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by Dianne Armitage
I’m confused. Why is it that I have been able to grasp the fact that there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny for more years than I’d care to mention, but I can still be convinced that: 1) My cellulite will vanish if I wear some special workout pants; 2) The wrinkles on my face will suddenly disappear with the right treatment; 3) It takes only 10 simple steps to (you fill in the blank); 4) I can have 6-pack abs and eat anything I want, the pounds will just melt away.
This list could go on and on, but I only have so much time allotted to “crack wise” so I’ll try to get to the point.
Chemotherapy , radiation, and age have a way of making what was once healthy, glowing skin look like (how can I put this gently?) crepe paper! Once we’ve completed treatment, most of us are so glad to be back among the world of the living, we’re not quick to find fault with what remains (or for that matter, grows back in)!
Just having hair on our heads, complete with brows and lashes, feels like a major accomplishment. And then there’s the simple relief factor. Once you’re done with having to show up in a clinical setting on a regular basis, it’s nice to just have time to smell the coffee, or roses, or even fuzz in the lint trap.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about aging (actually, I wish I could spend a bit less time worrying about NOT aging). I’ve even written about this dilemma a time or two. For some odd reason, this frame of mind doesn’t seem to translate to how I respond to the marketing ploys used by cosmetic companies to lure me into reaching deep into my pockets. I’m hoping that perhaps I have finally learned my lesson!
It seems that these small, women-getting-together to nibble snacks and drink wine (while shopping) sorts of events are all the rage. In recent months I’ve been able to shop for cute clothes, purchase shoes, even buy jewelry while munching on quiche and sipping champagne. Talk about a win/win situation! I do blame the champagne for some of my purchases, but I’m sure a pair of hot pink shoes, accompanied by a bright orange polka dot dress, and accessorized by 10 yards of some sort of metal that makes my skin turn green, will eventually come in handy.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a skincare party. Did it matter that I’d just purchased a new line of stuff guaranteed to erase my crow’s feet and turn back the hands of time? Was I concerned that it cost me what would at one time have been the down payment on a house or small country? Heck no! I can slather too much stuff on my face just as well as the next gal. (Did I mention there would be food and drink involved?)
The “party” wasn’t scheduled to begin until 7:30 pm on a work night. That meant I was going to have to attempt to stay coherent past my usual bedtime. As the workday progressed I kept looking at my watch and wondering how in heaven’s name I was going to be able to gather enough of a second wind to keep my eyes open past 9:30 or 10:00 that evening. I actually commented to a friend that I remembered a time when I didn’t go out until 10:00 pm and would dance and party until the wee hours several nights a week. Gosh, I wonder if that has anything to do with how often I used to job-hop? Oh well, it is called live and learn, right?
Anyway, I managed to remain conscious until it was time to depart. My cohort in crime, Shirley, picked me up and we giggled like a couple of school girls on our way to the event (that’s what happens when middle aged women are sleep deprived – I’m telling you). We were greeted at the door by a young woman who had the skin of an angel. When I learned that she was the sales rep AND was only 24 years old, I found myself wondering how anyone that young could possibly be concerned by aging skin. She was hardly through puberty! At her age I was still using Stridex and Noxema!
The product line was very good, and perhaps more importantly, deemed safe to use (something else you start thinking about when you’ve had cancer!) I was able to control myself enough not to buy the store, but I did wrangle some samples out of the flawless hostess. I couldn’t wait to get home and try them.
The next morning (it would have been difficult to put skincare products on with my eyes closed) I scattered the array of samples on my vanity (what an appropriate name) and began looking at what I’d scored. One cream in particular caught my eye. It was called “extra firming extract.” I took a close look at my face and determined that the only place I really seemed to need some extra firming was my eyelids.
I patted a bit of the cream on both eyelids and then set about making the coffee, feeding the dogs and birds, and doing the rest of the early morning things we all muddle through to start our day. I was humming a happy little tune when I happened to glance at myself in the mirror. OMG! My eyelids looked like I had been severely stung by a bee, or perhaps several bees. You know how lush and plump Angelina Jolie’s lips are? Just try imagining that same effect on your eyelids. Let me just say, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood will be rushing to imitate me at any time in the near future.
After I got over the initial shock, all I could do was laugh hysterically. The product had done exactly what it said it would, and my eyelids were extra firm to prove it. It took hours for the puffiness to wear off, so I had plenty of time to contemplate just how silly my quest for the improbable actually was. Will I do something equally silly in the future? I sure hope so, because let’s face it, that’s what life is all about!