Pause the Meno

It’s like a cruel joke on the human female body. Generally, I love being a woman. I think we’re smarter, more logical, better looking, we have better clothes, and can have babies, just to name a few. But this nonsense of menopause is just a bit over the top, don’t you think?

Not to get graphic or anything, but the majority of us start with the menses at an early age. I know the reason for it. I don’t need a theological or health education refresher. I get it. But why for the love of all things sacred does menopause have to last longer than an unwrapped Hostess Twinkie?

By my unscientific calculations and some early grammar school math I will have suffered, from beginning to end, for over forty years. That is if my menopause lasts for as long as a recent study determined it can last for — fourteen years. Fourteen years. The magic number when I became a woman. How ironic.

Since November, when a blood test confirmed my current state, and since the last time I complained about it, my “symptoms” have increased exponentially. How, you ask? Oh, please allow me to do the honors…

Perfect example of menopause brain. I don’t know anyone who can drink from their eyeball, do you?
  • I trust my menopause brain about as much as I trust gas station sushi.
  • My thermostat works as well as the 1980 Fiat Strada I had when I was seventeen.
  • I not only feel like an old jalopy, I’m starting to look like one, so to speak. Just take a look at my unmaintained hair. I have more grey’s than a cloudy day.
  • I am sleeping almost as much as a bullfrog, which is zero in case you didn’t know. File this under “random things you find on the internet when you can’t sleep.”
  • God help you if my mood changes and you’re standing directly in my path. You would be safer outside during an electrical storm. On your roof. Holding a metal rod.
  • Random itching during the most inopportune times. It’s like the tooth fairy except instead of money, she’s leaving little droppings of itch dust directly on my skin. I wonder if that is the bullfrog’s problem?
  • I went from not needing to wash my hair for four days to my roots looking like they took a dip in a McDonald’s fryer after two.
  • As a typically extroverted person, I am amazed at how introverted I have become. Oh wait. That’s because we’re in a pandemic. Never mind. Phew. That was a close call.
  • I am alarmed at the amount of hair that falls out and into the drain during a shower. The good news is the one lone chin hair that has been sprouting for years has magically disappeared.
  • During a flush, my face could be used as a steam iron. Black & Decker has nothing on me.

I feel like I have been spending the last few months complaining about this, but I believe I have earned the right. So, buckle up. It’s going to be a long ride. Ten months down. Only 158 more to go.

Spanx Me

Image source: NatalieDee.com

Remember back in the day when we could go do fancy things and wear fancy clothes? Like, for a wedding or formal dinner? Ho hum, me too. I sure do miss you, any year before 2020.

Although I have to say I have grown quite accustomed to wearing yoga pants and not wearing a bra or makeup — with my hair up in what I call a messy bun, but may look more like the home of a black-billed magpie to you — I sometimes long for somewhere decent to go besides the McDonald’s drive-thru and ShopRite.

Somewhere to go where I can actually take the time to put on makeup and look presentable enough to see the Queen. Or at least her housemaid.

Unfortunately for me, the little black dress requires some extra help these days. And it comes in the form of the household name called “Spanx.”

The Spanx I do not miss. Although it does lie in wait for me — sharing a drawer with my most private undergarments — I do not look forward to shoehorning myself into those items again anytime soon.

One of the last weddings I attended was that of a nephew. This was before I lost weight (and gained it back again, as I do). I took the time to curl my hair with the same hot roller set my mother used in the ’70s, and applied my makeup with such precision anyone could have confused me with Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine Chapel, I’m sure of it.

Everything looked good from the head up. In my opinion, anyway. Now to do something with the below-the-neck portion of myself. I couldn’t very well go to this event bodiless now, could I? No, that most likely would have stolen the bride’s thunder.

I couldn’t help myself. Photo courtesy of sites.psu.edu

My little black dress fit like a glove — you know, of the O.J. variety. If it didn’t fit, then why didn’t I quit? Because, like I said, I had something in my arsenal that I hoped would help.

Enter The Spanx, stage left.

Now, of course, like most women in my situation I have more than one to choose from. I have the high waisted brief, the bodysuit, the shaping cami, the thigh slimmer…just to name a few.

Now, to make the excruciating decision of which garment to wear, umm, under my garment. I tried on several and quickly discovered that just one pair of Spanx wasn’t going to cut it.

It was made abundantly clear there was only one way to tame the beast. And that was to double up.

In the end I decided on the bodysuit and the high waisted brief (yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds). The bodysuit OVER the high waisted brief to prevent the brief from rolling down my body like a roller shade.

Brilliant.

Except it wasn’t. You know, brilliant.

Have you ever worn armor? The kind that is made of steel? Me neither. But I imagine it must be pretty darn close to what I created for myself that day. It was total torture.

Don’t let the smile fool you. I was crying on the inside..

Once I got everything pulled on and pulled in, I thought I looked pretty good. But what I didn’t factor in was sitting down, bathroom breaks, the damage I was potentially doing to my internal organs, and umm, living.

I’m not really sure how the ladies of the 18th and 19th centuries survived this nonsense. It’s a wonder the corset survived more than a day let alone several hundreds of years.

Also, I don’t know who came up with the cliche, “beauty is pain,” but she should have her tongue cut out.

Fun fact: Can you believe a woman invented the first corset? She probably died of internal bleeding.

Not a mere few hours prior I was channeling Michelangelo. Now I was channeling a pregnant women overdue with a literal village. Bending at the waist was a near impossibility. It was not going well.

Trying to use the facilities was a whole other story. Although unintentional, I was suddenly a physical comedian. Lucille Ball had nothing on me. Unfortunately, the show was wasted on the inside of a 2’x2′ bathroom stall.

Anyway, I survived the night. Mostly because I gave up and pulled the darn things off altogether. I could hear the collective deep sigh of relief from my ovaries to my liver.

These Spanx may not have fit nicely under my little black dress, but they sure did fit nicely in my little black bag.

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

When I was in the throes of teenage-dom, you couldn’t pull the phone out of my hand without the assistance of a grizzly bear with a crowbar. This was during the hormone-induced-boy-crazed stage of my life where every ring of the telephone meant the difference between life and death. I’m sure I burned more calories running for that 1982 telephone than I do during HIIT class.

The rotary phone wasn’t easy to talk on either. Ours was stuck to a wall which was a challenge all on its own. The dial was what nightmares are made of, and the handset was attached to the base by a curly cord that would twist up into itself. Unless you took the time to unfurl it, the basic act of moving was a near impossibility.

But that curly, twisted-up, wired cord was my lifeline. And I was dead without it.

I got that cord so stretched out, I could practically talk in any room of our modest little home. My favorite was stretching it from the kitchen to across the hallway and into the only bathroom we had. I would lock myself in there and talk until a member of our five-person household was banging the door down.

I would talk for hours upon hours on that phone. So much so that my ear would sweat itself into hives. More often than not I would be interrupted by the sound of an operator coming onto the line with the news that my mother was trying to get through. Anything short of a natural disaster did not an emergency make.

I nearly died and went to heaven when the push button was invented. Then the party line became a thing where you could have three people on the phone at once. That right there was just short of orgasmic. To make things even better, the cordless came along and changed everything.

Of course, that was followed by the digital phone where you could actually see who was calling. I think they call it “Caller ID.” That was almost better than the invention of bread.

Obviously, the telephone has evolved over the years. Enough to want to make Alexander Graham Bell roll over in his grave.

What we didn’t see coming was the invention of the car phone. Everyone remembers their first. Mine was no lighter than a baby seal and came in an attractive case that resembled an oversized toiletry bag.

Now we have cell phones that are so small they fit in our back pocket, and are smarter than most people I know. They have the capability to contact someone without actually calling them, order dinner, book a vacation, count calories, teach CPR, and take better pictures than a Nikon camera.

These days you don’t even need a landline. The cellular phone has taken over.

Poor Alex.

Like the telephone, I too, have evolved.

I am no longer a fan of talking on the phone, unless it’s to my daughter, parents, or a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time. And even then it’s questionable.

I’m not really sure what happened. Perhaps it’s due to my overuse of the thing when I was fifteen and the novelty just wore off. Or it could just simply be because I’m sick of talking.

It sounds like an oxymoron of sorts allowing those words, “sick of talking” to pass my lips. If there is one thing I have a gift for, it’s the gab. Although, mostly that gift is put to use during a movie, long car rides, and inopportune times that have forced people to ask me to close my trap. Can you imagine?

Anyway, these days I prefer texting to calling. It’s more convenient, faster, and not such a time suck. Sure, I run the risk of misspelling a word or using the incorrect use of “your,” but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Even if it is blasphemy.

I guess my point is don’t call, text.

Just kidding. You can call. 

Just text first.

“I feel like a young man with something really wrong with him”

This was a quote from a piece I read by Anne Lamott recently and I could not have said it better.

This. This is precisely what getting older is like.

I feel like a young woman with something wrong with her. Terribly, terribly wrong.

My mind — although filled with more holes than a New York City avenue — still feels invincible at times. My mind tells me I can do things that my body is almost to the point of not being able to do.

Things like trying to accomplish the Garland pose during my yoga practice or simply lifting my leg to tie my shoe. It takes as much effort for me to lean down and pick up something I have dropped to the floor as it does trying to fly. More often than not I will attempt to channel David Blaine by staring down the item willing it through osmosis to magically levitate up to my open hand.

That doesn’t work, by the way. I haven’t quite figured out how he does it. But I suspect I better if I ever want to see these things again.

I’m a fairly active 52-year-old woman. Why can’t I do these simple activities any longer? I swore I wouldn’t allow it, but nature has other plans.

My knees are bad, my hips spend half their life screaming at me from the tops of my thigh bones, and my lower back likes to light small fires. Forget about my eyesight. Even the “arm length” trick won’t help me now.

And to add insult to injury, menopause strikes in the middle of the night like a masked bandit. Robbing you of your youthful glow and replacing it with facial hair, hot flashes, and night sweats so bad and so constant that frequent pajama and sheet changes are a necessity. Laying in something akin to a humid, tepid, salted pool is not conducive to a good sleep.

Not that I’m sleeping anyway.

The sandman no longer stops at my house. I’m like a small child waiting for Santa to arrive when in reality he just doesn’t exist. Waiting and waiting with childlike wonder. “Will he come tonight?” No. No, he will not. I don’t know what I ever did to him, but somehow I got on his “naughty” list.

And forget about the effects of alcohol. I THINK I can drink more than one glass of wine like a twenty-something and wake up the next day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the world. The reality is I wake up with my brain as foggy as the Los Angeles smog in August, which just makes me want to swear off the stuff for all of eternity.

Oh my beloved wine. Why has thou forsaken me?

You know what really gets me? Young people. Actual young people. The people I forget I am not demographically equal to. When I realize that I could most likely be their mother it’s like someone has sucker punched me, taking the air right out of my parachute. It’s the weirdest phenomenon.

SO, that’s about it in a nutshell. The bottom line is I think like a 22-year-old but feel like I’m 72. Seriously. I don’t believe I have matured much past 1989. Can someone please tell that to my body? Because the memo got sent to the wrong address.

Source: Anne Lamott, “12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing”

The Brain Thief and Other Stories for the Middle Aged Woman

Warning: Spoiler alert ahead.

What in the love of God is this? Things have changed. Overnight. Out of nowhere. And uninvited. You know, on my body, in my body, all over my body. There was no warning either. Why wasn’t there a warning?

For starters, I feel like I’m losing my mind. If you lifted the top of my head off you will find little blips of memory from when I was twelve, thoughts of food, a squirrel, and the proverbial cobweb or two.

Then there is the loss of words. Simple words. Words I know. You see that word “proverbial” in the paragraph above? It took me exactly seven minutes to recall it. Usually I would turn to my trusty online thesaurus, but I couldn’t think of the word “thesaurus.”

I think and say really dumb things. Remember that riddle, “what color is George Washington’s white horse?” If I hadn’t already heard it a million times, I’m not confident I would answer correctly.

Then we have the hot flashes. They come unexpectedly and often. It’s like someone installed a furnace inside me and there is a tiny man shoveling coal into the thing like his life depends on it. I wish the guy would drop dead of a heart attack or something. No offense, tiny man.

My evenings are filled with three changes of pajamas, covers that end up on the floor until I start freezing again. And sweat. Pools of it. If only I could bottle and sell it. I’d make millions. You know, if sweat was trending.

And let me introduce to you the Mood Swing. It can turn on a dime. Like a Lamborghini. Maybe not as sexy, but most definitely as fast.

I don’t care who you are — except 1973 Robert Redford — if you do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you are crucified.

Like, get me some nails and a hammer and you are done for. You know, metaphorically speaking, of course.

I am predictably unpredictable. My family walks on egg shells. They know I’m gonna blow. They just aren’t sure when.

My mom has an uncanny ability to actually smell my hormonal shift and she lives 600 miles away. My husband usually wishes he was dead. My daughter tries to get another family to adopt her. And my co-workers look around wondering if they made a wrong turn and wound up at the circus freak show instead of the office.

Also, I have weird dreams. Case in point: This past week I dreamt William Baldwin was released from house arrest and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post about it. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up and realized I made the whole thing up.

Randomly waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to fall back to sleep is a real thrill. Staring at the ceiling waiting for the Sand Man to pay me a visit is about as entertaining as listening to Taylor Swift stuck on repeat.

The facial and neck hair that seems to sprout like wildfire during the Santa Ana winds is super fun. Because I can’t see close up without my readers, I don’t always see it. Until someone else does.

And my all-time personal favorite? Muscle atrophy. I exercise almost every single day. If I did that when I was in my twenties, thirties — hell, even my forties — my body would look like Jane Fonda from her 1970s workout videos. Instead I look more like Gumby with boobs.

That just about covers it. I wish I could end this post on a witty note, but I can’t find the words for it.


It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday. I’m not shy about telling my age. I was never one of those people who felt the need to lie about it. I don’t judge you if you do, it’s just not my thing.

At the writing of this post, I turned fifty-two precisely seven days, one hour, and twenty-seven minutes ago (my mother makes sure to remind me of the exact moment I entered this world, giving me as many gory details as she possibly can short of an actual reenactment).

I’m also not gonna lie and say I embrace my age. I think I’ve gotten better over the last few years about it, but I’m not quite there. I’m not sure I ever will be. I mean, how do you embrace something that keeps going up, instead of down? Unless we’re talking about the stock market?

The last time I checked, going up in this case means we are just closer to death. I know that sounds morbid, and it is. I have been worried about it since I was a kid. My obsession with time and it’s uncanny ability to move forward like a pig with its tail on fire is probably as healthy as telling Mike Tyson his tattoo is stupid.

I know it’s “just a number,” “you are as old as you feel,” and “it’s better than the alternative.” And for the most part I agree with all of it. Except the part where I’m fifty-two. And, well, getting older.

Heck, I should appreciate the fact I wasn’t a woman living in the 19th century. I’d be at the end of my life by now. If that doesn’t scare me, then nothing will.

Except my age.

Might I remind you Luke Perry died last month from a massive stroke. He was fifty-two like me. He didn’t get run over by a bus, or was in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer for months or years from cancer. He had a stroke. At fifty-two years old. And it’s freaking me out.

I feel bad for my physician. I’m a handful as it is already. I know she must not look very forward to my annual visit, which is in two weeks. My list is as long as Santa’s naughty list of things that bother me, and what I think they may be. Self-diagnoses is what I do best, even though I’m always wrong.

These days I do feel pretty good though. I’ve recently tried reversing the aging process as best I can without actual surgery or costly procedures. I’ve started using toner on my face, drinking less wine, and exercising.

Actual exercising. Like, going to the gym, putting on one of the only pairs of Lululemon leggings I own, and building up a sweat. Because everything is better in a pair of Lululemon leggings. My daughter said so.

I do worry about having a heart attack while exercising, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take for better health and a longer life. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t even push my baby out of my body too hard for fear of having a brain aneurism. See how I’m growing?

So, Happy Birthday to me. Maybe next year I’ll look forty-five, feel thirty-five, and act fifteen.

I have the fifteen part down pretty pat. But I’m hoping that toner takes effect pretty soon so I’ll at least be able to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

I’ll let you know in eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours.

A Deserted Nest

shutterfly.com


It’s a typical Friday night. Back from an early dinner out. HGTV and wine as a follow-up. I look around the room while my husband and I discuss stuff. You know. Just stuff.

Like his dream car, how Corporate America has sold itself out, and why we would like to have Punxsutawney Phil murdered.

As I look around, I suddenly feel the innate loneliness of the empty nester. 

Our child is not home. She’s off in Europe traveling for spring break. She hasn’t been living at home, except for Christmas break, summer, and here or there since August 2016 when she left for college. 

I look around and it dawns on me that our job is done. We are parents, but in a different light. We are no longer in the thick of diapers, temper tantrums and middle school drama. No more homework anxiety and carpooling to dance class. 

It’s just us. Two people who started out as two people. Back to the beginning. But with a slight difference: Toned bodies are replaced by lumps, and tout skin is replaced by crows feet. AARP cards now reside in our wallets nestled beside the Costco cards, and Metamucil is the drink of choice over mimosas.

I always dreaded this time. I wanted to hang on to her childhood for all of eternity. To cherish and coddle. To keep my grip tightened on that adorable cherub faced baby. 

I never thought I would so wholeheartedly accept this stage of her life, of our life. But I am here to say that I do. I mean, aside from the emptiness of the house I feel from time to time. Like tonight. 

I love the relationship I have with my daughter. Somewhere over the last couple of years, she has become my friend.

I no longer reprimand, I advise. I no longer have to remind her to do her chores when she’s home, she’s mature enough to do them unasked. I like that I can drop my favorite “F” word in her presence without feeling like I’m going to completely corrupt her.

I love listening as she regales us with stories of college, and her experiences living in a big city. I don’t want to say I am living vicariously through her because that sounds so cliche, but truth be told, I am.

She is living and breathing experiences I never got to have. College, travel, living on her own. So, yes. I am living vicariously through her and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

It was easy being her parents. I am confident that we did a good job and even more confident that we can watch her fly knowing she will succeed. Not without some bumps and bruises because life is not perfect, as we all know. But I know she will succeed in the real game of Life. She has proven to us that she has the skills. Skills she built all on her own.

Now it is just my husband and me. It’s been like this for close to three years. I am loving this stage of our lives and loving the relationship I have with him. It’s just the two of us and it’s a time of rediscovery. I know. It’s another cliche. But it’s true. And it’s pretty cool.

If Clothes Maketh the Man, Then Why Did He Invent the Bra?

I find it funny how I plan my life around my bra. This is true. And I know I’m not alone.

From the moment I put it on in the morning I dream of removing it. By mid-afternoon, it’s all I can do to not pull it through the armholes of my top and fling it across the office space right into the trash receptacle so it can live as one with yesterday’s lunch and the extra printer copies of last month’s budget.

But alas, I hold it together. No pun intended.

I mean, come on, what is so appealing? The shoulder straps don’t stay up, and if they do, they dig into your skin like a bad habit. There is the feeling of a vice tightening up around your ribcage with every breath. And the underwire feels as if a moat is being dug around the underbelly of your bosoms.

It’s safe to say my commute home is filled with images of me being braless. And as soon I get in the door, that’s what I do. Go braless. I really have grown quite a distaste for the — dare I say — “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.” If you haven’t quite guessed.

Although my younger self would beg to differ and, quite honestly, would have mouth agape in disbelief at my proclamation. Back in the day I would spend tons of money and hours looking for the perfect bras to match each pair of underwear. The pride I took in my undergarments was a bit ridiculous.

I also took the “make sure you have clean underwear because you never know if you’ll be in an accident” advice my mother repeated to me ad nauseam to a whole new level.

In defense of my younger self, the ta-ta’s were cute and perky and just, cute. Thirty some-odd years later they have been poked and prodded (thank you mammograms, ultrasounds, and self exams), been the food source for my newborn, and gained a few pounds, to say the very least.

These days, I’m lucky to put on a pair of underwear that don’t have a hole in them or that are so stretched out it’s a miracle they stay up at all. Forget about matching my bra. That ideal went out the window with the dawn of the new century.

So, getting back to my point. Once the bra comes off, I’m done for the day and/or night.

A friend could call me to go on a crazy adventure where a meeting with Channing Tatum (or is that Tatum Channing?) would be promised, and I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather endure a trip to Hell than put that medieval torture device back on.

DH could want to surprise me with a quick rendezvous to Tahiti for a romantic dinner for two…oh, well, Tahiti probably wouldn’t mind if I went braless so that’s a bad example. But you know what I’m saying.

If The Kid is home from college and she wants to invite her boyfriend over, I either banish myself to my room like a hermit for the evening, or will not allow the visit.

Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I have said, “Can’t you go over there? My bra is already off,” more times than I care to admit. And if he comes over anyway? Well, that’s HIS problem. Everyone has been forewarned.

Remind me why we wear bras again?

Yes, I know. People could get hurt, including our very own chins when we run. And they “girls” could be mistaken for extra belly fat, if you know what I mean.

I guess the bra is here to stay. Unless we can bring “bra burning” back into fashion. I know how to light a match. I learned that when I…ahem, never mind.

Note: I love my breasts. They are one of my favorite parts of my body, and I’m so fortunate to have them. But damn, that bra. It’s the bane of my existence. Wait. Have I said that already?

The Big Clean Up

Is it just me? Or does everyone do it? I am talking about the opposite of purging. Not purging. Of accumulating. And collecting.

I don’t collect, per se. Not on purpose anyway. I don’t think my old cans of tomato paste will be worth much. Unless I just didn’t get the memo.

I have suddenly realized in the last few weeks that I really need to clean up. Every drawer, every closet, every cabinet, every everything.

And no, I am not KonMari’ing my life. Yea, I would love to choose joy, Marie. But I’d rather wallow in my joyless self-pity of collecting crap.

Also, I can’t really talk to my things.

Oh, that’s not true. I have been known to curse at the hangers in my closet when they’ve gotten tangled beyond recognition, among other conversations with inanimate objects I’m too embarrassed to admit to.

We don’t have clutter out and about. We don’t keep stuff on our countertops, or on the tables, or shoved into corners. No, we make sure the clutter is hidden. Away from everyone. Including myself.

Except now it’s starting to bother me. Like when I open any given drawer or closet in my house, I am suddenly filled with this irrational rage. Maybe it’s a mid-life thing seeing that pretty much everything pisses me off lately.

Maybe I’m “nesting” for the next phase of my life. I certainly don’t want to leave all this for The Kid to have to deal with if we, say, kick the bucket or decide to move without a forwarding address.

I just spent hours — on a Saturday, my precious Saturday — cleaning out the “kitchen” pantry. It’s not even in the kitchen. It’s really a mini “mud room” off my family room leading out to the garage. There is a door so we don’t see the mess and the reminder of what bad things lurk beyond.

God bless that door.

This is the “after.” I wasn’t swift enough to get the “before.” Don’t be jealous of my 1970’s wallpaper.

There is also a cabinet IN my kitchen. It’s one of those tall ones with the pull out shelves. I love those pull out shelves. I almost didn’t get them. When we were designing our kitchen, the consultant lady said, “oh, you’ll want to get the pull out shelves. Believe me, you’ll appreciate them.” And she was right. I can’t imagine my life without them. They are almost at the same level of fondness I feel for my daughter.

Those drawers give me joy. Also, another inanimate object I talk to.

Let me just tell you, I’m pretty sure the last time I cleaned out either one of these things, was back when Ross was on his third wife (Rachel, in case you’ve forgotten or just didn’t know).

So, here’s a glimpse into some of the things I tossed:

  • Four jars of pizza sauce that expired in 2013
  • Three opened boxes of crackers from New Year’s Eve 2012
  • Too many to count cans of tomato paste that really were probably empty from evaporation
  • Rice so old there may have been bugs crawling in there but I wouldn’t know because I was afraid to look
  • Much, much more

And the most surprising find?

That umbrella I thought we left behind on our last vacation.

In our food pantry.

On to the next project. I have written in my new planner what I am going to attempt to clean out. According to my plans, I should be done by the end of April. I’ll let you know how it goes. But if you go by my procrastinational ways of the past, you’ll need to add seven years. You know, like you do for a dog.

My Netflix show would be called “Cleaning Like a Dog.” I’m not sure I would talk about items that bring you joy, but I can promise it would be quite entertaining.

And next time you are looking for an umbrella, check the place where you keep your food. You just never know.

The Non-Facial Facial

I went for a facial last week. I haven’t had a facial in over twenty years. My pores have got to be as big as Lake Eerie. But I wouldn’t really know, so don’t pack your swimsuits yet.

You can’t tell from this photo, but my face is on fire.

I was expecting to be criticized by the apparent lack of time I spend on my skin.

I pictured in my mind what was going to go down between me and the esthetician:

Her: What do you do to take care of your skin?

Me: Oil of Olay cleanser and moisturizer. Twice a day.

Her: **faints**

But that’s not how it went. More on that in a moment.

When I entered the room, she told me to get undressed. I then had a choice to put on the wrap-around terry-cloth thingy or get under the covers naked.

Since I couldn’t figure out the terry-cloth thingy attachments, I opted for nude. I don’t have a problem being nude when I go for massages, so why should it be different for a facial?

When she re-entered the room, she gasped when she saw the terry-cloth thingy sitting there.

Her: “OH, you chose to go NAKED! Ummm, okaaaeeee then???!!!”

Well damn, lady. You gave me a choice. Don’t make me feel bad about it. I’m pretty certain I’m not the only nude person you “facialed” in your lifetime.

She never asked the question I was fairly certain she’d ask. Instead, my face was immediately accosted by a 50,000 watt light bulb and scrutinized by something that must have been equivalent to the highest powered microscope legally allowed on the market.

Her: Oh honey, do you wax?

Me: I used to but now I don’t because it’s all grey and you can’t see it. 

Her: Oh honey, I’m looking at black hair on your lip. Your face is the first thing people see. You really need to clean this up. And your eyebrows. And oh my, your CHIN!

Me: Wait. What? I don’t have hair on my chin!

Her: Oh honey, you do.

I know I’m starting to go through the change, but come on. Enough WAX-ABLE hair on my CHIN? I’m still trying to deal with this new bit of information.

I may need several hours of psycho-therapy.

She then proceeded to tell me I should get contact lenses. I suppose to be able to see my facial hair. If I need to get contact lenses just so I can see my hairy chin, then I believe I would really need to have my mental stability looked into.

Next on her agenda? Her interest in my diet. I should eat greens. All kinds of different shades. Every chance I get.

The words “I exercise,” came out of my mouth. I don’t know why.

“Oh, honey, eating greens is MUCH better than exercise. How can you expect to lose weight?”

Come on, lady. I’m not THAT fat! I may be nude under here, but you didn’t actually get a peek.

The insults kept on coming. When she told me I don’t want to look like my mother, I nearly took my naked self out of her room.

Instead, I informed her that she didn’t even know my mother, and told her I know how to eat thankyouverymuch. I’ve been eating since 1967, after all. A lot longer than her. But of course she may just look younger. Because you know, she gets facials…and eats greens.

Anyway, she could give me a nice wax right then if I’d like. But it will cost me $15 per section. 

Yup $45 to wax parts of my face. Oh, what the hell. I was having a day at the spa with my girlfriends. Suddenly I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

Off came the hair.

Of course, I’m very sensitive to waxing and so my face looked like a flaming cherries jubilee for three days. But hey. I have no facial hair at the moment. And that was the purpose of that exercise after all. I suppose I should call this a “Win.”

The next item on her list to conquer was the issue of dryness. “Oh honey, your skin is so dry. For $25 I can moisturize you and it will be wonderful. You’ll feel like a new woman.”

Yes. You heard that right. Twenty-five dollars to slather on some lotion. It could have been Ponds Cold Cream for all I knew.

I sat there trying to quickly calculate this twenty-five minute “facial” that really was no facial at all. I initially laid on her spa bed for $75. We were, at that moment, approximately eighteen minutes and $145 into it.

Again, I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

I should have had my tongue cut out. It would have been cheaper.

As she slathered on the $25 moisturizer that I was hoping was not Ponds Cold Cream, she informed me that she had no time to give me an actual facial.

But she could massage my hands and arms.

It’s a miracle. 

If this ordeal and exchange of whatever the hell I just paid $175 for, including the 20% gratuity this “spa” took upon themselves to gift this judgmental, pushy, wax-hungry, over-moisturizing member of the gestapo, wasn’t so comical, I’d be pretty pissed off.

Instead we all laughed it off at the hotel bar with some margaritas and my hairless, red face. Shall I mention that I had a lime in my drink? I think my esthetician would have been proud.

Next time I’ll stick to tweezers and my Olay. Although, that place did smell really good. Oh, what the hell. I’ll throw in a lavender candle, too. I think I have one in my junk drawer.