My face is falling. If I said this to you, in person, you'd probably laugh, like my best friend did, and tell me not to be ridiculous. Or maybe you'd say, "Oh Aunt Susan, you're so silly," like my 8-year-old niece did when she caught me Christmas Eve, trying to shove my sagging skin up into my hairline and hissing a desperate prayer to Santa to please, please leave surgical clips in my stocking!
(He didn't of course, he utterly ignored me. My sweet niece, on the other hand, quickly wrapped one of her Dora the Explorer headbands and gave it to me on Christmas Day saying, "This will pull it all back nice and tight!" Isn't she cute? Convincing, too. It didn't work, but that only means she's on her way to a major marketing career.)
Honestly though, I'm not being silly or ridiculous. I'm stating a fact. My face is falling. It's getting loose and flabby. "Lax," as the facelift web sites say, particularly around my mouth where little puffs of skin have started to appear. They look like pouches and they'd be perfect for storing nuts for the winter if I were a squirrel which, as of this writing, I'm not, unless the fuzzy blonde mustache I've also sprouted means I'm on my way to whiskers and if that's the case, then I really am going to cry.
And we all know that won't help, unless I'd like to store nuts in my eyelids, too.
Frankly, I feel lied to, tricked, baited and switched, double crossed and conned. Why? Because everyone knows it's the neck that goes first, so that's what I've been watching. My neck! I was told that when I hit 50, my neck would cut and run. That it would wrinkle and sag. That the skin would bulge and flow in folds like lava down to my collar bone. That one morning, I'd look in the mirror and discover a veritable Saint Bernard looking back. And then I'd have only one option: to break out the collection of silk scarves I've had in storage since the eighties and hope they hide the brandy barrel.
But it hasn't happened. My neck is fine. And I should know. I check it constantly. I've missed whole days and nights and special events because I was busy scrutinizing my neck. The once-in -a-lifetime meteor shower everyone else watched? Missed it because it was neck check night. All those incredible Black Friday sales? Skipped them because I was staking out some possible skin tags. I feel so stupid. I've been completely preoccupied with my neck, when the whole time, it was my face that's been up to no good.
Correction: down to no good. And no amount of pulling, smoothing, tugging or trying to tuck it behind my ears is doing a damn thing.
"You need to do what my Grandma did," my friend and favorite esthetician Charla suggests one day when I'm in to see her for a facial and can't stop pulling at my squirrel pouches so she can confirm that, yes, sadly, I am on the road to rodent and from there it's just a hop, skip and a sob before the great neck collapse and my arrival, crying and suffocating beneath immense folds of skin, at Saint Bernard-ville. "You need a mini tuck." Then she went on to describe something about incisions near my ears and a whole lot of sucking fat and pulling skin and repositioning tissue and honestly, I don't know what else because I had to stop listening and run to the ladies' room, where I stared in the salon's enormous mirror trying to decide what was making me sicker: my face, the thought of the only thing that might fix it or the fact that Charla's 88-year-old Grandma can kick my butt in the guts department.
Good God, my butt. Yet another body part I could bellyache about all day. But I won't. This is, after all, about my face. And how I may never again bend over to pick up stray socks, collect dog hair or dust the woodwork. Why? Because when I do, I can actually feel my skin plunging forward, slamming into the corners of my mouth, and forming what just might be the world's first face wattle.
Correction: the world's first human face wattle. Because it's not enough that I live on a 500-acre farm; I have to look like the livestock, too.
"You could try a clear, spray on adhesive," my honey suggests with a smirk when I make the mistake of telling him about my preoccupation with my face.
"Home Depot sells it," he continues, grinning. "You can lay back, have your face fall where you want it, and spray it on along your hairline. You just have to be careful. It's tacky for about three minutes until it dries, and you don't want feathers getting stuck in it."
Great. Then I'd really look like a rooster. Which is certainly better than a squirrel and a Saint Bernard, though not by much. But you know, I do kind of like the idea of an adhesive. Particularly if it works with the headband.