(don't worry, the reference becomes apparent later on)
Many women hate to go into department/clothing store dressing rooms because of the extremely unflattering mirrors they have. (Seriously, HOW can we possibly look as bad as those mirrors make it seem? Wouldn't we all be arrested for crimes against humanity if the images were true?) I hate the dressing rooms for one more reason: the lighting. I'm not sure what kind of lighting they have in those places, but it doesn't come anywhere close to being flattering. BUT, I know of someplace where the lighting is even worse.
We did a road trip this weekend. (We went to see 'Rain-a Tribute to the Beatles.' FANTASTIC and a whole lot of fun.) For a few years now, we have stayed at the same hotel when we go to Appleton, even through a change in ownership and hotel designation. (It used to be part of a chain and promoted as a 'business hotel.' While it still is advertised for business travelers, it now is a 'boutique hotel.' I'm really not sure what a 'boutique hotel' is. ;)) Anyway, the place is well-kept and reasonably priced, the rooms are large, there is free wi-fi, and the staff is friendly--AND it serves eggs for breakfast in the morning--so we keep going back. My biggest complaint about the place is the bathroom lighting. Oh, my.
First, I have never been blessed with a 'peaches and cream' complexion. Despite being 100% Finn/Scandinavian, my skin has NEVER looked like the beauty queen/model/actress versions of Scandinavians that we have been fed all these years. My skin is olive--probably from the Sami blood--and has never been great-looking since I was an infant. Actually, the skin on my face looks exactly as my ancestors' skin looked: as if it saw too many harsh winters and had snow, ice, and wind assault it while caring for the reindeer herd.
I completely admit to not taking care of my skin as I should have over the years. With me it has always seemed to be 'feast or famine' when it came to skin care. There were times when I would put myself on a skin-care regimen and keep up with it diligently for months. Then there were other times where I would just say "The hell with it." and do nothing more than wash it with soap and water. Sadly, it never seemed to matter which cycle I was in, my skin never looked great. I also will admit that I have done more damage to my skin than I should have. Other than not taking care of it properly, I have tanned for most of my life, I have smoked, I have 'picked at it,' I haven't eaten the proper nutrition for healthy skin, and I neglected it far too often.
So, along with age, my years of abuse/neglect have left me with quite a myriad of problems. And this isn't only the skin on my face. From head to toe I have numerous varicose veins, broken capillaries, spider veins, age spots, scars, dark spots of no known origin, moles, along with dry patches--other than the psoriasis--red patches, and plain yucky looking areas. Okay, so it sounds as if anyone would run every time they saw me walking down the street, but it isn't as bad as all that. For the most part, most of my imperfections are mild enough that most people would never notice. Also, I do a good job of covering up the worst of it with clothing. And other than when I'm naked in the bathroom, I don't see most of the problems. And I can live with it. Until we go and stay at the hotel with bathroom lighting from hell.
I have not been able to figure out why the lighting in this place is so bad. First, the room itself has such muted lighting that I'm sure the 'business' part in their advertising must have little or nothing to do with offices. It is the exact kind of lighting that would be used in a romantic setting--something to make a person look better. And it really hasn't been a problem for me, as the main reason for us to be there is to sleep, so I don't need exceptional lighting in the room. Then you go into the bathroom and you have a whole different story. The lighting is so bright in these bathrooms that you can actually see several layers INTO your skin! I kid you not! You can see veins under your skin's surface that aren't visible anywhere else. And that isn't the whole story.
The first time I saw myself in this harsh lighting, I almost screamed. It was horrifying. As I said, you can see veins practically popping to the surface. The pores in your skin are so large, it's as if you are looking at them through a magnifying glass. You can see hairs you never knew existed. Any blemish that you have is now visible--even the ones you never knew you had. Even the lines--NOT wrinkles, but those, too--in your skin are magnified. (This is where I found every one of the imperfections listed above.) And to top it all off, for me, my coloring turns from 'olive' to a shade that is closer to 'yellowish-grey.' I truly look like I am on the verge of becoming a member of the zombie apocalypse--as a zombie, not a victim. Not surprisingly, I only look in the mirror when I am putting on my makeup--and even then I have been known to go into the bedroom to apply in less harsh light.
There is no solution to this problem. And I will continue to scare myself a little bit whenever we are on road trips. But things could be much, much worse, of course. We COULD be on the verge of the zombie apocalypse. :)