lipstick on the mirrorare you sitting comfortably?...

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A secondary school in the USA was fighting a losing battle with its teenage girls.  All were extremely focused on their appearance, as most teenage girls are. One consequence of this was that, at every break time, girls would go into the restroom  areas and check their make up and lipstick. This had developed into ‘testing their pout’ by pressing their made up lips against the restroom mirrors.

The result, as you can imagine, became a nightmare for the caretaker to clean.  The caretaker protested to the Head, who explained the problem to the girls.  But the problem continued….so the Head sat down to think about it.

Finally, she called all the girls to the largest restroom, and once more exhorted the girls to stop themirror kissing behaviour…..but now followed it up with a demonstration of how difficult it was to clean the mirrors.   The Head turned to Joe, the caretaker:

“OK Joe, show them what you have to do.”

The girls were bored by now, but Joe soon grabbed their attention.  He took the squeegee mop to the toilet, dipped it in the toilet bowl, squeezed it  out, and rubbed down the mirrors with the lipstick on.  The girls’ faces and squeals of disgust were a sight and sound to behold.  There was no more lipstick on the mirror….


Sometimes – most times? – psychology works better than instruction.

What the Head realised was that the girls needed a convincing motive to change their behaviour; she then had to put herself in her girls’ shoes – what would matter to them, what would make them stop? She then realised, as is often the case, that someone’s strength is often their vulnerability. The girls were obsessed with self-image. Clearly this  was demonstrated through their appearance and grooming, but it was also true of the picky way they ate food, and disliked dirt. She could imagine their reactions to a mirror cleaned from the toilet bowl…and she was right.

Of course, it is very, very unlikely that this procedure was used to actually clean the mirrors. But a thought, once installed, is not easy to dislodge, and who knows: if the mirror kissing continued, Joe knew how to extract his revenge….!

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Live Poll - Mitsubishi - 06/21 - Lift Off


We know it’s a faff
And a bit of a pain;
But it really helps us
Stay on top of our game…

We know it’s a faff
And a bit of a pain;
But it really helps us
Stay on top of our game…