Three years ago, I wrote that I was Determined to Age Gracefully. Now I'm rethinking my choice of the word "gracefully" because for some reason it makes me think of Grace Kelly, the actress who had flawless skin and an elegant neck. That mental image doesn't quite match the face and neck I see in the mirror. Then again, she was only in her twenties.
Speaking of necks, I finally read Nora Ephron's essay I Feel Bad About My Neck. I feel bad about my neck too! I wish I had appreciated its firmness when I was young!
For years, I have been very good about putting daily moisturizer with UV protection and nightly rejuvenating cream on my face. I forgot about my neck. But just as Nora said, you can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes but "short of surgery, there's not a damn thing you can do about a neck. The neck is a dead giveaway. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck." Truth.
As I age blithely (imagining Blythe Danner), I can't escape the honesty of my neck. I have experienced the shock of seeing its reflection in the side view mirror when I ride in the passenger seat. Again, from Nora: "if you want to get really, really depressed about your neck," look in the rearview mirror.
Nora had a couple of suggestions for coping with a neck that is loose, crepey, saggy, flabby or all of the above. One, avoid looking in the mirror if at all possible or you may find yourself shrieking, Eek! I have a wattle! If you must pass a mirror, avert your eyes or squint so that if anything bad looks back at you, your eyes are already half closed. While on vacation a few months ago, we went to a restaurant and sat opposite a mirrored display case. Watching the old lady across from me nearly ruined my appetite. I should have squinted.
Two, practice "compensatory dressing" even if it means you have to eliminate 90% of the clothes you might otherwise buy because the neckline isn't flattering. Think turtlenecks and scarves and chokers, which perhaps could be called wattle wear. Sadly, I only have one turtleneck and am not a fan of scarves. What'll I wear now?
As I age rosily (imagining Rose of the Golden Girls), I'll try to remember to moisturize my wattle as I squint at the old lady in the mirror.