The voice of baby boomers, the silenced majority. Rants and reflections on lifestyle, fashion, current events, books and more . . .


Mirror mirror on the wall . . . what the hell happened to us all?

My friend Margaret had already purchased the 10X magnifying mirror—before I could warn her about the consequences. As we progress along the aging continuum (how’s that for euphemizing ‘getting old’?) we often need help chasing down those errant eyebrow or chin hairs. Over time, we move from 5X to 7X and we’re now at the 10X stage which can be truly traumatizing when we go exploring.

If you want to restart your sluggish heart or enact your own version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, then checking out your face in a magnifying mirror is guaranteed to get all your bells ringing. The reason our eyesight gets weak as we age is an earned kindness. We were never intended to see the resulting wrinkles, pitting and pigmentation we’ve acquired over the years. When we look in the (regular) mirror we hazily see pretty much the same face that stared back at us in our twenties, and that one was rather pretty. Why spoil the illusion by getting a magnifying mirror? In fact, they’re so distorting it’s impossible to cram your whole face into one full-size shot to apply makeup and we are forced to view our imperfections pixel by pixel. Downright horrifying.

Those pores and fine lines I keep working so assiduously on trying to wrangle with expensive lotions and creams appear like moon craters. Stray chin hairs look like birch trees in a field of dried grass. Tiny wrinkles become trenches. And, I’ve discovered, it’s not just men who get unsightly nose hairs. It’s best not to be confronted with the harshness of all that reality. I was much happier and prettier before burdening myself with a magnifying mirror. Facing the truth in the mirror can be very demoralizing.

Makeup mirrors should come with a warning label. At the very least, they should have a decal affixed, like on the side mirrors of cars: “Image may appear scarier than it really is.” It’s too late for me and my friend Margaret but I’m warning you. If you’re contemplating buying a 10X magnifying mirror—DON’T. Just slap on the spackle, paint those eyebrows somewhere in the middle of your forehead, add a slash of blusher and put on a great, big smile. It’ll remove years. Face it; you’re the best you’ll ever be; you’re still able to admire yourself so be thankful and celebrate it.

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Mirror mirror on the wall. . .

Love means just doing what your wife wants without all the drama.

Love means just doing what your wife wants without all the drama.

The purchase started out as a cost-saving measure. Our bathroom is not particularly well-lit and when I gently suggested to my honey that we install a series of modern puck lights in the ceiling to even out shadows and provide better overall lighting for makeup application (a time-consuming and onerous task at my age), his response was predictably male. He immediately detailed the tiresome list of potential problems that could arise. We’d have to completely tear up the ceiling and lord knows what horrors that would uncover. We’d have to hire an electrician and everybody knows how horrendously expensive they are, not to mention the actual cost of the light fixtures, switch and wiring. Let’s not even get into the mess it’ll create. And maybe we’ll even need a permit and have to include the work on our deed of property. You get the picture. Within thirty seconds of opening the discussion, I knew that new puck lights were not in my future.

Holy crap! What have I done?

Holy crap! What have I done?

So, at less cost and theoretically involving an easier installation process, I landed on the idea of buying one of those wall-mounted illuminated makeup mirrors that flips from regular to magnified. Emboldened by my obvious brilliance, I perused the selection on and selected a little beauty by Danielle that would make my dreams come true. It flipped to ten-times magnification, had a circular light around the mirror and came with a price tag that was manageable. Problem solved.

Then, as inevitably happens with our home handymen, mine installed the new mirror so high I had to stand on my tiptoes and tilt the mirror down to even see myself. A certain amount of domestic discord followed, resulting in three open drilled holes in the wood that are still awaiting woodfiller. When the time is conducive and the mood safe, I may suggest the holes be repaired—or more likely, I’ll just attend to it myself.

mirror4Sadly, my new mirror came with an entirely new set of problems which became immediately apparent. Have you ever seen those photos of the moon showing its pocked surface with massive craters, debris fields and surface scars? Or perhaps a pot-holed, rutted dirt road somewhere in the countryside? Then, you’ll understand what my face looked like when I first glanced at it in my new ten-times magnification illuminated makeup mirror. The 10X magnification also meant that I had to be within two or three inches of the mirror and squint to see anything, and what I did see was not pretty. I could only scrutinize sections of my face at a time, not the entire picture at a glance. It’s perfect for weeding out those stray chin whiskers but useless for assessing overall makeup application at a glance. I have to scroll around and check out my reflection pixel by pixel.

mirror6I should have never ordered that damn mirror but my money’s already been spent, the packaging trashed and my self-image brutally assaulted. Those little blonde chin hairs have become towering birch trees on a forest floor of dry, cracked leaves. If you see me on the street, on my way to trauma counseling, and my eyebrows are lopsided and drawn half-way up my forehead or my blusher looks like a slash of blood, it’s not my fault. Ladies, unless you’re into S&M or other destructive past-times, never, ever buy a suicide-inducing 10X magnification mirror. Mirror mirror on the wall. Who’s the stupidest, vainest, ugliest Boomer of all? You’re lookin’ at ‘er.