I Feel Bad About My Neck. When Nora Ephron, best known for her romantic comedy films like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, was approximately my age, she wrote a book with this title. For me, this sentiment has crept up as the skin under my neck has crept down. It walloped especially hard the other day when I made the mistake of using one of those magnifying mirrors.
Horror of horrors, those mirrors should all be smashed to smithereens, yes? I’ll take the risk on the bad luck.
Is it an angle thing? Tell me it’s an angle thing. I look in a normal mirror? I see me. Zoom? Me. iPhone selfies? Some much older gal, definitely not me!
I was at a gf’s condo in Toronto, getting ready to go out. I picked up that damned magnifying mirror to check for stray hairs – there’s always stray hairs where you don’t want them, but the place you want more hair, like on your head? It keeps falling and falling.
I gasped. I did not fling. I flipped it to the normal mirror side, felt a wee bit better. Flipped it back. Yikes! I prodded those pillowy hills and valleys – where the frig did they all come from?! – and sure enough, hairs of varying colours were lurking. White. Blonde. Black.
The gf who would own such a mirror is aging as meticulously as possible, armed with lotions and potions and gadgets galore. She has patiently explained to me about the retinol and collagen while I nod politely.
Looking in the mirror of horror I fear it may be too late for me. I should have been paying more attention, like her.
Her new thing? Infrared lights. You strap this gizmo onto your face – it looks cat-like – and it beams red lights that plump up your collagen, which is several layers under your skin. I think. Last time I visited, she showed me this electronic thing that I almost electrocuted myself on. You roll it up under your neck over and over, to tighten the skin, defy gravity.
Gravity is a powerful force.
The guys who wrote Younger Next Year – Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. – admit that, while their program of exercise, diet and maintaining emotional connections will help you age in the best of all possible ways? It won’t do a GD thing about the wattles.
wattle: noun “a fleshy wrinkled and often brightly colored fold of skin hanging from the neck or throat of certain birds (chickens or turkeys) or lizards”.
When English men refer to women as “birds” it sounds flattering. There’s nothing flattering about being an old bird. Or lizard, which is precisely the texture of the skin I’m in as I age.
Should I stop wearing necklaces? Surely people prefer to study actual foothills as opposed to those formed of epidermis? Certainly I should stop wearing my black Swarovski bracelet that I just learned doubled as a choker as a choker? More scarves? A new hair style? A bob might do the trick?
Surgery? As Cher sang, “If I could turn back time . . .” Cher can afford to turn back time.
“If a person isn’t going to do the retinol,” my gf told me, “the next best thing is to work out regularly.”
I’m back to Younger Next Year with a side of wattles.
“Whatever happened to growing old gracefully?” my first mother-in-law once said when we were on the topic of celebrities getting work done. She was trying to show me how to do this, but sadly the big C got her before she got old.
My sister, who’s nine years younger than me, so pretty much wattle-less, says, “Well, I’m not looking in a mirror all day long. I’m not seeing what I look like, other people are. They can deal with it.”
The hard part is the memory of what was. Youth. Youth truly is wasted on the young.
I have an image of what I look like and it is NOT what stares back at me in one of those horrifying magnifying mirrors!
Perhaps I’ll go back to practising headstands, a lot, like when I was nine-years-old? Maybe if I do them long enough each day? By the time I’m 100, the gravitational pull on my neck will be reversed.