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You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

Aside from wondering what my hair is doing, I’d wonder if my tops and bottoms really went together — you never know ’til you look in a full-length mirror. What if your bra straps showed under a top, or a blouse was too low cut in the front (you don’t get the same perspective looking down). All day I’d wonder if my tummy stuck out more in this dress, or how my bottom looked in that pair of slacks.

I don’t think I’d ever be able to get my lipstick on right; I usually wear the eight-hour type, so I’d be stuck with a lopsided mouth for quite a while, then I’d probably have to ask someone else to apply it for me. The same with most make-up — eye-liner would be impossible if not dangerous. And if you wore mascara, you’d never know when you had raccoon eyes. Eyebrows would eventually become less defined, perhaps downright bushy. (My daughter (36) wouldn’t be able to pluck out her gray hairs!)

It’s an interesting question philosophically, though. If we depend on our appearance to define us, then the loss of mirrors (I’m assuming this is for everyone), could have much deeper ramifications. Some saying goes, “it’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s inside the counts,” but I don’t think society necessarily abides by that dictum. Nicer looking people seem to get ahead better socially, and probably professionally, than people who are not as attractive. Not knowing what you look like except through other people’s eyes would shake up things a bit. If this were really a world without mirrors, and no one knew what they looked like, perhaps insides would make more difference and come to the fore in relationships.

Certainly when we talk about self-image, how we look plays a big part in that — image implies sight. Would we judge everyone by a different yardstick, if self-images were all askew and some individuals weren’t strutting their stuff, primping in public, or batting feathery eyelashes? Would we look more into others’ character?

Would psychological disorders that involve self-image (like dismorphic disorder, anorexia and bulemia) lessen? Would people who are ordinary looking become more confident and outgoing because they have great personalities? Would there be less cosmetic surgery, hair coloring, hair implants, body-building, etc. if we didn’t feel so defined by our physical appearance?

The world would be a different place without mirrors. It’s a fascinating question and one that goes deeper than the initial reading of it. I found a great poem online called, “Beyond the Looking Glass” that reflects one person’s relationship with her mirror. It’s from a blog by a woman who decided to go for a year without looking in a mirror. The comments on her blog, Mirror, Mirror, Off The Wall,  are quite funny and insightful.

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