Well, for pity’s sake, I’m 56 years old, so there’s wrinklage. And, the wrinkles morph and move around my face. They are now attacking my neck! I’d run for my life, but I know they’d catch up with me, like Indians shooting arrows as I circle the wagons. The wagons are filled with my other midlife gal pals, and we’re under siege, shooting blanks back in defense.
When we grew up in the fifties and sixties, the doctors were still smoking cigarettes so they weren’t about to tell us to stay out of the sun. They just called those brown spots brown spots and moved on with their examinations. So, we’d leave their offices and go baste ourselves with baby oil and turn over when we were perfectly roasted, crackling and broiled on one side
I’m sufficiently paranoid now about our bad behavior back then to have regular appointments with my dermatologist. He’s got white hair and a soft voice and knows EVERYthing there is about skin. I’ve heard the word, “pre-cancerous” a time or two regarding some skin irregularity or other, and he’s frozen off lot’s of bad patches. All I can do now is to sweep up after my young self’s bad behavior.
The tan I have now is solely on my left arm. That’s what I call the ‘driver’s’ tan because, well, I have to drive, and the sun has to shine in my car window on that side, so that’s the arm that I extend in a wave or handshake because it just looks better. My legs, on the other hand, look as if I’m wearing white nurse stockings or that I have two flashlights at full power glowing from my hips! But you know what, I have so many spider veins down there now that I wear slacks to any event…kind of like Katherine Hepburn. NO one is going to see these legs except Sal or my next boyfriend, and especially then, I’ll use proper low lighting.
But, here’s the thing…the yung’ ns are still basting and roasting or sitting in the tanning caskets for way too long. That’s part of the definition of being a yung’ n, isn’t it though? Beauty Knows no pain…or future?!
While I’m confessing sins here, actually I have a CRUSH on my dermatologist. I like his white hair, soft voice and perfect skin. I bet he has perfect skin underneath that white coat…oops…excuse me, I digress. So, now Sal and I wear hats, walk in the shade and moisturize with SPF-113. By Gawd, we may not be pretty things, but we may live to be 120. Yikes!
MIrror mirror on the wall…
Oh, I so remember spending the days at the pool in Midland,Texas in the 50’s. The days were hot but the water was ice cold and the hamburger hut didn’t care about trans fats. Hell, they didn’t even know what ‘cholesterol’ meant.
And basting ourselves with baby oil wasn’t nearly enough. We put iodine in the baby oil so that our tans would turn a nice golden brown before the sun went down. Our skin was as smooth as dolphin hide, soft as a horse’s muzzle and supple as a baby’s buns. Now? Our skin looks like two-week-old zucchinis that got left in the sun and bleached. When we extend our arms to give directions the lower part of our upper arms hang down like elephant ears and our necks look like they are melting. Gee, I wonder why.
I just don’t understand this because I still forget how old I am. I still get a jolt when I see a handsome thirty five-year-old man walking down the street. I do my yoga and feel like I’m thirty and then I see myself in the mirror and realize that I look like Lyle Lovitt in tights. When I wake up in the mornings I’m great until I find out I slept with the pillow over my face and now I have a wrinkle down my cheek that lasts till my 4PM appointment with a twenty-five-year old facialist who tells me that I’ve lost some elasticity in my skin ‘but don’t’ worry that’s normal for someone your age’. I leave, depressed even though I’ve warned the little bitch that the mole on her neck will be cancerous some day and her lips make her look like a frog.
I walk out the door and see my reflection in the mirror. I have on no make-up and my hair is greased back from the oils that poor kid used around my hair line. I look like one of those flesh eaters in a zombie movie. Inevitably it is at a time like this when a really nice looking fifty eight-year-old Viet Nam vet walks by and tries not to make eye contact. That’s okay because in that moment I want to crawl into the caulking in the brick wall anyway.
Wrinkles and pouches and patches are just a reminder that our bodies are getting older with time because I swear our minds don’t. My mind doesn’t have wrinkles. It still thinks it’s thirty five and can’t figure out why the hands that do it’s bidding now look like they are pleated at the wrists.
I do my best and slather my skin with daily lotion, put Retinol on my face and neck and soak in baths of Carnation instant milk. Remember Joan Crawford in ‘What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?’ Or Betty Davis for that matter. I’m always afraid I’m on the road to that until I forget while I’m gardening or cooking or out with KK all sparkling for the evening. I look at her and I see her soul. Once someone asked her what it felt like to see that her sister had aged and wrinkled with time. Her response? “Oh, did she? I hadn’t noticed.”