Mirror, mirror on the wall am I the fairest one of all?
The idea is, according to a report on the radio the other day, that if we don’t look in a mirror we gain in confidence. It is called mirror fasting and you won’t be surprised to learn that it is a growing fashion in the United States, whence most bonkerisations of modern culture seem to emanate.
Those who practise it, avoiding even wing mirrors and mobile phones, say they feel liberated. This is not the same as feeling like one of the witches in Macbeth – for that’s how I feel when parted too long from my mirror.
There is nothing more natural than looking at oneself and, I confess, I find myself fascinating.
We have all, surely, walked down the high street and checked ourselves out in shop windows. We have cocked our head sideways and given ourselves a cheeky, appreciative glance, even raising a suggestive eyebrow as if to say: “Hello, you sexy thing.”
Occasionally, someone inside the shop might wink back in which case it’s best to move quickly on or pretend you’ve got something in your eye.
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There can be too many mirrors. It was, I think, at the fun fair on Clacton Pier c1970 that I got trapped in the mirror maze, panicked and had to be rescued by the man from the kiosk. Too many Lynnes.
In changing cubicles in stores, you sometimes get an array of mirrors and can be treated to an elusive glimpse of your profile and even an unwelcome and uncompromising look at your own backside.
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The last time I entered such a hall of mirrors, I thought there was someone else in the booth with me; someone with a massive bum. It turned out to be mine – another reason not to encourage us to watch stuff in 3D. You don’t want something like that coming at you in the cinema.
I had bent down to try on a pair of slacks (apparently they’re called jeggings now) and this great pale rear rose like a huge, pale autumn sun over Lowestoft, partly eclipsed by big black knickers.
As for my body seen in profile... well, to be honest, it’s less profile, more free-form. If I haul in my rib cage (somewhere under my bust), thrust out my chest (somewhere over my ribs, mostly) and make myself taller by standing very straight, there is some mitigation but not enough to dignify either left or right profile with the description “my best side”.
I have a least worst side.
My bottom, meanwhile, seems to have jumped its moorings. Tensing my buttocks does not help. It just makes it impossible to walk upstairs with appearing to have wet myself.
Today’s business movers and shakers are fond of extolling the idea of their 360� vision. Me, I like to see myself two-dimensionally, full frontal. But I do like to see me.
The very idea of forgoing the comfort of a mirror is too terrifying to contemplate.
Ah, you might say but if you’re young and beautiful, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? I’m glad you asked (I’m not young, by the way... and I’ll thank you not to complete the sentence). Here are some of the things that could go wrong.
? After an evening out at a restaurant you have chef’s choice of vegetables stuck between your teeth.
? You sneeze and the tissue fails to catch quite everything that comes out of your nose.
? Your lipstick ‘bleeds’ into the creases round your lips with the result your mouth looks like a map of the M25 with its feeder roads.
? The big black hair on your chin grows unchecked.
? You miss the piercing in your ear and stab yourself in the lobe with an earring, causing a minor injury.
? Your eyebrows grow bushy and you get mistaken for the late Soviet president Brezhnev... or his wife.
? You spill something down your shirt and attend important business meetings with an unsightly stain on your front.
? You get invited to play a witch in Macbeth.
? As a consequence of all or some of the above, your appearance frightens children and dogs.
Yes, we may be overly concerned with the way we look but bear in mind that while we don’t have to look at ourselves, other people do.
I’m no Rosalind Russell... not a complete Jack Russell either but the mirror and I have a symbiotic relationship. It tells me the truth but every day I still try to convince it to lie.
Mirror fasting is definitely not for me.
For all its imperfections (Don’t list them, Lynne, we can’t do a supplement. Ed) my face and body are old friends. I like to see them from time to time. Maybe I’ll reflect on it.