I marched into a very swanky department store and found myself a Personal Stylist.
She was glam. She was suave. She represented.
She took a good long look at me and went to work. I lounged on a cushy sofa while she brought loads of adorable clothes and spread them out on racks. Some I sent back and the rest I tried on in a spacious dressing room with large mirrors and great lighting. Amazing.
I purchased over $2000 dollars worth of fabulous outfits on the spot.
None of which I was planning to keep.
I just wanted to know what that felt like; finding clothes that are fabulous and bringing them home to hang in my closet.
I took photos of my new wardrobe so I would later be able to copy the process, but it turned out to be a waste of time.
While returning my treasures under the cover of ‘closing time’, I noticed my reflection in a mirrored pillar. This pillar could easily hold a human, I thought.
What if my eyes aren’t the only ones staring back?
It’s what happens in the dead of night, when I’m loitering in an empty store feeling guilty over a stealth mission.
The next horrified thought was: are there two way mirrors in the dressing rooms?
Did some crazy person sit on a stool behind the mirror and watch me suck in my stomach and struggle with a dress over my head and laugh at my Wonder Woman undies?
Did I get right up in her face, checking for salad in my teeth?
Even if (God forbid) there wasn’t a camera involved, did this person go home every night and laugh her butt off telling stories around the dinner table?
‘Cause I totally would.
What if this were true?
I wanted to ask the grim lady behind the register, but she was frowning harshly at little return tickets, so I gave her some space.
I, of course, would never believe her anyway.
Time to go ninja and look for some clues in the dressing rooms.
Safe: the mirror is attached to the wall’s surface like a picture. You can rap on it and it will sound dull because there is a solid wall behind it.
Sketch: the mirror is installed into the wall like a window. You can rap on it and it will sound hollow because there is an open space behind it.
Safe: the store has provided cheap overhead fluorescent light. You look lousy but at least no one else can tell.
Sketch: the store has provided lovely strong clear lighting. Your skin glows, your outfit is stunning, and the security guy has a great photo shoot.
Safe: put your finger up to the glass and touch it. There should be a small gap between your finger and the reflection of your finger.
Sketch: put your finger up to the glass and have it touch it’s reflection directly. This could be a trap.
Safe: step up to the mirror and press your face against it, cupping your hands around your eyes to block the light from your side. It should be dark in there.
Sketch: Oh, the heck with it. Sneak behind the racks of clothing discards and hit the circuit breaker. With all the lights out, activate your cell phone flashlight app and aim it at the mirror. If there’s a room back there, you should be able to see it.
Or blind yourself.
Which means “safe”.
An exception to all of the above would be a small hidden camera with a fisheye behind an installed two-way mirror.
You wouldn’t be able to detect it with any of the above methods.
If you’re in this type of high-level James Bond situation and you’re sure the bad guy is back there, take the num chucks you packed in your “utilitarian” purse and shatter the mirror.
Maybe you’ll have glass shards in your hair, but you will know who’s been watching you.
Unless you missed the security cameras on the ceiling.
Or the convex mirrors in the corners.
Or the cell phone you didn’t know was on.
Or maybe the door slats are reversed and everyone outside can look right in.
I may never shop again.