Like the Joker, my lockdown face has got me laughing at myself in the mirror

Coco Khan
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Allstar/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Allstar/Alamy

This week, my “Batman’s Joker in the mirror” moment arrived – that is, the point where I start laughing maniacally at my own demented appearance, like Gotham’s favourite bad guy.

It’s been a while since my last Joker-mirror moment. My first was as a teen. I refused to wear my so-obviously-NHS specs (if only I’d known then that I could later sell them for a fortune to Depop customers looking to get the “skint y2k” look), overwhelmed by the crisp details of the world they showed me: the dazzling shape of the individual leaves, not just the smudged outline of the tree – and me, in full clarity, now with a unibrow and moustache. “Is this how everyone sees me?” I cackled. I liked life better when it was a blur.

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There were more Joker-mirror moments after that, spurred on by social media and cameraphones, each provoking a frenzy of preening, plucking, smoothing and shame. (I will never forget seeing a picture of me at a rave, glass-eyed and melty-faced like Munch’s The Scream.)

But this time, it was different. I saw me: lips cracked on a face parched by radiators; knotted hair piled high (a nest for my crazy lockdown dreams to live in); fleece Disney pyjamas worn at 11am, 3pm, 6pm, and under a coat to the shops like a big baby stockpiling oatcakes. But the usual urge to splurge on beauty products did not come; nor was I driven to scrub away the sin of unprettiness like Lady Macbeth. Could this be self-acceptance – the holy grail of adulthood? Or the luxury of laziness, knowing there is no real threat of seeing someone in the flesh?

It’s too early to say. If I start to fret about how others see me, I will try to remember the words of the great villain himself: “Coco, why so serious?”