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Face It

Nov
3
2006

I’ve never been one to lie about my age. I’m told this is because, thanks to heredity and nothing else, I’m usually mistaken for someone younger.
However, according to my experience with others like me, all that will be changing when I hit 50 in June. I’ve watched friends go through their 40s, smiling in the knowledge that fate had given them a reprieve from aging. Then comes their 50th birthday when overnight they go to bed looking like this and wake up to this.
Not me, though. Nope. I’m on top of this one.
Everything from the neck down may have taken me by surprise and I’ve pretty much gotten over the fact that I will spend the rest of my life looking like a potato. But I’ve got a plan for the whole facial droop thing.
(Side note for those of you approaching the age of 45: Do not stock up on clothing in your current waist size. I know you are blithely checking the scale each morning, patting yourself on the back for maintaining your weight. But don’t be fooled. When you turn 45 and one day, you will attempt to button the top button of the same pants you wore yesterday and they will not fit. If you try to diet your way back to your former waist size, you will lose weight only in your thumb and ear lobes. I’m just trying to help. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
The first part of my plan is the daily assessment or, as I like to think of it, damage control. To this end I had a mirror installed at exactly my height so I can stare myself down, at my age a supreme act of bravery.
The point of this is, most importantly, growth eradication. Oh come on, admit it women: we get hair on our faces too and, if we didn’t at 30 years of age, we sure do when we’re older. I’ve seen enough of my older Italian relatives to know that very quickly a strong breeze will ruffle our faces. So I am diligent in the Follicular Excrescence Elimination Program (FEEP).
Then I move on the parade of liquids. Cosmetic companies insist that you need to first swab your face with a “cooling tonic” costing $20 on up into the hundreds. In this household we call that witch hazel.
It is one of nature’s cruel jokes that, in spite of the fact that most of my face is supposed to be craving moisture, there is at any given time a centimeter square of it that thinks it’s still 1975. So for over 30 years I’m never without my tube of Clearasil.
Then I’m supposed to slap on one of those lotions promising younger looking skin in two weeks. I am still in awe of the fact that, without a second thought, I swath my skin with something called alpha hydroxy acid.
I repeat: ACID. “Face” – “Acid.” When did I stop using common sense? I suppose I figured at least I was doing something less stupid than injecting botulism an inch from my brain.
My hair gets a quick going-over, just to make sure the gray count is still under ten. My hair is sort of my secret weapon because just about everyone I know has some gray hair by my age, but they cover it up. Again, through no abilities of my own, I just happen to come from a family that doesn’t turn gray as readily. Oh, there are a few strands, but unless you look close you can’t tell it’s there, wherein my strategy lies. See, everyone assumes someone my age with no grays colors their hair to cover up. But if they see a few gray strands, they realize that most of my hair is still dark brown. Hey, look, I’ll take my few pitiful victories where I can get them.
Needless to say, the alpha hydroxy acid is about as far as I will go, mostly because I’m a big chicken and will never go under the knife. Nor do I have the patience to maintain a more elaborate program (which is also why I don’t wear contacts since then I’m putting plastic on my eyeball. . . having already put acid on my face). Anyway, I’m not really concerned about looking younger so much as not scaring small children on the street.
And Dirtman and I have gotten to the point that we no longer see each other on those terms. Oh, we recognize when one or both of us make an effort in the grooming department. It’s just that we aren’t “pretty” or “handsome” to each other so much as we look like us and there is a certain comfort in that.
Besides, I strongly suspect as more and more age-sensitive Baby Boomers enter the geriatric stage, there will be more “cooling tonics” for hundreds of dollars that don’t do much more than a dollar bottle of witch hazel.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 11:39 AM | Permalink

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