All you need is the desire to look, long and hard, into the depths.
July 11, 2019 12:58 PM   Subscribe

"Maybe rather than falling in love with his twin, Narcissus showed the pool his butt, peering over his beautiful shoulder to get the view from behind. Yet we prefer to think of Narcissus gazing at his lovely face for hours, wasting away (or drowning, depending on your mythological source) because he needs to be punished for his self-love. It’s a story with a moral, one that cautions against vanity and beauty. It’s also a story about the power of reflection, and we keep telling it because it keeps being relatable." The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Mirrors

Part of a series by Katy Kelleher, earlier installments cover the grisly sides of perfume, angora, and pearls (previously)
posted by everybody had matching towels (3 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only partway way into this article but the paragraph talking about mirrors have lost their sense of awe and mystery reminded me of the first time I saw my reflection in a non-reversing or two way mirror. I couldn't stop looking. I was truly seeing myself how others see me, for the first time in my life. And I looked... different. Our faces aren't symmetrical and so seeing the "reversed" image -- my right eye on the left, the side my right eye would be on if someone were looking right at me -- was like seeing the face of a long-lost twin. Me, but other. And yet true to how I actually look. It was extraordinary. If you ever get a chance to make one or encounter one at someplace like Burning Man or a Maker's Faire, I'd advise taking a look.
posted by treepour at 3:29 PM on July 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

One of my favorite things to do at a museum or an antique store is to look into an old mirror. Like tasting historically accurate food, it's one of the rare experiences you can share with the long dead. I can't resist looking into the mirror with my healthy 21st-century face and imagining the 19th-century woman framed just exactly so.

I spend a minute each morning and evening looking into the mirror at my absolute best angle, feeling a little like Snow White's stepmother, but unable to resist assuring myself that I continue to have It, at least for certain values thereof. This probably isn't exactly a universal ritual, but it is close enough to one to be comforting.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:16 PM on July 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

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