I've noticed in the last month or two that there's something weird going on with my neck. Some of it is because I have gained some weight in the last year but the bulk of it is because I am, as they say, fifty.
I usually handle it by only looking at the mirror square on with my chin held just so, but occasionally I'll see a recent photo of myself and, uh, kind of freak out. It's becoming apparent I have my grandmother's neck, and not the skinny grandma, either. It's Mema's neck, the same grandma whose very sturdy legs I inherited. Let's just say cankles are the least of my problems and leave it at that.
I am having mixed feelings about these very explicit reminders of my age because, as you know, I have mixed feelings about everything. I wouldn't know a clear-cut feeling if it bit me on my ample dimpled ass.
On the one hand, I loved my Mema but I don't want to see her neck when I look at my profile! I don't feel old enough to have old lady wattles, to have to clear out a drawer to make room for pearl chokers, scarves, and turtlenecks. Not that Mema would have bothered with any of that. She was who she was, and that was that.
On the other hand, I don't really want to have it fixed, IYKWIM. I've been gradually accumulating data since I first realized my neck skin was sliding south a few years back, and even though I would love to have my old jawline back, there is really only one way to get it, and that includes SURGERY and the better part of my annual income. Sorry, I am cheaper than I am vain.
And then there's the dilemma that results from having 'work done'. Is it better to suffer the slings and arrows of age and try to do it as gracefully as you can, Mema's neck included, or to look like you were sculpted out of Fimo?
I have to say, as much as I dread the mirror these days, I keep ending up voting for the former. Even in my relatively un-plasticized corner of the world, I see women who obviously have had just enough Botox to make their normal expressions creepy. Sure, they look great in the mirror and in photographs, but get them out in the real world and they look like they are either tranquilized or paralyzed.
(BTW, WTF is up with the lips, and the lip-plumping crap they're selling on the TV? Did I miss the memo about the desirability of the candy wax lips effect? Was it attached to the other memo I missed about waxing one's lady parts? Apparently somewhere along the way I fell completely out of spec and am now a thin-lipped, hairy freak of nature.)
While at the dermatologist last week waiting for my annual skin check, I almost couldn't stop myself from staring at the receptionist. Long, straight, blond hair; taut, featureless skin; large, turgid, pink lips, and an expression that revealed absolutely nothing. I'm sure she turns heads, but all I could think of was a blow-up doll. I don't think it's just me, either. Take a look at this slide show from a well-regarded plastic surgeon, and see who tends to garner most of his favorable comments. It ain't the flawless ones. And he's a plastic surgeon!
Oh, I do get it, believe me. I've reached the age where I so get it. A glance at the mirror at the wrong angle, the accompanying lurch of the stomach, and the 'what ifs' begin again. Just a little Botox to forestall the permanent frown lines between my eyebrows, would that be so bad? It sure would be nice to do something about my baby jowls, and then there are my eyelids that fell overnight when I reached thirty-five... and I am not even joking. They really did.
But I can't. I just can't. Firstly I can't afford it, and secondly, I feel there's something vitally important to be learned by aging, even though I don't seem to be doing a good job of growing up.
Having said that, here's where I admit to accepting the Retin A prescription the dermatologist offered, and I confess to a few laser treatments in my past, to get rid of some of the redness from the rosacea I've enjoyed for twenty years. I can't say I'd turn down other topical treatments if they would help, either. I think I have decided to just say no to the injections and incisions.
But check back in a few years when my neck really lets loose. We'll see how virtuous I am when I turn my head and it takes my neck five seconds to stop wiggling.