My kids recently gifted me a magnifying mirror, and they were pretty pumped. “Mommy you can plug it in and see how you look in office light and evening light,” they shouted. I assume by office they mean supermarket and by evening light they mean by the glow of Netflix. Either way, that mirror is bad news. I mean, on the one hand, WTF? But on the other hand I get why they bought it. The hottie on the box looks pretty stoked using it to put makeup on. But that’s not how it works with me. Here’s what happens when I catch a glimpse of my magnified face and I go in for a closer look:
- My eyebrows disappear: I’ve spent hours chasing that one stray eyebrow, the little nub sticking out just above the surface that just doesn’t want to come out. “I’ll get you, you little f**ker” is all I can think. The good news is I usually get it. The bad news is I’m always left with a nasty red divit where I plucked away all the surrounding skin. Then it’s time to clean up the top. And the sides and the ends and the middle. Then I draw in the parts I manically tweezed away and spend the day feeling like RuPaul.
- I see mustache hair everywhere: Once I look up close, it’s impossible to not see hair above my lip. And whether it’s the blonde ones waxing doesn’t get or those dark f**kers that reappear every few days, once I’ve seen them I just can’t un-see that mustache. Everywhere I look I’m Tom Selleck. Or Hitler. Or that poor cashier at Target (can’t someone please tell her?). So I grab a tweezer, turn the light on and go to town destroying my lip in an agonizing quest to look like a woman again.
- My chin becomes a red blotchy mess: Ever squish your chin down in a magnifying mirror? It’s like every estheticians nightmare. Once I see that mess I physically can’t stop myself from squeezing until every last unsightly white microscopic bump (that you would never notice in real life) is gone, leaving behind a swollen red lumpy chin. Mission accomplished.
- I spend a lot of money: One look and I notice every clogged pore and blackhead I’ve ever had. And there’s rosacea everywhere. There should be a section on drugstore.com labeled “products for middle aged women with a magnifying mirror” and they can sell all sorts of overpriced crap for dark circles and wrinkles and maybe even throw in some estrogen for my mustache. They won’t even have to convince me to buy it. Just package that shit together and take my money.
- I screw up all my makeup: Did I almost walk out of the house like this? A magnified look reveals specks of eyeshadow dripping onto my nose and mascara droppings on my cheek. I’ll just clean that up until all my even foundation is streaked and ruined and I have to do everything over again. And I can totally make my eyeliner line neater. I’ll just grab a Q-tip and wipe some away. Just like the chick on that you tube video, but not quite. 20 minutes later, once I’ve destroyed everything, it’s time to wash my face and start again.
- I turn bumps into mountains: No tiny lump is safe in a magnifying mirror. I’m convinced that if I just push it the slightest bit, squeeze it just a little, I’ll get rid of the poison underneath. But after pushing and squeezing in vain for 10 minutes I’m left with a cyst spread out over half my cheek and whatever’s underneath seems to have reproduced a thousand times over. On the plus side, I no longer need blush.
- I diagnose eye diseases: Why are my eyes so bloodshot? Is that a spot on my eyeball? And my pupils look a little dilated. I better check WebMD. Oh shit I have cataracts and glaucoma. I may even have blepharitis (which is Latin for get rid of the effing mirror). This thing should come with a gift card for my copay.
About the author: Jackie Goldschneider is a newspaper columnist, magazine contributor and blogger. She frequently contributes to sites like the Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. And she’s a mom of two sets of twins! Follow her at Into the Mommy Brain and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackie-goldschneider/