I don’t care how good you think you look, how many days a week you work out, how clean you eat, how smoke-free you are, how moderately you drink, how much rest you get, how hydrated you stay, or how reasonable your stress levels – one day you will find yourself trying on bathing suits at Nordstrom’s and walking out with your therapist on the phone.
Blame the lighting.
Fluorescent lighting has shown to agitate, depress and turn violent aging rats, so you know its true of humans.
Of course, kids love bright lights.
They can see themselves and everyone else with crystal clarity, imperfections and all…which is the point since you can’t find any.
They aren’t conscious of harsh shadows, crows feet, sagging skin, thinning hair, or any of the other line items of attrition that aging ushers forth in the rest of us with a smirk.
Old people also like bright light because they don’t want to trip on something and break a hip. It also bears noting that because they’re old beyond anything lighting can further damage, vanity isn’t on the table. Now it’s just plain physical survival.
Additional note: Old people also tend to read things once known as newspapers, which don’t project, but rather absorb light.
For the rest of us, it’s an existential nightmare.
In my case, bright overhead lights can trigger ocular migraines, and sometimes, the things I cited about rats.
With lighting being such a big deal to people caught between youth and old age [the same demographic with all the money and power], why then do businesses not seem to take this into account?
Let’s take a look at the 5 worst offenders, “1” being the worst:
#1 Department Store dressing rooms.
#3 Coffee shops
#4 Office buildings
#5 Art galleries
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#1 Walk into most department store dressing rooms [Nordstrom’s being the worst], and every positive thought you ever had about the the way you look – all the trials and tribulations you endured to get there – are now in ruin.
When I enter the dressing rooms at Neiman Marcus in Houston, there are two sets of lights: One set in the front, and one behind. They are controlled by light switches next to the door. What I do is turn off the ones in front of me and use the back lights as fill-only. They are indirect, so what I experience is bounced light [off the back wall] which is plenty enough to fill in all the spaces without burning out my brain cells. The guys who bring clothing to me often flick the other switch back on when entering the dressing room as if something was wrong, but explain to them that something will be wrong if they touch it again, they get the idea.
See, their idea is to highlight the clothing, while the customer is far more interested in seeing how animate and inanimate objects work together.
If I ran a department store, the first thing I would take into consideration is how good I can get my customers to feel about themselves in my $1000 jackets.
#2 Have you ever wondered why restaurants are such dumb-asses about lighting? You have all these people spending a fortune on clothing and prep time to come to your establishment to look the best they possibly can, and you single-handedly destroy their evening with your crappy drugstore lighting. When I walk into ANY high-end restaurant, I have the same expectations I have of live theater. Great performances under beautiful light. Unfortunately, that table for 4 in the corner corner has a spotlight on one of the seats, which is why the last person to arrive gets it.
Restaurants should make flattering light a priority, but for whatever reason don’t. There are exceptions, but not many.
Note: I have offered my lighting advice to restauranteurs throughout Houston, but have yet to find a taker. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.
#3 Coffee shops are places people go to socialize and/or get work done outside of the house. But they’re greater purpose is providing a more civilized environment to hook up under the pretense of everything but. With this in mind, would it not best serve the financial objectives of these establishments to make them as comfortable [and flattering] as possible? Notice that, once again, most people tend to sit in the seats without the halogen over them like a death star.
#4 Yesterday I had the occasion to walk into the sales offices of my health club. What I noticed was that the entrance area was lit with florescence, but every individual was lit like a psychiatrist’s office: Warm, soothing, and serene enough to calm even the most anxiety-ridden patient. No wonder the place has over 7000 members.
#5 Art galleries must come to a place of acceptance that the art on display is secondary to how people feel about themselves when looking at it. I can’t count the number of galleries [many of the same ones I exhibit in], that place spot lights on both the art and the people viewing it. Why is this? Please tell me why we need to light the people in attendance?!? Is is laziness? Stupidity? Both? I don’t get it. Focus on the art, flatter the people and the sales will mount. Enough already.
Not everyone is like me.
Some people my age just don’t care what they look like.
I’ve been told this is true, but have yet to meet any of these people.