Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

Possible Morning Scenario # 1

Mirror: Your butt’s looking big today.

Lady Disdain: It’s always big. It’s my butt.

Mirror: Yes, well. It’s looking particularly big today.

LD: (sighing) It’s the cut of this shirt isn’t it?

Mirror: Yes, and it’s not at all flattering.

LD: Well, I can’t change. Not again.

Mirror: You’ll have to.

LD: . . .

Mirror: It really is quite serious.

LD: Seriously big, you mean.

Mirror: Well, yes. Yes.

LD: Ok, all right. Fine.


Mirror: You know, this one isn’t that great, either.

LD: Mm, no it isn’t is it…

Mirror: In fact, it’s the opposite of great.

LD: I’m going to have to –

Mirror: Change, yes. That would be-

LD: NO. You shut up and sit there. I’m going to be late, and while a big butt is excusable, tardiness never is.


LD: *realizes belatedly that she’s been having a very animated conversation with a decidedly inanimate object*

Possible Morning Scenario #2

LD: Oh.

Mirror: Yes.

LD: I look-

Mirror: Quite charming.

LD: Yes. Yes?

Mirror: Yes. Very much so. You’ve got a very nice nose, you know.

LD: Hmm, yeah I do. How come I never realized it before?

Mirror: Well, because I’ve never told you before. Clearly.

LD: Wow, it really is rather nice. I mean, I knew it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t know it was-

Mirror: Good?

LD: Yes.

Mirror: It’s more than good. It’s charming.

LD: I don’t know about that.

Mirror: It is. It’s quite charming, especially from this angle.

LD: Oh.

Mirror: Yes, if you were to wink at, say, Idris Elba from that angle, I would guarantee that he would wink back.

LD: Oh my.

Mirror: More than wink.

LD: *realizes belatedly that she’s been having a very animated conversation with a decidedly inanimate object*

Oh my, indeed via

If I were to speak to someone in my daily circle – even to someone who isn’t a member of this exclusive group – I’m sure they’d be inclined to think that it was scenario #1 which occurs the most frequently. Barring the talking mirror, of course. If I had a talking mirror it would sound like Jeremy Irons, and possess a very discerning eye, with a subdued admiration for my style, because, while I may not have a butt small enough to fit into children’s swings I do have style. But I digress.

I’m not sure how surprised they’d be, if I were to tell them that that is not the case, that scenario #2 is actually fairly common. Perhaps they’d surpass surprise, and go straight to being a little put off by my contentment with how I look, maybe even a tad disgusted at what they might deem as my arrogance.

Just so we are clear, I don’t have daily mornings where I wake up totally satisfied with my aesthetic, without catching some flaw that needs some work. My ego has not reached that milestone just yet.

But the thing is, it isn’t all scenario 1, either. Yes, I know I have a big butt. But it is a rather nice big butt, it has cushioned a lot of falls for me. And I may not have the most impressive features, but they are somewhat cohesive, and as Mirror Jeremy Irons says, can lend some charm to the old Disdain at times.

“This monocle does absolutely nothing for your butt, Disdain.” via

But my problem is in this. Why is it that we cannot admit to these ‘sometimes’ when we look pretty darn slick, while we’re so quick to advertise the other ‘sometimes’ where we’re closer to the opposite end of the spectrum? Why does being content with how you look have to be seen as arrogance or vanity?

Recently I observed some instances where a girl kept on trying to deflect compliments at her appearance. She was told that she resembled a certain celebrity, and her reply was along the lines of “Oh, A is hot! Not that I’m saying I’m hot or anything!” Well, I say, and why not? If A is hot, and you look like A, then by that logic you, too, are hot. (Oh look, algebra did come in useful.) There was another instance where the girl (a different one this time) also did not accept the compliments made on her appearance, but deflected them by complimenting the complimenters (complimentors?) instead.

It’s not so much the deflecting that I have a problem with (though it is, a little). It’s more the sense of expectation of a deflection. You can practically smell that expectation hanging around the conversation. Both the complimenter and the complimentee know the rules of the game. They compliment you on the hair that you spent exactly twenty-five minutes fussing over in front of the mirror, and instead of graciously accepting the observation you’re expected to downplay it, pretend that no, it’s not really a big deal, all you did was try a different technique, and no, stop, it’s not that great anyway.


It is great, ok?

It is great, and you better damn well own it. Own that hairdo, and own that outfit, and own the fact that you can look good, and admit to looking good and not have to feel like a self-conflated egomaniac for it.

You know you have those days where you could charm the world, and look classy doing it. You know you do. Don’t deny it. But most of all, don’t let others persuade you into denying it.

And may I just say that you look particularly delightful reading this post?

Because you do.


2 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

  1. Thanks for the comment, I do think I look quite delightful reading your post. 😉

    But I agree, while I suppose deflection okay every now and then, sometimes we should just accept others' compliments (unless we genuinely disagree with them). Stating “why, thank you!” or something of that nature isn't too difficult… perhaps society has just ingrained certain standards within us. And there are people out there who are cocky or arrogant and accept compliments, so some may be scared of appearing like them. On the flip side of that, others could be cocky but repress it behind deflections. Such a complicated social dance you present here.

    Great post, I will think more about this and hopefully articulate my thoughts more coherently at a later date!


  2. Hehe, you're quite welcome 😉

    Oh yeah, genuine disagreement is a different thing but a lot of the time it seems to happen simply because it's expected of us. Society does place a lot of restrictions.

    That's true, too. Whenever I agree with a friend's compliment they always jokingly say how modest I am.

    I know, social games are tiring, to be honest, and you only end up getting your mind entangled in all the pretenses on top of pretenses.

    Thanks for your comment 🙂


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