After a shocking amount of the day had passed, I realized that I hadn’t looked in the mirror. Not once. I’d brushed my teeth and rubbed moisturizer into my cheeks and gotten dressed and gone out and I hadn’t glanced up at my reflection at all.
Without looking, I felt lovely.
I was wearing a flowing shirt with a thin, elegant belt over a long, soft, thin dress. I felt fashionable and sort of bold. Outside, I walked through a group of guys, and for a second, I thought that they were thinking that I was glamorous. It didn’t matter whether or not they were thinking that. It seemed reasonable for them to.
I felt like I fit in and stood out at the same time. I felt like the right balance of things.
It wasn’t so much that I was concentrating on how I looked. I wasn’t. I was busy. But I was assuming that I looked good. The assumption lay on the floor of my mind like a fine oriental rug. It made everything more graceful. It made everything more comfortable. It made everything a little nicer.
When I got home again, I almost didn’t want to look, but I had to. The mirror was like a magnet. I opened the door, closed it behind me, took off my coat without stopping and made a beeline for the mirror.
Oh god. My hair! What was it doing? Are you even being serious with me right now, hair? What the hell IS this? Some kind of sick joke? It seemed to be trying to part in the middle, with bangs making sloppy wings in either direction. Short hair doesn’t work with a part in the middle. There’s a law. It says no.
And that wasn’t the end of it. One side was lying flat, bland and bored, the other was sticking up and out, reaching dramatically towards heaven. I ran my hands frantically through it, trying to erase the awfulness. Trying to pretend it had never happened and other people hadn’t seen me like this. My hair fought back.
And was the outfit actually a little dowdy, maybe? Could dowdy be a word that might be applied to it? Could a word that no one even uses anymore because it’s so painfully old and awkward be the word that best describes my outfit?
And my arms. Were they that chubby when I left this morning? Was it possible that they had grown? Maybe overnight, actually. They might have grown in my sleep.
I leaned towards the mirror, baffled, clawing at my hopeless, unfortunate hair.
And then I backed slowly away.
It was better before.
It was better when I didn’t look.
I was pretty and my hair was cool.
I want to go back there, to that place. With the oriental rug. That was nice. Didn’t everyone seem friendlier there?
So I’m going to make the moral of this story something other than: make sure you look in the mirror before you go out!
Instead, it’ll be: don’t bother to look when you get back.
Those guys totally thought I was glamorous. But more importantly, so did I. Which means that I am. No matter what my hair happens to be doing.
* * *
Do you ever go a day without looking in the mirror? How does it feel? EPIPHANIES, anyone? OK, that was weird.
Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a thin belt.
I’m on The Frisky, talking about why I’ve never gotten waxed, and the time I was in Brooklyn Decker -the supermodel’s- apartment.