When I see a photo of myself I immediately check for my flaws. It starts with the expression, am I smiling? Or am I in the middle of saying something, thus appearing like one of those poor crazy people we cross the street to avoid. Are my hands & arms placed in such a way that they don't appear disproportionately large? How is my waist? Turned to look thin and delicate or am I inhaling and buddah belly? But really, is there anything about me that is delicate? I move down to the trouble zone: hips, rear & thighs? Can we crop the shot to eliminate the legs? No, then how about the ankles? I realized, after a photo of me from a beach BBQ last summer that I am NOT to wear flats with a skirt. I MUST have some sort of heel to give my ankles a good form.
These checks have been standard for 35 years... well, maybe not 34. I don't think I started turning the critical eye until I was about 12. So 23 years. Now, suddenly, I've been spotting something I haven't had to look for before: Wrinkles. The weren't there before, I swear it! Recently, like in the last 2 months, they have appeared. With a smile I've got a crease explosion coming out from the corners of my eyes. Even without smiling, there is a tightness in my face that seems to say, one wrong expression and I'm crinkling up like crumpled sheet of paper.
The wrinkles, the "I don't think I'm ever going to have legs to rival Daisy Duke" realization and I'm slidding like a contestant in Wipe Out into the deep dark pool of middle age. They talk about this and there are endless Hallmark cards mocking the fact in Walgreens. Yet, really why am I surprised that it might happen to me. I blinked and I was cast out from my shiny 20-something years and they've put me up against the MILF wall.
What can I do? Botox - I hate to say it is tempting, hell all forms of plastic surgery now seem acceptable and worthwhile. Not the other week my friend with a 6 month old said, "Yep, three years and I'm getting a boob job". That might be overkill before I have children.
Maybe I should just start out with a facial? Get some good face cream. Do eye creams really work? A recent article in the New Yorker suggested that nothing really works for wrinkles. Some treatments do some good for a short period of time... but really, I'm beginning to believe that the best way to deal is to two things. First - get into a job where one's looks do not impact one's employ-ability or income stream. Next, find a mate who won't trade you in when the smile lines persist after the smile is gone.