Beauty commercials for fine lines, crow’s feet, age spots, and Botox always seemed to be aimed at those grandmotherly types with blue hair and Coke bottle eye glass lenses.
Acid peels? Not for me. Cosmetic surgery? Don’t put me under the knife in the name of beauty. Thoughts like these became mantra. That is, until this morning.
While applying makeup in the Danger Zone, that ultra- close space between yourself and the mirror where there are no secrets, it became apparent.
My lashes, once full and curly, were no longer. My eyebrows, which once practically needed a machete to keep tame, were thinner, and in some spots, nearly bare.
When did this happen?
Running my hands through my hair in frustration, I noticed some unwelcome visitors had taken up residence. The grey intruders, which have until recently, kept their pace to a slow march, seemed to have been given orders to charge ahead throughout my scalp and temples.
Turning away from the mirror in disgust, I began the daily application of body lotion. Grabbing one of the many bottles that grace every dresser, window ledge, and table in the bedroom, I slathered the lotion on, hoping to erase the “seven signs of aging.” That’s when I received another lovely surprise; purplish lines crawling up my legs like vines of ivy on the edifice of an old academic building. Spider veins. I thought only grandmothers got those things.
As I flung the bottle of lotion onto the bed, trying to forget about my deteriorating body, I was hit with another sign of my advancing age. The sticky note sitting on the bedside table---a reminder. Grocery shopping in A.M. Notes to self, such as these, have become more necessary as my mind, once sharp as my old stiletto heels, now allows information to slip, unwittingly from my consciousness. A sigh escaped my lips, as memories of youth flooded in.
Sleeping late. Partying with friends at clubs. Staying up all night.
Such a stark contrast to my bed at nine- up at five- work- family- food shopping- laundry- cleaning-cooking-bills schedule of adulthood.
Begrudgingly, I made the trip to the supermarket, however, still reeling from my earlier depressing self-discoveries, I found myself gravitating toward the beauty aisle. Facial cleansers. Lotions. Depilatories. Hair accessories. Nail polish. They all whispered promises of youthful beauty and captivated admirers. It was seducing and intoxicating. Unable to help myself, I threw a tube of fine line reducer into the cart and moved onto the real items on my shopping list.
At the checkout line, I unloaded the weekly provisions for my family of six, smiling at my husband’s anti-aging remedy; a 12-pack of beer.
“I.D., please,” the pubescent check-out boy said. Looking down at my wedding ring and the assortment of toddler foods and snacks on the conveyor belt, I chuckled. Doesn’t he realize how far removed from “underage” I am? Surely the fluorescent lighting in the store is masking the budding crow’s feet at the corners of my eyes.
I handed him my license and waited.
Did this kid fail math or something? I’m thirty-five, buddy.
He looked up at me and then back at my license. Twice.
“I cut my hair,” I offered, having remembered that my license picture depicts a younger woman with long curly brown hair and golden highlights.
“No, that’s not it. It’s just that you look a lot younger than this says,” he replied, handing the license back to me with an eyebrow raise.
“Oh,” I chuckled. My cheeks flushed.
We packed the groceries in my environmentally friendly bags and he handed me the receipt.
“Thank you,” he said.
“No,” I said, holding his gaze. “Thank you.”
In the car, I gave the reflection in the rear view mirror a wink.
I think it might be time to dig out those stilettos.