The Rear View Mirror

Thoughts from Duncan Christie-Miller

Did you ever over the last few weeks spend a long time examining your teeth in the bathroom mirror? And then spend even longer debating whether to have teeth whitening? Apparently, there has been a vast increase in teeth whitening enquiries. You included?

But it is not the teeth that are of real interest. It is all the rest of you that was on display. Yes – you – the one in the mirror. Perhaps you remember those distorting mirrors on the pier – you were either fat, thin, distorted or back to front – even upside down. It certainly was not the real image.

And now as you pull your lips back for a better view of your gnashers, what do you really see? Reality or fake? The now you or the younger you?

The younger you – the one who occupied your body in the ‘good old days’ – was that true, were they really that good?

Let’s see what our lives were like in the 1960s and 70s :

You still used a pen and a silver propelling pencil was a good Christmas present

You could go to the cinema and not have a 3 inch wedge of popcorn on your shoes when you left

You used your pen to write thank you letters and always got over the page

Morecombe & Wise were really funny. Noone understood The Prisoner and that funny bouncing ball but we liked the Mini Moke.

By 1970 we were no longer restricted to £25 each of travelling money You NEVER drank the water in France

You complained about that ridiculous low level lavatory in your French hotel room en route to Provence.

Garlic was still rather exotic and thyme was on the telly in Porridge

Men just nodded after scoring the winning try

You stood up when the National Anthem was played before the Queen’s Speech

Newspapers gave you inky fingers. You did not know anyone who actually read the News of the World

You went to church because you wanted to do so and not just to get your children into the local C of E Primary School

Golfers used Dunlop 65 balls which spilt open after three shots. And they were smaller than the American ball (which of course was easier to hit)

You thought seat belts were a sign of weakness

Noone drove an automatic car – and you secretly admired string back gloves but never bought a pair, even though you saw them advertised in car magazines you read in the barber’s shop

If you had a shower it was like standing under a very weak dribble – except at the RAC in Pall Mall where they hammered you into the floor

Hair extensions, artificial eyelashes and those rubber toe dividers were unknown

You wore an Alice Band and liked it as it made your hair neat and tidy – you only washed it once every two weeks. But told that creepy boyfriend that you washed it 4 times a week.

Inter-Railing was wonderful – £85 for the whole of Europe with you sleeping sitting up and washing with a flannel in those lavatories with a foot pump. And Paulo the waiter in Barcelona was very attentive. Wonder what happened to him?

You did not need to diet as you remembered food rationing and were sensible.

Thickies at school used the Public Schools’ Appointment Bureau to get a job and in due course became multi-millionaires through selling paint or carpets.

Noone had white teeth – despite using tooth powder which contained volcanic grit or something similar probably swept up off the newly opened M1.

Somethings never change however – all Americans had loud voices and were amazed that Windsor Castle had been built so close to Heathrow Airport. You could not get a good cup of tea in America. Your Aunt thought a pizza was a square in Rome. Retired Squadron Leaders wrote to the Daily Telegraph complaining about the RAF only having 120 operational Squadrons.

So, as you stand in front of the mirror and wipe away the condensation with the back of your hand – it is never that good but it will do – and again examine your teeth – just think: the good old days?

I wonder.

Duncan Christie-Miller | All rights reserved © October 2020