I bought a high-powered magnifying mirror the other day. Just what I need, all the horrifying details of my face magnified 10,000 times.
I peered into the mirror to begin ripping out my eyebrows when,
WHOA! HOLY HELL! MY FACE IS OLD! AND UGLY! AND COVERED IN HAIR! I LOOK LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN A WRINKLED PRUNE AND CHEWBACCA!
And it’s not like we can get away with it. Oh, no. People tend to notice your face pretty much all the time. You can’t walk into a room backwards and say,
“Greetings, everyone! So thrilled I could make it to this committee meeting about committee meetings! [covering face with a manila folder] Please, ignore the hideousness that is now my face. Just stare at my ass from now on. Yes, my ass is all you’re gonna see. Talk right into the crack, it’s okay. Deal with it.”
Sometimes I think I’d like to play around with what society thinks is “normal” and “not clinically insane”. Like clothes. What we wear every day. Sure, I could wake up, stretch, put on a shirt…maybe some pants. Walk down the street. Go to work.
Orrr….I could wear a headband. Yeah, just a headband around my giant forehead all damned day. “Yeah, that’s right. I’m wearing a John McEnroe headband. On my fucking head. At work. Boom.” What, are they gonna fire me for that? Nowhere in my 10,000-page employee handbook does it state that I cannot wear a headband. Why not go really crackers and start wearing a snorkel and a cape to Target? Live it up, I say! Create new fashion trends! You’re old, who gives a shit! Be eccentric! Fight society’s stupid rules!
The other day I was checking out at the doctor’s office — sporting a hot pink welding helmet, natch — and the receptionist hands me a little card for the next appointment.
Then she says…”and you can call and schedule the mammogram when it’s convenient for you. ”
Hold up. I can call? Me? When in bloody hell is having a mammogram convenient for me? This chick thinks I am going to waltz out of the office, race home and
[picking up phone] “Hi! Yes! I need to have my tits squashed for about 45 minutes! Can you please sign me up right away! Yes yes, as soon as possible!” I mean, never ever give me a chance at putting off a mammogram.
I always complain about the mammogram to my husband. I’m 48 — so I’ve had a few. My boobs now? Just flaps. Sad flaps hanging down to my ankles. This is what those x-ray machines are doing to me. And my boobs always hurt now. I’ll be sitting in my office typing away and….ooh! Ow! What the? Shit! OW! OW! Is that a hot poker in my tit?!
Getting old means random excruciating pains that come out of nowhere then disappear. My husband will be lying on the couch watching MASH reruns.
Suddenly he’s cringing and crying, “Ah! Oh! What the? My nuts! My nut hurts! Kill me now! Oh, now it’s gone. Huh.”
Basically after 18 years of marriage this is what our foreplay amounts to:
“My nuts hurt!” “My tits hurt!” “MY NUT!” “MY TIT!”
My husband and I have lived together for 20 years. Twenty years of getting to know each other’s bodies and all the weird medical shit that can happen as you grow older and gradually fall apart. For fun, we constantly feel and examine our own bodies, looking for various lumps and bumps. Piece of advice for you newlyweds out there: When your significant other says to you, “Hey honey, feel this lump…” don’t feel it.
True, our bodies decay, but it’s slow enough to make it seem like an eternity. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, it do. Oh, it do.
Like my waist. Actually, I don’t a waist in the general sense of the term. What used to be my waist is buried under this bulbous, bloated blob that once upon a time was called “my abs”.
I used to have fat around the lower part, but now the upper abdomen has joined in on the fun. My daughter gave me a hug one day and said in that sweet Shirley Temple voice of hers: “You know what I love about you, Mommy? Your three humps. They’re just so squishy!” Then she pokes me in my three humps and runs off giggling.
Three humps: my boobs, my upper and lower abdomen. Of course, the great thing is my 3 humps are now morphing into one giant shitshow. You know how they label women’s body shapes fruits? You can be a pear or an apple?
I’m a fucking cantaloupe.
And the bonus part? My pants constantly slide down. My entire day is me ever-so-inconspicuously pulling up my goddamned pants. First I pick the wedge, then I hitch ’em up. Pick, hitch, pick, hitch. I’m like an rotund oompa loompa — all belly. I’ve tried belts, doesn’t work. It’s like putting a rubber band around a balloon.
And why do men care if we are a little chunky? A little fluffy? Why do we as women care? I wish I could’ve been there that day back in caveman times, when they’re all sitting around an open fire, picking bison out of their teeth with a sharp stick, and the man looks at the woman and says, “Hey, good bison. By the way….y’know…I don’t know how to say this but uh….you’re getting a little chunk in the trunk. Maybe you should try slimming down a bit. Yeah, then life would be sa-weet.”
Of course, along with our bodies, the senses all start to collectively go to shit too. I can’t see or hear much of anything anymore. I was in a deep sleep the other night, my mind dancing on the periphery of a dream, when I heard this faraway noise. Bang, bang, bang.
It was soft as first, but as I stirred awake it became louder. Bang! Bang! Bang! I wiped the cobwebs from my eyes and listened. Bang! Bang! Bang! Was that coming from outside? I got up, crept over to the open window and listened again. Bang! Bang! Bang! It sounded like someone was methodically and maniacally hitting something or someone with something! (Hey, I was still half-asleep, it was all my brain could muster.)
Clearly, our drunk neighbors were engaging in some kind of weird midnight squirrel-sacrificing ritual. It’s amazing the things that run through your mind as you’re standing half-naked in an open window:
OH MY GOD! WHAT IS HAPPENING? HOLY SHIT — I really really really think our neighbor is burying someone in his garden! shhh! There it is again! [Bang! bang! bang!] Maybe he’s hitting someone with a log? [Bang! bang! bang!] You’d think they’d be dead by now. I mean, if this guy’s going to be taking on a career as a serial killer, he really needs to up his game. [BANG BANG BANG] Maybe people are trapped inside a metal 4 by 4 container underground and their only hope is to clang on the walls with a piece of wood? What do I do? What do I do? Call 911? [This is when I began running around in circles, my boobs flapping all about]
I was thisclose to waking up my snoring husband when I turned and saw it: Ohhhh.
It was the bedroom door. [ahem] The bedroom door was softly thumping against the door frame because of the wind blowing through the open window. THE DOOR. No, it wasn’t a serial killer sacrificing small animals in my backyard but a door.
Getting old sucks all around. Especially when you’re getting old and so are your kids. I was tucking my 11-year-old daughter in bed the other night. We talked about the usual — Andi Mack, bullies at school, the fact we’re all gonna die one day — I gently kissed her forehead. I’m about to creep out the door when she sat up, looked me dead straight in the eyes and said, “Mommy? I wanna know all about genitals.”
My daughter is like me, straight-forward, no bullshit, just the facts, ma’am. The other night I sat down beside her with a heavy sigh. I held her close and gently stroked her downy hair. I whispered, “What ever happened to my baby girl? Why, just yesterday you were a sweet baby with a cute widdle binky, wearing widdle onesies and a widdle bow in your hair. You used to snuggle in my arms for hours while I rocked you to sleep. What happened to her? Where is that girl?”
My daughter deadpanned, “That girl died years ago.”
And that, my friends, is why I drink on occasion.
(Fine, I’m not really almost 50, but I’m almost 48. And 50 is just sitting there. Like some big dead end.)