From a very early age, all I wanted was to be pretty. I’d skip over the cracked and buckled sidewalks in our middle-class neighborhood of 1920’s bungalows, past the alley that ran behind the widow ladies houses with the metal trash cans and chain link fences, praying fervently, please god, just let me be pretty.
It took some time to get my wish. I had to live through a gangly pre-teen stage and a unibrow.
The summer I turned twelve, I was on my way to the snack bar at the Jewish Community Center pool when out of nowhere, a sixteen-year-old, with a blond crew-cut and Beach Boys surf trunks stopped me in my tracks. He cupped my chin and said, “you’re going to be a knockout!” I met his ice-blue gaze, not even scared. I was so freaking happy!
When Norah Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, came out, I thought, thank god I don’t have to worry about that for awhile.
Well, I’ve enjoyed a pretty good run, but that time arrived about five years ago. Mostly, I ignored it. Until a couple years ago, when I visited a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. He sashayed into the office, big smile on his perfectly preserved fifty-year-old visage, took one look at my un-augmented chest and said, “well you’re obviously not a plastic surgery person, what brings you in today?”
I smiled, hopeful, like, yeah, this is silly, isn’t it. Tee-hee.
“OK, I’m not loving my jowls,” I said, fully expecting him to say, oh dear, you’re doing great with this aging thing, what jowls!
Instead, he reached over, pinched a wad of skin under my neck and said , “and I’m not loving this!”
Oh my god! I hadn’t even noticed that. I tried not to deflate as he detailed the other stuff I should fix. Basically lift the brows, oh, and my upper lip has sunken lower, like some aboriginal, National Geographic oddity — totally normal part of aging — btw, we can fix that too, and, of course the neck area. Oh, and my eyebrows are uneven.
Once a unibrow, now uneven!
After the consult, he left the room and his assistant came in with a glitzy marketing folder containing the itemized list of procedures and a figure at the bottom. $35,000.
I don’t feel that bad about my neck. Actually, I do. It’s not even the money. EW, it’s the pain! Then again, there’s the pain of looking in the mirror every day at the unrelenting advance of age.
Saturday, I went to spin class after a week away, worried I’d lost my cherished front-row status. The instructor, Jeffery, just smiled. “Nah, you still got action,” he said, fiddling with the playlist on his laptop.
I’ve been saying it to myself ever since!