My mother taught me that I can go days without food, but not a minute without a girdle and make-up. She was right. However, I am not capable of removing a corset every night without a giant shoe horn, Vaseline, and the strength of six other people assisting me. Make-up is another animal altogether. Thinking I should live an ageless life may be symptomatic of pride, but I can’t help buying the newest in beauty products. I’m pretty positive that I share a skin care regimen with other women, along with the inevitable nightmare of not being able to reset my odometer. It’s unclear whether the twenty-minute Miracle Whip mask or the bee venoms have served to suppress some of my pustules and puffiness. There I was again this morning telling my mirror “Today I’m going with a green tea and guava peel,” because every day I need something that conceals the fact that I’ve been exhausted since 2002 (with a presence of forehead furrows and sunken jowls.) As a kid I wanted to be older. Now I just want muscle tone and eyelids like Elijah Wood’s. After indulging myself in the unpleasant reality of lofty pessimism, I set aside my usual duties once again to concentrate on my physique. I have this ingrained notion that if those Kardashian ladies can use skincare goods and get fabulous results, why oh why can’t I? Except I call it exfoliation. They call it body masturbation. And I’m just not feeling all that frisky.

I lined up a towering cathedral of restorative lotions and exfoliants on my bathroom countertop, and proceeded to drench myself extensively while taking a deep breath, hoping they would do their magic. Supposedly a hotel in the Czech Republic offers a vitamin-filled beer bath to rejuvenate pores, plus protects against Alzheimer’s. I might embrace the brew myself by pouring a can of Coors Light over my head and down my body to see if it has the same effect. And snail secretions are said to reduce stretch marks. If I had known that, I would have kept the little mollusks around instead of cats and dogs. They say the spiny cactus plant massages and  removes toxins, which sounds more like acupuncture to me. Hari’s of London has bull-sperm hair lotions for frizziness. I have wondered who has the job of boiling a bull’s testies that would result in smoother follicles. Yet there’s nothing like a roll in the hay to feel like a new woman. I heard that some Italians lie down on sheets covered with warm, pre-soaked straw. I would do it too if I was given a stylist to cure my bedhead, hay allergy medicine, and the barn forage was replaced with something not so prickly.

I’m either going to end up ravishing, or continue to be a lathering guinea pig for beauty conglomerates. I’m always hoping on the off chance that with enough head-to-toe suffocation of this stuff, I’ll get carded at sixty-four. Trespassers are going to be victimized if they dare watch me during my glamour procedures. I learned one thing the hard way. I couldn’t do a face mask all that quickly. The doorbell rang, and my beloved beau was nowhere to be found. A bit of swearing ensued while I ran to open the door, and my face scared the crap out of the FedEx delivery man. He must have heard me cursing because he said “dammit” was the argot of sailors. Right after that, the gardener caught sight of me when he was pruning the bushes right outside my window, which evoked a fit of giggles on his part. My growing legion of admirers probably thought they had gone eye to eye with someone who had collided with an open jar of mayonnaise. People showing up at the house is usually pretty standard. Some people come to deliver packages. Some mow the lawn and trim back bush growth. I was hoping the good Lord would send a renowned cosmetician, or a magician to do some trickery. Even bending over to tie my shoes can be a pain these days. Yet I am resourceful. I can get my gardener to do it in an instant if my boyfriend isn’t around.

I mosied back to the bathroom and my loverboy passed by, stopping guardedly in his tracks. Let me describe this scene in glorious detail. He sarcastically asked, “Holy moly! Are you winterproofing your pores?” I will just say that I adore spending every mocking moment with this guy, and was unwittingly increasing the risk of alienation. He was wearing sporty flip-flops that didn’t quite give him the traction he needed to bolt away. My king, czar, emperor of trash removal, and unprecedented source of joy who is capable of leaving me alone at times like these, caught sight of his housemate lathered in the carefully hoarded collection of age-defying ointments, none of which were likely going to transform me into the new face of Covergirl. What he saw was slovenly hair held back by a magnetic strength of metal clips, and my body covered in so much cream that he didn’t know if it was me, or a hundred-and-thirty-pound frosted cupcake. Baking connoisseurs go to culinary schools to devote their attention to confections. My boyfriend just had to go to my mirror.

My appearance was generally well received, until that day. I was sure that he wanted to throw me out with the rest of the trash. All of a sudden the Shirelle’s came to mind and I sneeringly belted out one of their songs. “Tonight you’re mine, completely.” Then I went straight into, “Soldier boy. Oh my little soldier boy. I’ll be new for you.” I also wanted to sing about the skin he’s in. I’ve seen his calves, those heavily-weathered walking sticks. He’ll need some superhuman creams himself to cure his aging frame. And he’s fifty shades of gray alright. His impeccably perfect head contains at least four hundred thousand silvery strands, and the rest of him is one great big connecting age spot. He has always reassured me, “I may not be the youngest looking guy, but I’m strong like bull baby.” Yet the preponderance of aging still persists. Especially when I ask him if he would like to do something youthful and exciting like play Pickleball and he responds, “I think I have Bingo that night.” Sometimes I resist the temptation to smack the sarcasm right out of him. But his humor is worth more to me than all the emollients in the world. However, I have to wonder about my man’s maturity level when “I’m going for a burger and a beer” turns into a few intoxicating hours of lubrication, peeing in bushes, and leaving his zipper open to reveal some of his naturalness. But my sphere of influence with both men and beauty products has always told me to keep believing in them.

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