Growing Old

3rd December 2021 Mrs Annie R Teo

The Mirror

You must have experienced checking yourself in the mirror of an aeroplane lavatory?

 I started “flying” when I was about sixteen years old and that particular reflection there and then threw right to my face a whole network of wrinkles! Forward a few decades of amazing progresses by the aviation industry, the light bulbs have not changed and I am running out of humour. Would it be farfetched to suspect that airlines actually invest in the cosmetic industry?

To be honest, I have not been on a flight since before the pandemic started; however, only yesterday, I had to go to the mall down our street and I got tempted to explore the ladies fashion department of the store. I found something I fancied and since it happened to be in my size, I decided to brave my fear of the fitting room (SOP). And so, I entered the little cubicle with confidence, feeling good, as good as perhaps forty years old and came out only a few minutes later feeling well over eighty-five! Time travel in Dr Who’s cabin? Or did you guess it was the reflection? Did I overreact? Perhaps a bit, but much more than that I saw a great opportunity to write a few light lines which I hope will make you smile. Now that I think about all this, I am just wondering how Narcissus would have reacted to his own reflection in an aeroplane or a fitting room mirror? Would he have fallen in love with himself after all? Lucky for you and I, we do know that love and self-esteem are much deeper than a reflective piece of glass.

My friend Beena gave me the idea of featuring one of my dolls with this story. Her style and personality came to me as I was preparing for a talk on Threads of History – Sarawak Chinese Women: Cheongsam, Sam Fu and Nonya wear. I guess this is my version of Sam Fu with a French twist!

She is 50cm tall, made with fabric and a few wires for the fingers. I painted her skin. Her top is made with a very popular French cloth: Toile de Jouy. She is turning her back to the mirror to avoid revealing wrinkles.

2 thoughts on “Growing Old

  1. Hi, thank you for making me smile:).

    I love the way you used a unique fabric called Toile-de-Jouy. I have always loved this design. But you have created a fashion statement on a doll wearing a Sam Fu. The history of toile though it began in France, became very popular in many parts of Europe.

    Now Annie has given this a truly Asian twist!!! It means we can use it anywhere in the world.

    I also loved that story of the mirror. When I turned 50 and saw myself in the mirror in a shopping mall trying to buy a pair of pants, I was dismayed :(. It made me realise that my body had changed, and I didn’t notice it.

    But now, no mirror will upset me, as I know it is not the image that matters, but what you are as a person. Thanks, Annie, for sharing that delightful story.:):)

    1. I can really relate to feeling good before walking into a fitting room and then leaving it feely rather deflated. Perhaps the lighting should be more muted and mirrors designed to be flattering, with a bit of curve to change our shapes a little….

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