The Tide Has Turned In My House
The other day, I saw Charlie at the mirror in the bathroom, checking out the hair in his ears and nose. “Time to get out the router rooter, dear,” I says.
“Very funny!” he replies. Then I hear him mutter under his breath, “If I could only get it to grow like this on my head.”
Isn’t aging wonderful?
Nowadays, when I take a nap and my face gets a couple of creases in it from the pillow, you wouldn’t believe how long it takes for them creases to go away. We’re talking hours. The tide has turned, and no amount of collagen moisturizer is capable of putting that baby bounce back into my skin.
Or, I’ll be setting the table for dinner when I notice that while I wasn’t paying attention, someone attached my mother’s hands to my arms. Then, I start looking at my arms and see that creepiness on the inside of my elbow. So, I go into the bathroom and check the outside of my elbow. That’s still OK. Not too saggy. But while I’m in there, I look at myself head-on in the mirror, and spend a few minutes pulling the skin taut on my neck, which makes me look ten years younger and ten pounds thinner. Then, the potatoes boil over, and bring me back to reality.
I’m not saying I do this all the time or anything. It’s just that every once in a while, I really see myself. Not like how I was or how I want to be, but as I am at this moment, and it brings me up short.
I notice these changes most in the fall when I close the windows and turn on the heat. The skin on my face and hands start feeling so tight, which is weird, because they don’t look tight. Even when I switch to my winter facial moisturizer (a cream, not a lotion), I just don’t have that same glow as I do during the summer. I bring out the heavy duty hand and foot moisturizer. I’m hoping to avoid cracks on my heels and around my fingernails which are wicked painful, like a paper cut. It’s labor intensive, this greasing myself up every morning and before I got to bed, but I can’t just stand by and do nothing.
I’m not up for Botox or plastic surgery, though. I mean, who has money for that? Besides, “elective surgery” is an oxymoron in my book. And I think these celebrities with no laugh lines, puffy lips, and firms necks look kind of unnatural. Some of them don’t even resemble themselves anymore. Faye Dunaway? Need I say more?
I like my laugh lines and the creases around my eyes. It’s the turkey gobbler neck I could do without. Not to mention these extra ten or twenty pounds (depending on where I am in my weight flux). But it’s natural to feel like this, right? I’m just grateful to be healthy, relatively fit, and I thank god every day for make-up and Patsy down to Hair Affair.
Still, it’s nice to know us women aren’t the only ones who spend time thinking about how we’re aging. Men do it do. Yet I’m always surprised when Charlie seems concerned about it. I don’t think of him as being that aware of his looks, but I guess he is.
Like when we’re talking about a celebrity or politician, or someone we just met at a party, and Charlie gets all wistful and says, “He sure has a good head of hair.”
I think I even caught him looking in the mirror, staring at his earlobes to see if they’re any bigger.
Last night, Charlie and me are in the den, watching the tube. We’re sitting in our Barcalounger love seat. It’s in the semi-reclining position, so our feet are raised. Charlie has no socks on, and I notice he has a funny look of concentration on his face.
“What’s a matter, dear,” I says. “You got gas?”
“No,” he sighs. “I was contemplating my toes. I’m starting to get old man feet. See that? My toenails are getting a little yellowy. And the nails on my big toes are beginning to tent up.”
“Well, Charlie, if it’ll make you feel any better, I’ll show you my bunion.”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here.)