VANITY IS A BIG ROSETTE for best in class, awarded to oneself, and worn prominently at all times. When you take a long hard look at yourself, love everything you see, and can’t wait to look again, that’s vanity.
Vain people are generally very happy because they are in the throes of a passionate love affair with somebody who returns their affection totally and utterly. The good thing about being in love with yourself is that it’s not difficult to be faithful. In fact, for a vain person, falling in love with someone else is almost an act of betrayal. Fortunately, vain people don’t tend to fall in love with other people; they end up wedded to people who share their own extremely high opinion of themselves.
Mirrors are where the vain make love. Normal people view mirrors the same way cars view the NZTA, in that if you’re roadworthy, it’s a bonus. Vain people look forward to half-an-hour in front of the mirror in the same way that other people look forward to half-an-hour of good TV. Their favourite mirror is the three-part one which, when arranged carefully, can give you a whole dance troupe of gorgeous yous.
To the terminally vain, the world is one giant reflective surface, and the whole day can be spent in self-worship in front of showroom windows, oven doors and chrome coffee machines. Some people wear glasses, some people don’t. In between are vain people who take off their glasses. It must be very frustrating for these people in front of a mirror when they have to choose between seeing themselves in glasses or not seeing themselves without.
Vanity publishing is a cottage industry that publishes manuscripts from people who think they’re writers but haven’t yet convinced any commissioning editors. Early successes in this genre were the Bible and the Road Code.
Old age hits the vain harder than other people. When you’re at the high point of evolution, it’s difficult to accept that you might deteriorate and even die. Monuments are, therefore, very important to the vain in their bid for immortality. These range from an injection moulded concrete lion on the front gate to an injection moulded concrete smile on the front of your face.
Taking yourself too seriously is mental vanity. Academics are the worst for this, which is why they often have the bitterest arguments over the smallest things. Lectures are mirrors for academics; instead of gazing at themselves, they get to hear the sound of their own voice, which gives a similar warm feeling. Being able to laugh at yourself is the main guard against vanity. And you also look fantastic when you laugh.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.