I can’t remember how old I was when I noticed in a mirror check what would now be called “crepey skin” at the base of my throat. “But when I do this,” I said to myself as I pulled my chin up, stretching the skin, “it goes away….” Except it didn’t. That was my first official sign of aging. Somewhere during that time I also had to admit that those freckles on the back of my hands weren’t and that the chain holding my reading glasses around my neck wasn’t a fashion statement, but because I both needed them and forgot where they were more often. (Bifocals were not far in my future.)
So when I saw Jane Seymour [That is a woman hard to love. She’s some sort of freak of nature who never ages. Seriously, doesn’t she look just like Dr. Quinn even now? Maybe even better?] on an infomercial talking about something called crepey skin, I was all like, “Hey! I’ve got that! Cool!” Because by now under what other people would call their biceps, my skin had gotten soft and slightly wrinkly.
But wait. The infomercial was for getting rid of it. So crepey skin is bad? Oh! So maybe I should wear longer sleeves. I found myself checking out my legs – how crepey were they? And forget about looking in the mirror at that neck anymore. I’m not doing too badly at my age right now, but I’m destined to be a Crepey Monster in no time! Jane – HELP!
The people of my generation and about twenty years ahead of me are the Rulers of the Infomercial. If those things aren’t appealing to the only generation with enough money to contribute to children needing sponsors, or surgery, or reacting to Sarah MacLachlan songs, then they’re touting hearing aids, that stuff for men which I refuse to discuss here [but can somebody please oh please explain what’s with the couple sitting in two separate tubs outside watching a sunset?], and now crepey skin.
People, old happens. And nobody believes in fighting the signs of aging more than I do. But it’s not the outward signs of aging that I’m fighting.
I cross stitch like a lot of women my age, but the sampler I made for my kids’ new house said “Bless This Hizzle fo’ Shizzle.” I’m a Nana from bow to stern and have taught my little one how to cook a few things, but we also have questionably appropriate conversations involving the word “poop.”
My grandmother was short, frumpy, grey-headed, and had that higher-pitched old lady voice. But she was known to kick her feet in a modified jig and sing naughty little jingles. I could share any joke with her and she would lose it with laughter. She would buy my favorite cherry vanilla ice cream when she knew I was coming and when I opened it, the top would be pock-marked from where she picked out the cherries. My grandmother looked old, but my grandmother was never old.
Grandma, then, had the perfect cure for crepey skin: Don’t internalize it. Ignore what’s on the outside, or wear it like a badge if you’d rather, but don’t you dare let that crepey stuff creep into your heart.
Sorry, Jane. No sale.