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Officially on the Road to Old, Part 2
Aug 11th, 2010 by Christina

Since my last post on this topic, I’ve accumulated more proof that getting older and becoming curmudgeonly/peculiar are inextricably linked (but maybe the self-awareness is somewhat mitigating?) The latest evidence:

  • I’m inclined to brag about my cholesterol levels. I had to stop myself from sharing the blood-test results from my latest physical with everyone in my office. Part of this I chalk up to the fact that I write about chronic medical conditions for a living and have become acutely aware of how precarious it all is. I didn’t make a formal announcement, but I’m considering putting up a sign in my cubicle: HDL: 87  LDL: 82  Triglycerides: 53.
  • It’s time for trendiness and I to part ways. The first thing to go is the royal-blue toenail polish (with a daisy decal on the big toe) that I misguidedly chose for my last pedicure. Funky colors work on my teenage daughter, but do not flatter my ropey size 9 1/2,  46-year-old feet. Next time I’ll stick with a nice neutral tone and no designs.
  • I’m aghast at the sexualization of absolutely everything. My daughter came home with a shopping bag from Abercrombie & Fitch, which features a toned male torso. My first thought was: “I say, young man! Put on a shirt for goodness sake.” Yesterday I was at Sephora (clearly a nickname for Sodom and Gomorrah). Among the store’s many demonic offerings is a line of makeup called The Orgasm Collection. I really thought I was hallucinating when I saw this. While the O word has been splashed across the cover of women’s magazines for years, I can’t believe it’s now an acceptable moniker for shades of lip gloss and nail polish. (What happened to “Revlon Red” and “Wine with Everything?” Weren’t those racy enough?). And to think that in my day, it was mortifying to bring a box of Stayfree mini-pads to the cashier!
  • I know I’m right and that the world IS going to hell in a hand basket (see photo).
  • I had a dream that I was shaving my face.

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Who’s That Girl?
May 27th, 2010 by Christina

I try to steer clear of whining about the physical decline inherent in midlife, because it’s so cliche.

Me, formerly flawless and well-lit.

But I recently experienced a moment of reckoning in a fitting room at Lord & Taylor, where I was all alone with fluorescent lighting and a three-way mirror. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. My 46-year-old self stared back at me in all directions. Who knew I had a little pouchy chin thing, plus the beginnings of the weirdness that happens to one’s neck–not to mention less-than-taut upper arms? Not me. Until then.

I walked out of L&T dazed and confused, and without having purchased anything. (I might have bought something had the lighting been less brutal. Seriously–has no one done market research and found that women will buy things if the dressing rooms are designed to flatter, not to appall??)

In my disoriented, highly vulnerable state, I wandered into one of the three Sephora stores near my office. (There seems to be a 1:1 ratio of Sephora to Starbucks stores lately.)

I’ve worn makeup since I was in junior high school, back when my skin was a creamy, smooth blank slate, open to subtle enhancement via a bottle of Maybelline Kissing Potion roll-on lip gloss and a streak of eyeliner inside the lower lids (remember that technique, gals my age?) A spritz of Love’s Baby Soft and I was good to go.

Now, at my advanced age, enhancement is the least of it. Correction is what it’s about, and Sephora is all over that, with displays devoted to wrinkle fillers, concealers, and the newest word in corrective makeup: Primers. These are all designed to bring your face back to a flaw-free baseline so that it can receive the more frivolous embellishments like eyeshadow and lipstick.

It seemed exciting at first, to think I could erase all my facial flaws simply by purchasing a few tubes and jars, but I soon experienced what I call the orange-juice dilemma, which goes like this: When I was a girl there was one kind of orange juice. From concentrate, period. Now, you can choose from OJ with some pulp, no pulp, a little pulp, tons of pulp, with calcium, without acid, with other kinds of juices, etc. Should you want no pulp, yet tons of calcium, or a little pulp with a soupcon of pineapple juice, you are screwed. It is truly panic-inducing (or is it just me?) and I often find it easier to go without OJ than be forced to prioritize like that.

With the face-fixers, it’s the same thing. Sure, you can have a perfect face, if you can decide which flaw to prioritize. Wrinkles? Redness? Age spots? Crepey eyelids? Dark circles? Shrinking lips? Acne scars? Oily skin? Dry skin? No skin? No one product seems to do it all, yet the time and money commitment involved in covering even a few bases seems mind-boggling.

I decided to start small, with a concealer that has two components. The first one “neutralizes” discoloration and the second layer does, um… something else. I forgot what, exactly, but I know it works because it cost $28, not including the special brush, which was only half that price.

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