She came out of the changing room wearing the dress with golden roses and both her husband and I caught our breath. She looked absolutely gorgeous! The colours lifted her, the style embraced her curves and the skirt flirted innocently with her legs. The dress was perfect.
Yet, as she twisted and turned in front of the mirror I could tell something was wrong. She was obviously not in love. And my rule is that, unless my client is in love, the dress or jacket or shoes stay in the shop and the money stays in their pocket.
"You must buy that dress!" said her husband (he is that rare husband who enjoys clothes shopping with his wife).
"I don't know..." she said and twisted again.
I walked over and stood by her, looking in the mirror with her.
"I feel frumpy," she said.
"Well - the hem needs to come up a couple of inches," and I knelt down and held it, so she could see. "See, that's better, isn't it?"
There was a further silence.
"Okay," I said. "Talk me through it. Tell me why you feel frumpy?"
I won't reproduce the whole conversation here, but what it came down to was that my lovely client has been going through a bad time recently, had gained a few pounds and had gone up a dress size. When she looked in the mirror, she couldn't see the lovely curvy woman both her husband and I see – she could only see the overweight woman in her mind.
We live life in a hall of mirrors. The mirrors are never objective, and we usually see a reflection of what we feel inside. The only time we might really see the "truth" is if we catch sight of ourselves but do not realise we are looking in a mirror.
I know when that happens to me I am always pleasantly surprised. Maybe you are too.
The mirrors in the hall of life reflect only our perceived faults and imperfections. If we feel fat, then that is what they will reflect – just think of those suffering from anorexia. If we feel our legs are short, we will see the human version of a dachshund. If we feel our stomach is taking over the world, then a hot air balloon will appear in the glass.
I won't tell you to ignore mirrors, or to ban them from your house. After all, I don't want you to go outside with misbuttoned coat and a smut on your nose, but I do want you to be aware that the mirror lies. So too does the camera, but that's the subject of another blog.
So maybe we shouldn't pay too much attention to what we think we see. Maybe we should listen to those who love us.
My client listened to her husband and me, and she bought the dress. She looks gorgeous in it and I hope she will soon see that too.
A Moodscope member.