The Wrinkle Manifesto

This is my first guest entry here; for those of you who don’t know me (probably most of you) I live in North Carolina, work at a university, and have a low tolerance for academic or other idiocies. Thanks to Sasha for the invite!
And now, a bit of a rant set off by the dumbest show I’ve seen lately, Extreme Makeover.


I have just recently reached a milestone in aging, and as such have spent a long time ruminating on my mortality. Well, that’s not entirely true–I’m going to live forever, so really I’ve just been stressing about the appearance of fine lines and gray hairs and exactly what in the hell I plan to do about these developments. Then last night I watched Extreme Makeover, a TV show which could generously be called Extreme Vanity, or could ungenerously be labled Let’s Find Some “Ugly” (Read: Normal Looking) People and Make Them into Someone Completely Different Just to Get Some Ratings and Possibly a Boost for the Plastic Surgery Industry because God Knows We Can’t Just Deal With Aging and Getting Fat, We Must Worship at the Altar of Eternal Youth–Worship, Damn You! But the latter title doesn’t fit neatly on the screen. Anyway, I won’t bother describing Extreme Makeover, check it out for yourselves and be amazed or horrified–I’m sure either reaction will do nicely.
Once again, I’m going to take a moment to blame the damn Baby Boomers, the least gracefully aging generation EVER, for the ubiquity of plastic surgery day spas, laser hair removal parlors, and other purveyors of implants, transplants, lifting, separating, tightening, polishing, lipo-sucking, lip-plumping and any other thing you can think of to make yourself into an exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s. It’s called AGING, people! We all shrivel up and die, and let’s just spend a moment thinking about how bizarre Pamela Anderson is going to look when she’s 80 and still has perkier boobs than a 16 year old. How confused and horrified are future archaeologists going to be when they unearth an ancient coffin from 2003 and find it empty except for a femur, some porcelain teeth and two sacks of saline? And finally, does ANYONE think that Joan Rivers looks GOOD? I mean, okay, compared to a Balrog she’s doing pretty well, but let’s keep it within our species, please.
I don’t have a problem with minor cosmetic alterations–highlighting the hair if you’re prematurely gray, getting your teeth straightened or polished, etc–but letting someone hack off parts of your body just to try and avoid the reality of getting older is delusional. You are going to get old. If you’re lucky, you’ll get so old that you’ll look like one of those dried apple people they sell at farmer’s markets. And you know what? Looking like a dried apple is a good thing, because it means YOU AREN’T DEAD. Also? Having a face so tight that people could ice skate on it doesn’t increase your sex appeal. Because we all look at it and go, “Nice mid-life crisis, dude. Guess what? You’re still old. And now you’re still old and if you smile you run the risk of your face snapping off and landing on my tossed salad.” Note to Michael Douglas–the facelift didn’t help you get Catherine Zeta Jones. Having more money than God? Much more helpful to you. Just thought I’d point that out.
So back to the major focus of this piece–me. After confronting Extreme Makeover, I have decided to enlist your help, because I have decided that the greatest danger I face is not aging, but being sucked into the vortex of cosmetic alterations. I have made a list of Things I Will Do to Age Gracefully. Here it is:
1. Moisturize.
2. Color my hair until I turn 60, at which time I will gradually do a Bob Barker and be gray.
That’s it, because I don’t want to be one of Those Women–you know the ones, with the extremely red hair or the platinum blonde hair that looks like it might break if you touch it and the permanently surprised look on the face that is considerably less wrinkled than the neck and hands? Yeah, Those Women scare me, because somewhere, deep down, they think they look normal or good, while people my age are horrified. If I’m going to horrify anyone, it’s going to be because I look like a vengeful old crone, not an escapee from Spielberg’s A.I. So here’s to wrinkles! And if any of you catch me mentioning the words “Botox,” “Tuck,” or “Lipo,” tackle me until the fit passes.

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One comment

  1. Al Maviva

    Big Arm Woman, welcome aboard.
    Nice comments, BTW. I’m a gen-X-er, sliding ungracefully toward 40. My credo is to try and control the things I can, not worry about the things I can’t, and don’t let anybody near my face with a knife unless it involves a lot of leather, some chains, and a seriously kinky situation.
    But seriously though, you are spot on about the Boomers. They have to control everything, and it’s pretty pathetic. I hit the gym four or five times a week, and stay in pretty good shape. Even at Approaching 40, I like to play sports, and to stay fit. And the weightlifting keeps a nagging back problem I have under control.
    But spas? Going under the knife? Anti-aging cream (AKA “Snake Oil”)? Spare me. It’s effing pathetic. It’s as if they never grew up, and never accepted the fact that we all get old an die.
    Personally, I’d be worried if I was them. You show up dead, with a beautiful corpse, St. Peter is likely to send you back, or ask Lucifer to stick your ass in the oven for a while ’til you’re done.
    Matter of fact, I’m so revolted by this, that the Sainted Wife has accepted my solemn promise that if my hair starts falling out, I’m going to go bald for the rest of my life.
    That’s the attitude we ought to have toward aging — our appearances don’t matter that much, and we shouldn’t live like they do because it’s juvenile. If time’s effects on our appearances scare us bad enough to inject poison into our foreheads, well then, maybe we’re just a little too scared of old man time, and our real issues are bigger than a wrinkle or two.