I have a birthday at the end of the month, so even though I’m perfectly satisfied with my current age I will have to relinquish it. I’m not one to pout, darlings, but the truth is that I’m really only comfortable with aging when someone else is doing it.
Here’s where this post was supposed to turn away from the narcissism of my own issues about my birthday and discuss more lofty and socially important matters–the tyranny of youth, how to confront aging as a femme, blah blah blah. But honestly, I’m not in the mood. It’s just too dreary.
The thought that makes my inescapably middle-aged heart happy is this: Van is 9 years older than me, so I’m always younger in comparison. Wasn’t I clever falling in love with an older butch? But actually she looks so much younger than her actual age that people regularly don’t believe her when she tells them how old she is. No kidding, a new acquaintance just asked to see her driver’s license! And she makes absolutely no effort to achieve this youthful glow, whereas I have a whole skincare regime–cleanser, exfoliator, masks, treatments and mosturizer. (Van says it takes me forever to get ready for bed. Not true, I retort; it’s just seems like forever if all you do at night is brush your teeth! )
But since I’m indulging my narcissism, let’s get back to my story. Looking for words of wisdom and comfort today, I pulled out my copy of Helena Rubinstein’s My Life for Beauty, her 1964 autobiography which is also a beauty guidebook. For women past 35, Helena advises: “Sleep without a pillow or allow yourself a flat one only. This wards off extra chins.” Extra chins!!! Good god.
Fuck it. I love my fluffy pillow and do not plan to stop using it anytime soon. And, although I adore Helena, how reliable is the advice of anyone who says that “the ideal time to exercise in the evening is when you return from work at about 6:00 o’clock”? Is she out of her ever-loving mind?! That’s the ideal time for a cocktail, of course.
“To get back my youth,” Oscar Wilde wrote, “I would do anything except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.” Exactly. Time for a Manhattan!