The Horror of Hotel Bathroom Magnifying Mirrors

Posted on
Jul 7, 2011


Forged by Lucifer himself, I'm sure.


I have a brilliant idea for a horror movie. It would begin like this:

A couple – a young man and woman – enter a hotel room. For the purposes of casting, let’s say that the man, dark-haired, bearded and handsome, will be played by Joshua Jackson. And the woman will be played by me (SHUT UP IT’S MY BLOG). They enter the room together, the man tugging a suitcase behind him, his toned arm flexing against his Ted Baker suit jacket, which he’s paired with a dress shirt, jeans, and, oh, I don’t know, yellow shoes. And no one cares what the woman is wearing because by the end of the movie her clothes will be in a crumbled pile in the corner of the room after a gratuitous sex scene.

Ahem. I have completely lost my train of thought.

Oh – horror movie! Right. So, the man comments on how lavish the room is, and draws back the blinds to reveal a dizzying panorama of sea and sky, and makes some crack about how it doesn’t hold a candle to his wife’s loveliness. And she blushes on the apples of her cheeks and HER NOSE DOES NOT TURN BEET RED IN THE PROCESS and she looks adorable. Also, she’s a super-accomplished writer and all of her pants fit (this is what people in Hollywood call “subtext”).

She proceeds to head into the bathroom to “freshen up”, which in the movies is code for “get naked” but the second she steps in there, she lets out a blood-curdling scream and runs out of the hotel room. Her husband, confused, chases after her, but she’s already fled down the hall, in a wide-angle shot that totally doesn’t make her butt look big. He peers back in the bathroom, looking for whatever set her off. Is there a body in the tub? No. A threatening note scribbled in blood on the bathroom? Nope. He’s confused for a moment, until finally, next to the sink, he sees it.

It’s a magnifying mirror.

The point being that magnifying mirrors are horrifying. And also, I neglected to figure out where the sex scene would go (that can be addressed in the re-write).


At the risk of stating something which may already be obvious, I do not have perfect skin. It was worse in my early and mid-twenties, when I was trying to have some semblance of authority in my work, but mostly looked like a broken-out teenager. After some truly expensive cosmetic procedures (featuring ominous word combinations like “chemical” and “peel”) I’ve managed to get my skin under control, just in time for me to start worrying about wrinkles.

So, um, phew. I guess.

At home, my complexion tends to not cause me too much grief. But on the road, my skin goes through a caucaphony of abuses: recycled air on planes, unfamiliar climates, and the occasional trace of an earlier snack left on my face for several long hours (Yes, I licked it off, and no, I don’t have any shame. Thank you for asking).

Also, I don't know how to pluck my own eyebrows.

In the buzzing bathroom light of hotel rooms, I’m usually able to ignore it, unless, of course, there’s a magnifying mirror. A funhouse mirror for pores, it would make Natalie Portman look pock-marked. Just imagine the impact it has on a mere mortal like myself. And yet, I cannot look away.

Whenever I encounter one, my thought process usually goes as follows:

Huh. A magnifying mirror. Well, I’ll just ignore that. After all, it won’t be flattering at all.

Well, maybe I’ll just take a teeny, tiny look.

Yikes. I have wookie eyebrows. Let me just clean them up a bit. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Hmm. It appears that I have plucked my eyebrows clean off.

Seriously, how does Whoopi pull this look off? This is not at all flattering.

And – sweet jesus – what is going on with my pores? Let me just do a tiny squeeze and …

MOTHER OF GOD WHAT WAS IN MY FACE? I’m obviously some sort of mutant.

Note: At this point in time Rand usually notices that I’ve been in the bathroom for several long days.  Aware of my penchant for picking, he will inquire gently, “Baby, what are you doing?”

“Replacing my nearly invisible blackheads with screaming angry red marks.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want to be doing?”

“Yes. Are you sure you want to be pissing me off?” I reply. After all, I’m a mutant, and probably have superpowers.

And that’s pretty much how it goes, until I run screaming from the bathroom, my face a mess. I’ll tearfully press my abused face to my husband’s chest, and he’ll quietly tell me that I look fine, and that soon the redness will go away and my eyebrows will grow back.

“But in the meantime,” he’ll say gently, “Stay away from that mirror.”

Oh, would that I could! If you are anything like me (i.e., for years you thought your mother’s pet name for you was “Don’t pick at it”) you know how addictive and destructive they can be. Like all good addictions, I’ve found the best solution is not to start. And here’s how, precisely, I do that:

  • Turn the mirror towards the wall.

    Sweet heavenly father - even the back is reflective.

  • Failing that, cover the damn thing up (a shower cap works delightfully well.)
  • Failing that, turn out the light.
  • Get co-dependent someone to support you. Someone to tenderly scream, “Honey, why have you been in the bathroom for the better part of Wednesday?”
  • Remember that no one will stand four-inches from your face and inspect your pores. If they do, they will be in no position to judge.

And then, as you whisper to yourself that looks don’t matter anyway (and honey, if they did, pores would be the LEAST of your problems), quickly and resolutely walk away. Because that romantic interlude is waiting, and those clothes aren’t going to tear themselves off.

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