Writing about facelifts, which I did recently, I came across one woman who described the nip-and-tuck she’d arranged during the pandemic as similar to a “shopping spree.” The menu of options was so varied, she encouraged one of her daughters to join her to make similar improvements. (“A Face Only a Mother Could Buy,” by April Long, Town&Country, November 2020, pg. 58.)
Surgical escapes, like that one, are becoming a family affair, says one doctor. Multiple sets of siblings, their spouses, and parents are showing up at hospitals with matching overnight bags. “There’s nothing like watching each other’s bruises fade to build as a bond,” she adds. (Ibid, pg. 58)
In my mind’s eye, I imagine how Norman Rockwell would depict this holiday season—a family gathered around the turkey, their faces swaddled in bandages while father in his rhinoplasty prepares to carve. Despite their Botoxed lips, the twins seated at the end of the table, manage a thin smile.
Good luck to them, these people who embrace the cutting edge. At age 84, I doubt there are enough staples to hold my chin in place. Like Gloria Steinem, I’ll settle for remembering the name of the person seated beside me at dinner– recall which the world-renowned feminist insists is “as good as an orgasm.” (“Proust Questionnaire,” Vanity Fair, November 2020, pg. 98.)
A painless and cheaper way to improve one’s appearance is good posture. My mother always said so, and my teachers, and the librarian who drew her fingernail down my back where I sat hunched over with a copy of Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Young people have had little time to perfect the slouch, though many try. Even so, the skill comes with time and practice. By 50, I’d managed shoulder humps. By 55, they were large enough to leave the impression I was balancing loaves of bread,
Not thrilled by the effect, I managed a few lessons in what’s called The Alexander Technique. The exercises focus on feet, hips, and neck to increase a person’s awareness of how to move comfortably in space. Unfortunately, the lessons are expensive and, if not practiced, are soon forgotten. I’ve found sneaking into the children’s wing of the library helps. Inevitably, a librarian will jab her finger into my spine. That remedy is so much cheaper than lessons.
Swiss finishing schools put great emphasis on posture, I’m told. The matron of one of these insists good posture is more than a sign of good breeding. It shows respect for others. (“How Not to Be a Slouch,” by Garrett Munce, Town&Country, November 2020, pg. 59.) I’m unsure why this is so. Perhaps it has to do with body language, a slouch suggesting indifference or disrespect. If true, I apologize to everyone I’ve passed in the street, especially those I tricked into believing I was juggling loaves of bread.
Lately, I’ve considered wearing pastels to improve my appearance. Fuchsias slouch without apology. Like them, I’ll send my silken, pastel petals dancing in the wind. Everyone near my age should do the same. We’ve lived long enough to be old. That’s cause enough to celebrate.