Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The mirror's tall tale

I thought I had mentioned somewhere that the reflection you see of yourself in the mirror is NOT the image that everyone else sees when they look at you. I looked for the post where I mentioned it but couldn't find it. This blog is getting a bit unwieldy and I fear repeating myself, which I surely do. Anyway, I remember that there were a couple comments not believing that what I purported above is true. So I thought I'd clear it up with a little experiment. First I'll explain. If you hold up your arm and put your finger under the right eye, when you look at the mirror, your finger is under the eye on the right side of the face in the mirror. However, when someone looks at you as you hold your finger to your right eye, from the observer's point of view your finger is pointing at the left eye. Don't believe me? Here I took a picture of me with the camera directly and in the mirror. I am holding a number up. Look what happens to the number.


That's right, the number is backwards. I can't turn the paper to achieve this effect, it's impossible. (Try it!) In the mirror you are seeing yourself backwards. This probably explains why so many of us find fault with pictures of ourselves. We're not used to seeing that viewpoint! In fact, the only way to see what others see is in pictures. If you give more emphasis to one side of your appearance (such as the parting of your hair) due to what you see in the mirror, this is a bit folly. The only true way to see which "looks" better is to take pictures of it in the two ways and look at them. Mirrors are liars, as are their many reflective cousins.

20 comments:

Ed said...

If I were as handsome as you I would not worry about which side looks best. That is a neat trick with the number. As a child I used to write backwards messages to my friends and they did the same I would have to find a mirror to translate it. Now you have me thinking that I probably shave the right side of my face when I think I'm shaving the left side.

Patricia said...

mirrors are evil. period. and i hear you about a longish blog starting to repeat itself. that's the boat i'm in. and did you hear? mirrors are evil. period.

RoxRocks said...

Mirrors ARE liars! I've been telling my ass that for years!

I recommend a purging and then a re-starting of the blog to get one's cobwebs out of one's head.

Cooper said...

I remember a teacher showing us that same experiment using a mirror and numbers when I was in grade six. You looked way cuter doing it.

I suppose I should start organizing my blog into categories as so many do (I love Gayprof's categories the best). However, I suppose I'd basically only need two. I know I am already repeating myself in one form or another

GayProf said...

This blog is getting a bit unwieldy and I fear repeating myself, which I surely do.

I have discovered that almost nobody really remembers more than your last two entries anyway. Repeat away -- Blog readers have very short-term memories.

Java said...

I agree with gayprof. Just go ahead and repeat youself. I'm fairly new to this blog anyway, so I've never read anything you said more than about a month ago.

As for mirrors: I'd rather look at myself in the mirror. I decide what to look at and what to ignore. I ignore a lot. There is a lot of me to ignore. I am always amazed when I see a photograph of myself just how fat I really am. I just don't picture myself that way because I never look at myself in all my glorious honesty. Ouch.

CoffeeDog said...

On a related subject - have you ever tried to point out to someone that they have something on their face? You point to the correct side on your own face, in an effort to show them where said object is on THEIR face, but they automatically check the exact opposite side, in an effort to mirror what you just showed them.

Maddening I tell ya.

about a boy said...

damn those dirty mirrors!

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I remember seeing a novelty item years ago: a mirror that inverted the image so you see yourself as others see you.

It cost hundreds of dollars!

Perplexio said...

One of the easiest ways of getting a true picture of how you look is using a webcam. You don't need to broadcast or anything just get it to show your image on the screen and style your hair and etc. accordingly.

Mark in DE said...

Its really true that we don't actually see ourselves the way others do, and you demonstrated this quite handsomely. (As you know I've held a cyber-crush for you since I first read your blog.)

I recently confessed to a friend my disappointment at seeing myself in the mirror. "I always think that I look different and better than I really do." My friend just laughed.

Mark

Jeff said...

thats why i keep my webcam settings to mirror the image that is normally shown- that way the right hand side of the picture is the right hand side of me!

Anonymous said...

hooked up to a webcam, i bet one could make a mirror that would really show what you look like. it shouldn;t even cost much!

Lewis said...

Does this require a Master's degree to figure out? Cause I'm still struggling.

Doug said...

Cher, from the movie, "Clueless," said she didn't trust mirrors when trying on clothes, and took pictures of herself instead. Now I know why.

Brechi said...

Well, you look good both ways.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

Are you sure your name isn't really Madame Curie? All you need is a white lab coat to be totally hot.
Well, hotter than usual.

dirk.mancuso said...

Head hurts...so hard to think. And then Perplexio and his webcam thing...how can that not be the same as the mirror? Soooooo confused...

Damn it, Torn -- do you have to handsome AND smart, too?

Steven said...

Why do you think actors/models only approve shots of their 'good' side? Because it's the side they're used to seeing in the mirror.

Robert said...

I'll be trying that next year. ;-)