You know how people say that Armor-All is crack for your cars upholstery? How, once you start using it, your car gets addicted, and if you stop, the upholstery, dashboard, etc. will crack and fall apart. Well, retinol is crack for a mature woman’s skin.(and by mature, I am speaking in chronological terms, of course, and not in terms of behavior, which is another thing entirely…and, I think, probably not a category I fall into. Oh-thank-god, says I, and oh-woe-is-me!)
I ran out of retinol about three weeks ago. Moisturizer too, and baby, I’m beginning to think that I’m starting to look my age. I don’t wanna. I really don’t wanna. I enjoy when people say in the midst of conversation “Oh no you are NOT fifty-four, there’s no way you can be!” I like it when twenty and thirty somethings hit on me, even though, bless their souls, I’m never gonna go there. I love it when younger sorts get angry and yell at me, like the 18 year old I had to fire recently (because she was a twat, and a lazy one at that) who spewed “Yeah, and here you are yelling at an eighteen year old, when you’re forty!” Silly girl, no, I wasn’t yelling at you, my voice was never raised. I was simply enumerating WHY I was firing you, deflecting your’ protestations about what a “great” job you were doing. And, by the way, thank you!
Yeah, I really don’t want to start looking my age…and at the rate those fine lines have begun to appear in just the past few days, I think I might end up looking OLDER than reality in a very short time.
Of course, where I’ve really been seeing those fine lines (wrinkles, who are we kidding) is in the tiny mirror on the door of the the big blue box I’ve been in lately. No, not the Tardis, don’t be silly, though don’t I wish! (I’ll take the David Tennant Doctor, or Christopher Eccleston even, rather than Matt Smith, …no, let’s stick with David Tennant, goofy and cute, just like I like ’em!) No, not the Tardis, the privy. One of the big, blue polyethylene privies parked outside the Cow Palace, where I’m working at The Dickens Christmas Fair. The big, blue polyethylene box with the translucent white polyethylene top that lets in the harshest of the suns light. Lovely place to look at yourself. Even lovelier place to put on your’ make-up, but the fair had started and the booth was full of customers, so I really had no choice. There I am looking in the tiny mirror under that harsh light, noticing just how much my skin is jonesing for it’s beloved retinol. Thank god I get paid on Tuesday. First stop…well, first stop is the mechanics, to get my brakes fixed, but the second stop? Why, the drug store of course, to feed my (skin’s) habit.
I finish my make-up, bright red lips to draw the eyes away from the little lines elsewhere on my face. Then off I go wandering through the fair, saying hi to people, all the while running those lines from the beginning of this post through my head. I think it’s a pretty good riff, funny and sly, so I try it on a group of friends:
“You know how they say Armor-All is crack for your’ dashboard? Well I think retinol is crack for your’ skin.”
It fell flat, this two-liner of mine, and, amazingly (to me at least) among gender lines. The guys all shook their heads knowingly at the Armor-All reference, but gave me blank stares at the mention of retinol (okay ladies, we’ve all dated/married/loved men our own age, don’t we WISH they knew what retinol was? Or even sunscreen or a broad brimmed hat, fer crying out loud. There is no reason for those deep lines on those handsome yet prematurely aged faces!) The women, however, didn’t get the joke because Armor-All was not in their purview, but started right up with rants of their own on skin care regimens. One woman, bless her heart, went on and on about that mineral make-up that gets brushed on like a powder. She said she’d been a goth, and when the fine lines appeared, she had to foreswear her thick white foundation because said foundation would gather in those lines. I commented that the reason she and I both had decent skin (hers was flawless!) was that she was a goth, and I was a punk, and those moon tans we got, along with the sun BLOCK feature of that thick white make-up, saved us from the sun-damage of many of our’ contemporaries. I also told her, however, that the mineral make-up I tried actually accentuated my fine lines. She then said that I should be using this primer that filled in the tiny lines before you brush on the minerals.
“Oh, like spackle for your’ skin.”
One of the guys perked right up and tried to rejoin the conversation. He knew what spackle was.
Then this woman with the lovely skin said the most endearing thing:
“I mean, I look at you, and I’m guessing you must be about my age. Your’ skin looks fine.”
She said she was thirty-six.
I proposed immediately!
Now, Prop. 8 has just begun to be considered in the Supreme Court, so, who knows if that marriage will ever be legal, and, it would be doomed anyway, because, let’s face it, women are okay, but I LOVE men (love the way they look, love the way they smell, love the way they taste, love the way they feel, love the way the very thought of them turns me into a digressing puddle of woman) She didn’t actually say yes, so I guess I’m saved from this doomed and loveless union, but, come on, I HAD to propose after that! I just had to. It’s so good to know that, despite my own observations in the tiny mirror under the glaring light in the wanna be plastic Tardis, I’m still seen by some to look a full eighteen years younger than my actual age. That makes me feel great. That makes me feel beautiful. That makes me feel like my best feature (my lovely skin) hasn’t deserted me yet.
I’m still making that second stop in the morning though…gotta feed that addiction!