I have loved being in my fifties. Sure, sometimes I look worse than ever before in my life. Sometimes I feel worse. But I became a mother again. I have cared more about what’s in my head than on my face. I’ve cheered women like Helen Mirren and Annette Bening who have had the chutzpah to keep their real faces throughout their fifties, thereby empowering us all. But that was then.
Helen had a “lower face and neck lift.” And now I want one. I want one, actually, that starts from my ankles and pulls everything up. Everything. Up. Several inches.
What happened? I am interrupting our regularly scheduled programming (How I Met Your Other And Became A Menopausal Mother), to tell you.
Yesterday, I was happily working on a book when my husband said excitedly, “Will you take my head shot? The light right now is PERFECT for a photo. Right now. We have to do it now!”
Head shots help him get work and that makes him happy, and I like it when he’s happy, because I like(d) him. So I stepped away from my own work to help him. Out of the goodness of my fifty-three-year-old giving heart.
After snapping some lovely shots of him looking very debonair and James Brolin-ish in the allegedly PERFECT LIGHT, he offered, “Let me take a couple shots of you.” How sweet. I would post the results of those shots in THE PERFECT LIGHT here, but pride will not allow.
Have you ever made Flubber? It’s really cool. Flubber stretches and pulls, and you can poke your fingers in it. It’s fun to play with. IF IT’S NOT YOUR FACE.
Not only have my cheeks and jawline turned into Flubber, a network of lines–some of them actually intersecting–have crisscrossed what used to look like skin, but now resembles a U.S. Geological Survey map of earthquake faults. In California. Also, my left eye is nearly completely covered by what I assume is my left eyelid (although I didn’t know eyelids could stretch that far).
“AUUGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! Is that what I look like? Is that what you see? Is it? Is it? IS IT???????” I screamed, pointing at the giant head displayed on the jumbo tron my spouse calls a computer.
“No, no, no!” he screamed back, obviously startled, but then he seemed confused. “Well, yeah. I mean…yeah. Why? You look good. Honey, don’t you ever look in the mirror?”
The lines on my forehead must have reconfigured to spell the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E, because he quickly backpedaled. “No, no, you have to remember that is a photograph.”
“So your head’s really big up there.”
“And my camera picks up every li–. Every detail.”
“Uh huh. So in real life, you can’t see that many details on my face?”
“And I do still have an upper lip? And a left eye?”
He hesitated a tad too long.
I started to sniffle. “I’m aging badly. When I’m sixty, our children will pretend they don’t know me.”
He put his arm around me for a snuggle. “Come on, they do that now.”
I smiled. A little bit.
“Listen,” he said, “you grow as a wife and mother and woman every day. You make menopause beautiful.” I smiled a little more. He draped an arm around my shoulders and walked with me back to my desk.
I nodded against him. “It was just such a shock.”
“I know.” He kissed my temple. ” I think the best thing to do is to make a list of all the reasons you always tell me you’re grateful for menopause and read it regularly. That will keep your mood calm.”
“That’s excellent advice.”
“Yes. And whatever else you do,” he murmured, helping me into my chair, “please don’t ever, ever let anyone take a picture of you in full daylight again.”
—Wendy…about to Google Sublative Rejuvenation.