Day 26: A Wrinkle in Time

I’m proud to say that so far, I’ve resisted wearing makeup. That’s no small thing for a woman. Sure, I played with it as a young teenager, but I lipstick, eye shadow and mascara always made me feel like a doll or a clown or a drag queen. And, from my perspective, make-up sometimes makes women look alike and less like individuals with unique features. Plus, I never liked the smell of cosmetics, so I just girlcotted them and decided to be a natural woman.

But now that I’m getting older, I’m facing some face facts: age spots, wrinkles, saggy skin, and worse. The mirror is telling me to do something about it. This, from a woman who has long posted a sign on her daughters’ bathroom mirror reading, “Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty.” Now, why is that feminist declaration of self-acceptance good enough for my girls but not for me?

My mom had lovely skin, thanks to her nightly routine which consisted of Pond’s Cold Cream to remove the perfect stripe of black liner from her eyelids. I have a small jar of it she left behind on her last visit here and I don’t think I’ll throw that away…at least not this year. It’s a smell I remember so clearly from kissing her goodnight throughout my childhood. Nor will I be able to part with her supersize container of the dreadful Jean Nate. I’ll never use it (need I say more?) but it’s there when I need a whiff of my beloved, departed mom.

But, alas, I will give up this small item she gave to me a while ago:

This stuff feels like glue on your face

My mom was more of a catalog shopper than a mall shopper, but in her retirement, she did hit the stores with her girlfriends, most of whom wore a ton of makeup. I can imagine the scene now: a coupla ladies in their 70s walking into the cosmetic section in a department store. A saleswoman lures them over to try a miracle product. They laugh and go along with it. She smears a little goo on their sagging eye sockets or eye pockets and Poof! Presto! The wrinkles are gone. You look ten years younger. And all the girls buy the stuff…

And, I bet her friends used it, but my mom did not. The little elixir just hovered in her medicine cabinet with many other never used soaps, cosmetics, and whatnot. So, she offered it to me (“not that I needed it, honey”). I tried it once. It felt the way Elmer’s glue feels when it dries on your skin. Tight and uncomfortable and somewhat white…like dried semen. So I never used it and the box sat in my medicine cabinet, staring at me for years, waiting for my self-esteem to droop even more than my eyelids.

And now, I’ve decided to get rid of it altogether. I won’t use it. I won’t pass it down to my daughters. Maybe I’ll regift it to the President. He seems to be especially concerned with his appearance. Maybe this will help fix his deepest problems.