Friday, April 27, 2012

The Mirror Has Three Faces

Conversation with my 12-year-old daughter the other night:

Her:  "Mom, if I look in the mirror and I think what I see is pretty, is that what other people see too?"
Me (beaming):  "Absolutely.  You are lovely inside and out and other people can see that." 
Her: "So, if I look in the mirror and what I see is ugly, is that what other people see too?"

Oh snap! This kid is good ....

I quickly flipped on the internal panic button and backtracked as fast as I could:

Me:  "Not at all.  When you think you look pretty, it's a reflection of how you feel on the inside.  Outwardly, you are always beautiful, but if you feel bad about yourself, you are going to project those feelings onto your mirror image."

Whew!  Close call.  I may not be so lucky next time ...

That stupid mirror.  There's a reason why it's portrayed as evil in Snow White, and why breaking one gives you seven years' bad luck.  Luckily, I've basically come to terms with the mirror in the bathroom and the one I see in other people's eyes. But it's the "you've got gunk in your eye" mirror that I wish was fully functioning.

As a sufferer of chronic allergies, I often worry about what's going on with my face when I'm in public.  This usually results in me doing the nose-picking dance.  The dance begins when you're in a conversation and the other person casually scratches their nose.  Instantly, you read this as the International Bat-In-The-Cave sign, and you then casually wipe your nose as well.  However, if it was NOT the IBITC, then the other person thinks they've just gotten the signal, and you end up doing a back and forth nasal ballet until finally one of you excuses yourself and runs to the nearest bathroom.

Then there's the moment when you get in the car after lunch with the girls, and smile in the rearview mirror to discover that there are black things in between your teeth.  The range of emotions you experience starts with alarm, then a review of the conversation to remember how much you smiled to see if they really saw anything, and then anger that those bitches didn't tell you that there was crap in your teeth.  But then you see them the next day and they accidentally spit on you while they're talking, and everyone pretends it didn't happen, and you decide you are even.

Or there's the time when you are sitting with the CEO of a client's company, enjoying lunch, when he leans over with the "there's a little bit of something right there" and points to the side of your face.  You thank him and wipe it away (hopefully), and he tells you it's all better, but it turns out later that it was some dry skin that stayed put and he lied because he realized it wasn't a piece of napkin after all.

That's the stuff that keeps us humble and slightly paranoid in most social situations.  That's the mirror I need someone to invent.  Because the IBITC really hasn't caught on here in the South, and we aren't going to stop eating fudge brownies because of the social damage it could cause.  Nothing is worth giving up chocolate.

Until next time, keep crowin' and carry an extra Kleenex!


  1. You should know that I will always give you the IBITC sign, bc I am a REAL friend! Do you remember the time my temporary crown FELL OUT during a business luncheon and I almost swallowed it? What's the international sign for "Your tooth fell out and you look like a hillbilly"?

  2. Brilliant answer to your daughter. And oh, the nasal ballet! Just caught in one recently and could barely focus on what we were talking about. Loving this blog, Alison.