By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The end of an alternating cold and warm April draws near its end and, for me, marks the official “birthday season.”
“Birthday season” is a time that falls just after Mother’s Day each year, so if I don’t get what I want then, I throw in the familiar (and hated, I’m sure): “You can get me that for my birthday.”
I’ve already tossed out a few hints to my son, even elaborately displaying the sales paper in his face and pointing to a metal arch that would highlight the walkway in my yard. Someday, I want that walkway to feature large flat rocks from area streams and creeks, lined with all the flowers I’ve diligently planted, dug up and re-planted, added to and re-planted, moved and re-planted, cleaned around and re-planted -- you get the idea. As a native of Sinking Creek, it is imperative the walkway features some rocks from that stream, accented by a few from Powder Mill creek. It’s only natural - it’s my heritage.
But another facet of “official birthday season” is the annual self-evaluation that doesn’t normally have the pleasurable results of dream rock walkway.
Instead, the mirror becomes my worst enemy at the end of April and throughout May each year as intense surveys of my face and neck become as much of the daily routine as getting up to go to work. I don’t own a full-length mirror because I don’t like what I see, so I focus instead on chest up. Even that isn’t comforting, as I continue to see increasing wrinkles, sags, and age spots. And while some complain of a ‘double chin,’ I can honestly say it is rare that I see the ‘double’ -- the sagging facial skin has instead molded into one huge neck void of a chin at all, until the post-menopausal and unwanted facial hair pops through.
The distressing features that greet me in the mirror are, I am convinced, the results of blatant false advertising. I wish I had just purchased stock in these ‘health and beauty’ products that have lined my bathroom shelves and bedroom furniture over the years, rather than just spending cold cash.
Despite regular use of these ‘skin restoring’ products, those fine lines have become deep wrinkles and the soft skin promised remains the same dry, freckled facial skin with enough oily deposits on the nose that I should be able to lease it out to some refinery company.
The women’s magazines that haunt the checkout aisles of local stores are as bad as the beauty products. The headlines that scream out to women include “Lose 30 pounds by Labor Day” -- which is less than 4 weeks away at the time; “Dr. So-and-So’s secret to incredible skin,” “How to look 20 years younger in 3 weeks” are sensationalized so woman like myself will instantly want to read which new scientific or all-natural product that will erase all the lines of experience. Better yet are those that compare how your hair can look like that of the celebrities, and then ask “What is your body shape?” For those of us who must answer “barrel,” the prospects aren’t enticing.
With mud masks, foot baths, lotions, baby oil, eye lifting and face lifting creams, wrinkle erasing creams, eyelash growing treatments, body wash, hair color and even cellulite creams all adorning the bathroom over the years, I should be absolutely ravishing at my age, which should appear to others as a youthful 30. All the makeup tricks featured in women’s magazines should also have contributed to that “fountain of youth” that keeps evading my body.
I’ve often said that someday I’m going to sue all these companies for their misleading advertisements that have cost me many dollars over the years.
And as soon as I collect all that money, you can bet I’ll be the first in line for a face lift, dental implants, liposuction, personal weight trainer, hair transplants, and makeup specialist that will make me look like the picture painted in their advertisements!