Fountain of Youth?By Maureen Hardegree
In the past year or so, the beauty industry has noticed that we Baby Boomer women have aged, and since we have deep pocket books, they have come out with new products to tempt us and new spokesmodels to show us the way to ageless beauty, women like Susan Sarandon and Christie Brinkley whom we can all agree are maturing beautifully. We even warrant our own special line of teeth bleaching products to rid ourselves of the stains that make us look older. I fully admit to owning a box of those strips. I use them; they work. Try as I might to ignore the message as I cart my way through Wal-Mart to purchase essentials like Lactaid and my daughter's Smucker’s sandwiches, I can’t resist the cosmetics aisle.
Cover Girl’s Advanced Radiance, Maybelline’s Age Rewind, Revlon’s Age Defying and Vital Radiance lines promise to rejuvenate and renew my skin, rewind and defy time with make-up, some of which, by the way, costs twice as much as similar foundation for the twenty-something set (Thank you very much). Must be all those “special” moisturizers and peptide complexes that will firm our facial skin. The cynic in me suspects the price has more to do with the fact that we Boomers can and will pay higher prices for anything that promises to bring back a dewy glow to our skin.
Some women go beyond make-up and hair dye and try to turn back time with plastic surgery, botox and collagen injections. Oh, I’ve thought about it. I’m particularly intrigued by this pulley system that lifts the face. Some women are also getting their hands and feet done to remove signs of aging. In a panic, I pinch the skin on my hands. It’s still elastic, and the veins aren’t prominent. I look at my sandled feet. Not beautiful, but I can live with them. In general, I don’t rate some procedures much higher on the scale than the anti-aging make-up. I’ve seen quite a few women walking around with unnaturally high eyebrows and botoxed foreheads that don’t crease or show expression, transforming their faces into masks, which disturbs me, perhaps more than breast enhancements gone bad. You know what I mean, the implants that protrude from just below a woman’s neck and are so big they look like they are going to rupture the skin.
Perhaps even more upsetting than overly enhanced breasts, if something can be, is labiaplasty. Yes, private part surgery. I’m not talking about the women who need reconstruction after having a ten pound baby tear their perineum all the way to their rectum; I’m talking about women who are having the surgery for cosmetic purposes only. Can THAT really make you look younger? Although I admit to comparing my chest to other women’s chests and bemoaning what gravity has done to my once perky breasts, I can honestly say I never contemplated how my private parts look compared to other women’s private parts. Nor have I ever bemoaned the shape of my labia or contemplated how time has taken its toll on that part of my body. Come to think of it, I have never heard another middle-aged woman say, “if only my labia were bigger, smaller, lighter, darker, perkier or rose-scented, Bill wouldn’t have left me for Angela.” Angsting over your labia gives the expression “contemplating your navel” some serious competition. Okay, that form of plastic surgery is definitely not on my consideration list.
So how can I look and feel younger without resorting to plastic surgery? Notice I’m not giving up on the make-up or the teeth bleaching strips. The secret is not what I want to hear. There is no magic pill to swallow or spring in the middle of Florida to sip. It’s diet and exercise, dadblame it! I happened to catch Oprah the other day and discovered that uniformed food choices not only make us fat, but they also age us. Yes, a steady diet of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn syrup, sugar, and enriched flour makes our bodies older. And if you don’t think these things are part of your diet, take a gander at the ingredients listed on the foods in your refrigerator or pantry. Besides removing the quad squad of artery-aging foods and drinking more water, Oprah’s doctor friends also suggest at least a half an hour of exercise a day. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Okay, so many of us have bought our anti-aging creams and make-ups guaranteed to turn back time. We’ve cleaned out our kitchens and are walking every day. Some of us have had our lips plumped with a little collagen and may be contemplating a breast lift—or at least a good expensive bra that makes us look like we’ve had the surgery. Isn’t there something more we can do?
And then it hits me. Perhaps the complete answer isn’t only in how we choose to spend the money in our wallets or in what we eat and whether we exercise. Perhaps the true fountain of youth is only a matter of manipulating numbers.
I’m not talking about the way many of us have manipulated our age in the past. I’m saying LIE that you’re TEN YEARS OLDER.
Ponder the possibilities. A lady in her early forties with an extra fifteen pounds on her frame and a dependence on anti-aging cream gains little from telling people she’s 35. Half of them may not believe her. If, however, she were to tell people she was ten years older, they would go out of their way to compliment her on how youthful she appeared.
If I claimed I was ten years older, not only would I fend off compliments, I’d be ten years older than my husband, which would make him my boy toy! I’d be robbing the cradle! We’d be hip and trendy, like Demi and Ashton, and Cameron and Justin.
Don’t take getting older “lying” down, ladies. Lie up.