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After Work: The Truth Magnified

Dona Gibbs thinks that magnification mirrors should be outlawed. “They’re scary.. You get the effect of Dorian Grey in reverse. You see all kinds of weird stuff going on. Wrinkles and botches. Creepiness.

You suddenly understand the truth of that embroidered pillow. You know the one that reads, 'Mirror, mirror on the wall. I am my mother after all.' The horror of it all.’’

For more of Dona’s sparkling words which reflect an ever-youthful mind please click on After Work in the menu on this page.

“Magnification mirrors should be outlawed. For everybody. Any age. Period. End of report.” So said my dermatologist.

She, the dermatologist whom I call Dina, Girl Doctor, is probably pushing thirty-five. She has a perfect milky complexion, huge brown eyes and long blonde hair. An aspirational look if there ever was one. And she could face high magnification any day.

She does have a point. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of looking into one of those super-expensive, super magnification mirrors that super expensive, super luxurious hotels install in their gleaming marble bathrooms. You know, those oval mirrors that also function as an eerie nightlight until you finally find the pesky little button in the back.

They’re scary. You get the effect of Dorian Grey in reverse. You see all kinds of weird stuff going on. Wrinkles and botches. Creepiness.

You suddenly understand the truth of that embroidered pillow. You know the one that reads, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. I am my mother after all.” The horror of it all.

Having had such an experience recently, I laughed to myself, remembering overhearing an older man in a very posh pharmacy, the kind with the real badger hair shaving brushes, imported soaps and toilet waters distilled by cloistered monks on remote islands.

“Could you recommend a shaving mirror? I’d like one so I can see my face but not all that well.”

Now I understand exactly what he means.

Staring into a mirror up close and personal revealed something I hadn’t wanted to confront. Confronting truths about oneself, even the petty kind seen in a mirror, is rarely pleasant.

I stared and a woman with obvious dyed hair stared back. My roots were showing. It had only been a week and a half since I’d like handed over a vast amount of cash to get them covered up.

Something had to be done. Or redone. Or undone.

I voted for the latter. I would let it happen. I’d go to my natural color. Whatever that might be.

While you hear about people going grey overnight, you never hear of anyone returning to grey overnight. Let me tell you, it’s a long, long process. Hair only grows at the rate of half an inch a month.

I needed support for my effort so I took myself to a hair stylist down in New York’s Greenwich Village. I like Robert a lot. He doesn’t play loud music and dance while cutting. Dancing with scissors is akin to running with them in my book. And he serves fresh brownies and cookies from the homey little bakery next door.

I told him my plan to look grey and, wonder of wonders, he approved.

Cutting my hair short would make growing in the grey easier.

“I see you as Merle Streep in The Devil Wears Prada,” he murmurs while snipping away.

See why I like the guy? I wonder if he’d let me call him Bobby?

Usually I get,” You look like Judi Dench,” or “You look like Angela Lansbury.” While they’re wonderful actresses, they’ve never been role models for me looks-wise.

I take my graying hair on a trip to Florida. Now about the only grey hair you see on women in these parts is worn by ladies whose accessories usually include one of those canes with little feet.

One of my golfing friends takes a look and gasps a little as she stammers, “Can’t you do something while it’s growing out?”

I explain I’ve just got to tough it out.

She looks a little horrified.

Next time back in New York for trim, I tell Robert what happened.

He laughs and snips away and more of the ends fall, neon yellow against the dark wood floors.

“You’re just hanging out with the wrong people.”

I’ve gotten other comments. From people I don’t know. On the street. In a store. In a restaurants. Usually they are along the lines of, “I wish I had your courage.

Courage. Is that what it is?

Courage, well,,courage I believe is a word that should be reserved for truly heroic things.

Like looking in a high magnification mirror, for instance.

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