There’s a lot to be said for growing old gracefully. Not wearing mini skirts, leopard-skin print leggings or midriff-revealers aged 55, not using surgery to stretch skin and remove wrinkles, not dying hair platinum blonde to disguise the grey. I get the feeling that had any of these options been available to Snow White’s poor stepmother, she’d have leaped at them all. Which makes her less evil, and more just uncomfortable with the idea of passing time and fading beauty. Of course, she took her aging to heart a little and she may have gone over the top in her desire to remain the ultimate in desirable women, but still… the fear of getting older is there for all of us. Who, over a certain age, hasn’t looked in the mirror, seen a grey hair and twinged just a tiny bit?
And there we are – I think the real evil in this story is that mirror. The mirror that never lies, that always tells the poor queen exactly how she looks, that provides a constant, nagging reminder of passing time and fading attraction. It must have driven her mad. Same for us – mirrors and the media, both telling us all the time that younger is better, providing us with ‘perfect’ examples to ‘follow’, homogenising and smoothing, wanting healthier, fitter, prettier, wittier, finer. And, to a very large extent these days, more standard. Don’t stand out. Don’t dare to be different. Wear this because it is right, eat this because it is right, say this because it won’t offend anyone (note that here, I’m not advocating complete anarchy, just desiring a bit of character!).
I would say, don’t look at that mirror. Get on with your life, enjoy it the way that it is, be happy with those moments of pleasure and ride over the less exciting ones. Age is part of living and will happen whether you like it or not. Better to accept that and move on. Don’t look in the mirror!
And now, in the biggest and most unlikely sideways leap possible….. the advice to not look in the mirror is as sound as the advice not to look at Medusa. I suppose you could say that there’s an opposite there. Don’t look in the mirror, but do view Medusa through your shield, using it as a mirror. Then, she can’t turn you to stone. And for another opposite, how about taking Medusa and inverting her, so that she is a snake with heads rather than a head with snakes. Ta-da! One glass piece!