By Steve Galea
“Which one do you like?” Jenn said.
It was the question I had been dreading from the moment we walked into the decorating store.
For before me was every middle-aged man’s nightmare – the mirror section. Which is, as we all know, the most treacherous place for a man who just wants the agony of shopping to be over.
One wrong move — whether it’s rolling eyeballs, silent imitation of your spouse’s words — and your partner, even if she’s standing in front of you, is sure to see it. And that can lead to dangerous conversations with phrases that begin with, “Oh, I see. You really don’t care if our mirror doesn’t match the rest of the restroom decor…”
Which, as any man knows, is a statement we instinctively agree with. And that just leads to more conversations about what you really consider important.
And nothing good ever comes from that.
Knowing this, I had to think quickly. But, since I can barely think slowly, I opted for the standard blocking tactic.
“Which one do I like?” I repeat.
“Yes,” she said. “And why did you say that so slowly?”
“Which one do you like?” I replied.
“I ask your opinion,” she replied.
Frankly, I don’t understand why. She stopped listening to my decorating advice years ago when I suggested she buy an antler-themed toilet roll holder. (Even after I explained to him that we could probably place 12 rolls on a good dollar.)
“I like the first round there,” I said, hoping I guessed correctly.
“The round one with the beveled edges, or the one with the pewter frame?” she probed further.
“The one with the tin,” I said, but only because I thought tin was short for computer. Which, if you think about it, a computerized mirror would be a great idea.
“A round mirror wouldn’t go well in our toilet,” she said after briefly considering it.
“I thought so,” I replied.
“How about the horizontal, rectangular with the silver frame?” she asked.
“I like its shape,” I replied. “And, if we gain weight, we won’t need a new mirror. Or, if I finally get that growth spurt, we can spin it vertical!
I thought that was a smart answer. And Jenn too, apparently.
“Sometimes I can’t believe how your mind works,” she replied.
Despite this, and the hour we spent finding out how many eye bags I had, she couldn’t decide which one would hang above our bathroom vanity.
As for me, I decided quickly. It would be the one she wanted.
I also realized that, despite what I’ve always thought, mirrors aren’t just about cheap TVs, with lousy shows and devastatingly handsome leading men.
They are much more than that. They are what separates us from other animals – and not in a good way. You would never spot a dog looking at himself in a mirror while plucking his nose hair.
Nevertheless, the ever optimistic Jenn left the store hoping that we would find the perfect mirror at the next stop.
Listen, I say, what’s the point. We won’t find any that make me look better.
“Steve,” she replied. “A mirror doesn’t just show you an image of yourself. It is also a decorative piece. And the decor you choose says a little more about you.
It was an interesting thought. And, maybe one day, if we ever buy a mirror, I can think about it more.