Do you Have a "Good Mirror?"

I choose to believe the good mirrors and reject the bad, even though I’m sure the truth about my appearance lies somewhere in the middle.
Publish date:
May 29, 2012
body image, beauty, vanity, mirrors

See? I look pretty hot in my bathroom mirror.

Vanity, thy name is Somer. Seriously, I am pretty gorram vain. When the ex and I split up, he got to keep our shared digital camera, and a year later he discovered like 200 self-portraits of me on there. Busted!

Now that I have a phone with the miraculous front-facing camera technology, I have about twice that amount of embarrassing self-portraiture. And here’s another thing front-facing cameras are good for: checking your makeup, or dislodging a piece of broccoli from your teeth. My smart phone is the most expensive mirror I’ve ever purchased.

And speaking of mirrors and vanity, I cannot walk past any reflective surface without looking at myself. Mirrors, windows, the glass doors at the this a problem? I can’t help it; I must see what I look like.

What all this vanity has taught me is that some mirrors are accurate and make this dress look amazing on me (it does, right?), and all other mirrors are just LYING LIARS THAT TELL LIES. There are good mirrors and bad mirrors, and don’t you let anyone convince you otherwise.

Examples of bad mirrors:

1. The cheap full-length mirror I bought from Target for $20 that turned out to be a little, uh, bendy (funhouse mirror!) and makes me look about 20% wider than I actually am.

2. The mirror in my boyfriend’s car, which makes my skin appear to be riddled with the acne scars of my youth.

3. The mirror in the Macy’s dressing room where I tried on bras yesterday (those stretch marks are not so pronounced in real life; this I know).

Examples of good mirrors:

1. My bathroom mirror, in which my makeup always looks flawless (it does, really).

2. The mirror at my mom’s house in Iowa that shaves 10 pounds off of my figure and somehow makes me appear to have an actual waistline.

3. The tinted, windowed exterior of my old office building that makes me look like a mysteriously cool woman of mysterious mystery (but only if I’m wearing my sunglasses).

My vanity should not be tied to my weight or size, and it’s not, exactly. But while I may not be able to control the fact that I slowly developed cankles between the ages of 30 and 35 (the sneaky bastards!), I would at least like to continue to believe that they are the delicate kind of cankles that look hot in a pair of wedge sandals. I don’t need a bad mirror telling me otherwise.

And that’s the thing: I choose to believe the good mirrors and reject the bad, even though I’m sure the truth about my appearance lies somewhere in the middle. My logic goes something like this: if I feel good about the way I look when I check myself out in a reflective surface, it boosts my confidence, which in turn probably makes me look about 50 percent better for real. Lookit you, hot stuff!

Really though, all I need a mirror for these days is making sure that my skirt is not tucked into my tights, or that something isn’t bulging where it should not be, or that I draw my eyebrows on straight (Note: I'd like to go back and punch my younger self for all that overzealous waxing/plucking). I studiously avoid the $20 funhouse mirror nonetheless, because it’s such a downer.

Sometimes I just ask my son to tell me if something doesn’t look right. He’s honest, but in a kind, gentle way (“Mommy, I really hate to tell you this, but...”) Maybe I can turn his talent for gentle criticism into a lucrative money-making business wherein I sit back and count the money (reclined, with my wedge-sandaled cankles resting on the backs of puppies or something) while my seven-year-old works to support my cable TV habit. A girl can dream, non?

Do you agree with the good mirror/bad mirror theory? Are you vain like me? And more importantly, do I have any broccoli in my teeth?