Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Laughter, pleasure, malice, and the pursuit of adult fun

Mirror, Mirror on The Wall: OMG, WHO is that WOMAN?

Objects in the mirror are cuter than they appear.

I've reached the age where I'm scared of hotel mirrors.

I'm nervous when I see myself out of context.

Hotel mirrors give me new perspectives and that's no longer what I'm looking for; I want to see the version of myself that I know.

Lit from the side and seen from two angles simultaneously, I can no longer tell myself that a man half my age would find me attractive.

If I could just see myself straight-on with my carefully rehearsed and prepared spontaneous smile, seen in good lighting, it does seem at least possible. Not that it matters--of course not.

Still....

But seeing without familiar filters, without charmingly comfortable self-deceptive coziness of one's own self-reflective surfaces--well, all pretense simply falls away.

Home is not only where the heart is-- it's also where the good mirrors are.

The trouble is, all this knowledge gets eclipsed by the image in the mirror, the image that doesn't give me back what I hope to see.

I can eat light, or worse, eat "lite," wear good clothes and buy reasonable, non-clown cosmetics, and I can take care of myself.

But gradually, my longing to improve my looks via The Body Shop is being replaced by a longing to improve my looks via Photoshop. It's far easier and so much less messy, after all.

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When I consider what it will be like when my "lite" is spent, when I think about facing issues far graver than whether my mascara is clumping, I want to do better-not just look better. I want to have less disdain and contempt for my body-this encasement that's held up pretty well so far.

I want to remind myself that I shouldn't worry so much about how my body looks as be grateful for the fact that most of it works.

When I meet my own eyes in a reflection, I'd like to see the wisdom in them rather than the bags under them.

When I glance at my legs, I want to remember the places they've taken me rather than how they looked when I was seventeen.

And I want to remind myself that objects in the mirror are cuter than they appear.

Gina Barreca, Ph.D., is Professor of English at UConn, and author of It's Not That I'm Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World.

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