posing in magazines. She didn’t want to see the image she saw of herself in the dress as it maneuvered its way around her bumpy, untoned body.

Then I realized that his woman was no terrorist; she was a frustrated soul trying to look her best, and her reality was not helping her cause.

The indifferent mirror patiently awaited the next image seeker. A timid woman approached, squeamishly raising her eyes to see the transformation she hoped for. She approached the mirror as Dorothy approached the Wizard of Oz, full of hope that the image would be a flattering one. As she pleadingly reviewed the results, the mirror reflected the cruel truth. With a breath of disappointment she turned back to her dressing room to try on the next dress.

 Did each woman in that shop looking at her own image wish she could hit “Delete?”

An optimistic shopper arrived next. As she approached the mirror and smiled at her image she was confident and knew who she was. The woman was not particularly attractive, but had poise and a quiet, elegant appearance. She glanced at herself from the front view, then each side and back views as she appraised the outfit and how it looked. One (out of seventeen customers) people in the shop was happy! Others were sure that the mirror lied or had a secret alternate agenda.

“Does this come in extra large?” came a voice from the dressing room across the hall.

“Can I order this skirt about two inches longer?“ came another.

“I want the same style with more room in the hips.”

Such anticipation. So much hope. The unending search to find something flattering to wear. Something that will fool reality into believing that time has not taken its toll, aging doesn’t create changes in muscle tone, and people don’t shrink.

As for me, I was successful. I found a shawl in a neutral color, a soft fabric and without any size or shape restrictions.


“Thank you, Anthony, you did a fabulous job today;  even the back looks good. I don’t know how you got rid of those annoying cowlicks back there.”

Do you know the way cowlicks form that little circle in the middle of your head, where gray roots make their first unwelcome appearance? A dead give-away to anyone who colors their hair.

But no worries about that today. I looked good, I felt good, and I was ready for tonight’s holiday party. It was a beautiful day, with temperatures reaching the upper 50’s. So warm for December, it makes this holiday feel more like Easter than Christmas. What I feel now is a cross between holiday happiness and spring fever!

I look forward to seeing people from other departments tonight, people I don’t normally run into on a daily basis. It will be fun to catch up with coworkers’ news and wish everyone a wonderful Year of the Snake. That’s what the Chinese Calendar calls 2013. Do they actually greet friends with, “Happy Year of the Snake?” Maybe someone tonight will know.

Onward. I jump home to dress for the party, put on that special dress, the new high heels, grab the handbag, remember the house keys this time, and leave for the big evening.

I’m humming a tune from “West Side Story,” called “I Feel Pretty,” when I happen past a corner shop displaying lovely jewelry in the window. I stop for a moment to get a better look a when something terrible happens: I get a look at myself as well. “Where is that attractive woman I saw back at the hairdresser’s? Why don’t I look the way I did before?”

What I see now is a tired looking “woman of a certain age” appearing to be scowly and hunched.  images-6

And where did those circles under my eyes come from? The heels I’m wearing cause me to lean forward instead of stand straight, and the large mirror reflects an image of a shorter person than I see in my bathroom mirror.

So now I feel short, stout, wrinkly and scowly.

Happy holidays and Bah Humbug to all!

This essay was written in response to “Life in the Boomer Lane’s “Guerilla Aging: Navigating the Third Half of Life.”

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