Ageing? The key is in denial

I was up in Miami
recently, striding through the mall as one does, trying to get the last couple
of items I needed before returning to the rental car and motoring to the
airport to catch my flight.  At such times
it is best not to make eye contact with the sellers positioned by those mobile
carts who are certainly more aggressive than the average bear.  As I sped up to pass one, I looked briefly in
their direction and they sensed blood in the water.  Would madam like to take a quick look?  What caught my eye was an arrangement of
undergarments obviously designed to corral one’s shape, including something
that looked like control-top pantyhose with two small pillows sewn into the
back.  It struck me that a) If there’s
one thing I did NOT need it was extra layers added to my rump; and b) Have we
really gotten to the stage where we are buying fake bums?  There are so many products out there to help
us adjust the perception of our looks and body; it’s gone WAY beyond makeup
these days!

I was allowed to wear
“face paint” at around the age of 17, and even though it was only mascara and
lip gloss, I sure made the most of it.  I
layered that stuff on so thick (as only a rank amateur can) that my eyes ended
up framed by what appeared to be a collection of dead wolf spiders.  And my lips were shiny, shiny, shiny – like
I’d eaten a dozen heavily buttered crackers. 
Over time I learned how to apply it all with more grace, but I thought
that more was always better – the foolish notions of the young.  Makeup is great for hiding blemishes,
enhancing our best features and downplaying what we perceive to be our
imperfections and flaws, but less really is more as you become older…unless
you’re Joan Collins.  Terrific advice –
but don’t judge me when I’m out looking like Tammy Faye Baker.  Saying it is one thing; putting it into
practice is quite another.  And by the
way, I would never recommend waterproof mascara.  That stuff is like epoxy resin

Do I dye my
hair?  You betcha!  It’s all brave talk – “I’m going to allow
myself to go gray naturally” until those first silver soldiers start poking out
from the scalp, then it’s time to run to the hairdresser PDQ lest an army start
taking up ranks along your parting.  I
used to go with a sort of orangey-red colour, so it looked as though my entire
head was on fire, but then I went darker and darker.  I have always taken my mother’s advice
however (who privately despairs at her daughter’s lack of attempts to calm down
her wild mane) and have never gone as far as dying it solid black, lest I get
mistaken for a plump Ozzy Osbourne.

Spanx is a company
that has made millions with its products, designed to take pounds off the frame
and smooth the silhouette.  (I might
mention that the founder of Spanx, whom I have met, doesn’t have an ounce of
fat on her.)  I have owned a pair of
Spanx, and lemme tell ya that although they’re effective, you need to pull them
on in a well-air-conditioned room with the addition of a ceiling fan, no
deadline and no one else around you unless they want to be yelled at.  Apply makeup once the perspiration has
subsided.  When you’re finally strapped
in I wouldn’t recommend drinking too much water on your night out, if you know
what I mean.  Those toilet cubicles can
be restrictive when you need a lot of elbow room to manoeuvre…

One garment that
really doesn’t offer much in the way of hidden additions to flatter is the
bathing suit.  Growing up on an island in
the Caribbean inevitably meant beach parties and swimsuits.  I’ve always been pretty bottom heavy (I
prefer the term “curvy”) with the kind of plump hips that made me very popular
with camel wranglers in Egypt last year. 
Apparently I would have been worth quite a few Dromedaries if I’d been
interested in marriage.  Back in the 80’s
when those high-cut bikinis and one-pieces were all the rage, I was
hard-pressed to find anything that would suit me.  It also didn’t help that I was white as
Crisco.  After subjecting everyone to my
zaftig form in a neon pink number that would now be considered a relic from the
good ol’ days of Poison, I finally found some models that better suited my
frame.  Subtle padding will accentuate
the positives of your figure, but man can swimsuit shopping be tough!  I have the solution – how about going back to
the old days of neck-to-ankle onesies so we can all wear our Spanx
underneath?!  Who’s with me?!  Bueller? 

Of course nowadays if
you’re not happy with your body or your looks, you can go the more radical
plastic surgery route.  So far I ain’t
bitin’, but then I’m pretty happy with how I look for my age.  Sure there are some things I’d change if I
magically could, but long ago I realized that Vogue wouldn’t be calling me for
a multi-page spread, so why sweat the small stuff?  If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the
years it is to avoid those 10x mirrors they sell everywhere.  They may help you pluck your eyebrows like an
expert, but prepare to enjoy your pores with new eyes.  I swear I could see the Sea of Tranquility on
my left cheek when I foolishly purchased one. 
Never again.  In fact I don’t wear
my glasses when I look in the mirror before I go out – it’s like instant soft
lighting without renovating the bathroom. 
Yessir, denial – that’s the key! 
It’s not just a river in Egypt…