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De Burger-Fex: An old woman’s relationship with her mirror is fraught and annoying

Columnist Erna de Burger-Fex never used to mind the looking glass so much. Not anymore

Now that I’m an older woman I don’t like mirrors much anymore. I only realised this recently. As I was passing by a mirror, I happened to glance at my image
Now why would I do so today? After all, at my advanced age, I know what I look like and don’t need a mirror to verify that. Even my silhouette is different!

I have mirrors in several rooms in my house, so at times I cannot avoid them.

That image reflected cannot be me, I tell myself. My waist is smaller than that and I know that I am not that fat. Ok, I have changed a size or two in my clothes, there’s no denying that. The clients of the Salvation Army have benefitted because of it. So that’s a good thing, right?

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” That question was the downfall of the wicked stepmother of Snow White. Do you remember that story from your childhood?  

But what about those mirrors today? I don’t need so many of them. They annoy me. There are enough other annoyances in my life, and my mirror helps remind me of them.

There’s my hair, which has a mind of its own. It really does! Looking at that first thing in the morning does not give me a propitious start to my day. I have learned to my detriment never — I say never — to look at myself naked as I’m passing by a mirror accidentally. That’s right, naked.

Oh no! There’s no way that’s my body — but who else could it be? There are no other women living in this apartment. Hmm.
Mirrors come in many different shapes and sizes, and are used not just as a looking glasses but as décor. Some homes even have them on doors. Can you imagine? Hard to avoid those without looking at them. 

The only use I have for full-length mirrors is to check my reflection to see if perhaps I have forgotten an item of clothing or if I have buttoned my blouse correctly. That has already happened to this old lady more than once. I’m sure you can relate.

This is an aspect of aging that I had never considered — a love-hate relationship with the looking glass.

Erna de Burger-Fex is a writer and retired teacher who writes about aging and the funny side of getting older. Got a question for Erna? Email