‘The naked truth confronting me in a department store mirror’

Feb 11, 2020
Karen was quite confronted by what she saw in the changing room mirror. Source: Getty Images

It’s well over 35C outside. I don’t have air-conditioning and the ceiling fans are just pushing around hot air. Lightbulb moment. I will go to the local mall. That temple of air-conditioned consumerism where we often go to get our shopping and indulge in a bit of wistful window shopping.

I’m in need of a strapless bra for a top my daughter gave me for Christmas. And some new undies would not go amiss. Being the thrifty pensioner that I am, and being fully aware that there are lots of sales, I go on the hunt. I find a few contenders in the bra section. I look nothing like the model in the label attached to them. However, I am an optimistic person.

I wander off to the fitting rooms, stoically ignoring all of the wonderful books, which I would like to browse and buy instead and lock myself into the fitting room. For a start it is minuscule and the air-conditioning does not seem to reach to this corner. But it is wall to wall mirrors so I am amplified and see myself from every angle. I peel off my frock and begin the challenge.

For a moment I think that the sweating and corpulent person in the mirror cannot be me. But if it is not me, then who the heck is it? Sobered, I pull in my tummy and try on the bras. Well, I am not a contortionist, and with a bit of arthritis the simple act of trying to put it on back to front and do up the clasp at the front (ladies you know what I mean) and drag it around to put the offending mammaries into the starchy wire framed cup is almost beyond me. Red-faced and puffing I persist, but it is not quite right.

I go through the same torture several times until I find one that fits okay. It’s on sale so I will buy the undies as well. But as I get back into my dress, struggle with the zip and straighten myself up so I don’t look like I’ve been up to no good in the cubicle, I reflect on the mirrors.

I don’t have a full length mirror at home as there is no where to put it, so when I am confronted by my naked self I get a bit of a shock as I come to terms with the reality of me. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy with my 66-year-old self. I’m pretty fit and healthy. I dress well on a budget and I enjoy life.

I guess I just get a little philosophical and nostalgic as I reflect on a body that has know many years of life and has served me well. Children, surgeries and ageing change all of us. But all in all I am happy that the mirrors stay at the department store and I can ignore them until next time.

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Have you ever stopped to consider your body in this way? How do you feel about fitting room mirrors?

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