Mirror, Mirror

Friday, July 24, 2009

The office I work in is actually inside a factory that has been fitted out with double storey offices on one side. We have 3 bathrooms; one attached to the downstairs office, one attached to the upstairs office, and one adjoining the factory for disabled access. Yet despite this plethora of bathrooms, in three rooms there is not one single mirror.

Now I’m not a vain person – in fact, I’m a reasonably low maintenance sort of girl - and it’s not really the sort of workplace where you have to worry about if your hair is still in place and your lipstick is on straight. But there are certain uses for a mirror in a bathroom that can’t be denied, no matter what your gender. For example, I like to know with a quick glance while passing by that my clothes are arranged right – to be sure that my zipper is done up properly, for instance. I like to make sure that after lunch I’m not grinning at people with a tooth full of salad. I like to know when I’ve managed to touch something in the dusty factory without noticing and have a grey handprint on my cheek. You know, little luxuries like that.

These are the sorts of things that you notice with a quick glance while passing by a mirror that I am denied in my mirror-less environment. The dilemma is, there is no way to install a mirror in a workplace without seeming vain. Because men don’t seem to concern themselves with these basic affairs of presentation, so any attempt to install a mirror leaves them with no alternate explanation in their minds other than vanity.

On the other hand, because I am the only female here, any attempt to change things usually results in everyone pretending they haven’t noticed or just huffing things like “Huh. Women.” So it could still happen. But until then I remain constantly paranoid of green teeth, open zippers and dusty handprints.


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