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Practical uses / Mirror, mirror, on the wall


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  [Practical uses]  Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Do you look at the mirror and ask it whether you are beautiful or not?

Everyone does it once in a while, or even too often.

Then, what is the mirror's answer to you?

If it says, "You are beautiful", there is no problem.

But, if it says contrarily, there are a few things to think about.

For the sake of explanation, let's imagine a London night club, in Soho, for example.

Please picture a Japanese tourist, female, youngish, sort of.

She is dancing alone.

Alone, because she is traveling alone.

She has never been popular among Japanese men.

Most of her high school classmates are married.

Some of them have children.

Her clock is ticking. Even worse, it has already stopped ticking.

She has no hope.

Every morning before she goes to work, she looks at the mirror with sighs, deep, deep sighs of hopelessness.

When she was a kid, she used to blame her parents.

Not any more.

She got used to this social status, an outcaste in the Japanese society where the cutsie-wootsie rules.

But the sense of injustice remains somewhere in her.

She desperately needed change, so she drew her savings from the bank, took holidays, and got on the plane to Heathrow.

"Nothing changes", she has thought in the night club, for, well, five minutes before an Englishman comes over to her to talk.

He asked her to dance with him.

She declines because of her prudence or, probably, pride, saying to herself, "I know what I am. The man is after money or something. I cannot possibly attract a man".

Then, another man comes and asks her if he can buy her a drink.

She ignores him.

He goes back to his friends.

Her eyes follow him and she realizes everyone in the club is looking at her, not in a despising sort of way, rather with admiration.

Not just boys, some girls are looking at her as if she was a star from Far East.

The third man is a nice chap with a friendly smile.

He dances with her.

This time, she, kind of, accepts him.

After a slow tune, he whispers.

"You are incredibly beautiful."

The Japanese girl does not know the word "incredibly", but cannot miss the other words.

"He must be joking."

This is the first thing that has come up to her mind.

It is absolutely natural for her to thinks because she has not heard the word addressed to her since she was seven years old.

Nevertheless, she is sensible enough to find out that his eyes are telling her otherwise.

"Thank you."

When she says so to the man, she is almost breathless.

While dancing in his arms, she says to herself, "After all, it is different in England".

At a table there are a group of Japanese girls, tourists like her, looking at the scene.

They are jealous.

They say to each other, "She is very ugly. It's not fair. We are pretty and all the men are after us in Tokyo. But no one wants to talk to us in London".

It is the difference of culture obviously.

The beau dancing with the ugliest-imaginable-back-in-Japan girl doesn't have to feel ashamed at all because she IS beautiful to him.

The story tells us that any judgement is relative and, if you blindly believe one criterion, you are subject to suffering.

There is no such thing like an absolute judgement.

If you are unhappy where you are now, you should go somewhere else, where people find you beautiful (or smart, or whatever you like to be).

If you are not happy about what you see on the mirror, why don't you come over to Tokyo?

Tokyoites might find you extremely beautiful.

If not, you still have a Timbuktu.