Okay, I admit it, I'm as age-conscious as the next woman. I had a hard time when I grew a beard. I was a little put out when Social Security sent me a schedule of projected benefits. And I know when men look at me, they're no longer wondering if I'm single; they're wondering if I have a single daughter.
But I just saw a commercial for facial cream that really got my goat (oh . . . my . . . GOD. "Got my goat"? Aaagggghhh!) The cream was for the treatment of wrinkles. According to my handy Oxford, "treatment" means "something done in order to cure an illness or abnormality."
Gee, here's an interesting thought -- would someone like to tell George Clooney that there is now a treatment for those lines on his face which make him one of the more gorgeous and well-paid men alive? Oh, that's right -- silly me. He's a man. Those are "character lines."
Why is it, when they're right up there with gray hairs and spreading derrieres in terms of non-discriminatory signs of aging, that wrinkles are abnormal on women? If they're so bad, then why aren't there any men doing those cream commercials? Why do women perceive our aging selves so differently than our male counterparts?
Men's wrinkled faces are "craggy" and "rugged." Women's are "lined" and "worn." It makes it sound as though men get theirs through a lifetime of adventures, while ours come from being old and tired. Well, I'm not tired, darn it. And I've had an adventure or two in my life. Not in the recent past, perhaps, but I've had 'em. I'm not lying.
And I'm guilty myself. For instance, my friends get facials and peels and use expensive creams, and they all look great. So I had a facial a few months ago because I am, in fact, a sheep, and the young woman asked me how I cared for my face. "Well, not too much!" I laughed, nervously. "There're too many freckles, and my lips are pretty thin . . ."
She looked at me blankly for a moment, and then said, "No. I mean, what is your facial care regimen?"
"Oh, right," I replied. When I told her my, er, "regimen," she said my skin was in very good shape considering I've never done anything right. She then sold me $200 worth of cleansers, ointments and gels, guaranteed to return my skin to its glowing, youthful appearance.
I tried the stuff for weeks, and concluded there's only one true anti-wrinkle formula -- youth. And that's where it belongs. Wrinkles are a sign that we've lived some life. My friends don't look great because they don't have any wrinkles; they look great because they do have them.
They're trophies of our most intense moments -- the things that made us laugh, the things that made us cry. And, a little less dramatically, the things that made us squint. If I could go back, I'd probably wear my glasses more. I mean, there are laugh lines, and there are "I'm too vain to wear glasses" lines, you know what I'm saying?
Anyhoo, I just had another interesting thought (two in one day! Who says old age is scary?!) The big rage all these years is anything that's natural, 100 percent cotton, right? Diapers, undershirts, T-shirts, blue jeans -- whatever it is, it is simply not cool unless it's got that "100 percent cotton" tag.
And what does natural, 100 percent cotton do? That's right. It wrinkles. Ha!
Society still puts out the image of the sexy, beautiful supermodel as the ideal. Well, I've got an insight to share: those women are HALF OUR AGE. We're never going to look like that again, if we ever did. And there's nothing wrong with that. I look in the mirror now, see those telltale lines around the eyes and think, wow. I've got character.
Tons of it.
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