Vanity’s mechanical handmaiden
Posted on February 12th, 2013
need this machine. I told Scott so, and that I would only need to spend $185 to procure one.
“It does what now?” he asked.
“Hm,” I began, “it buzzes away the lines under your eyes when you move it around in little circles there. And it comes with its own serum!”
He was not impressed by this last bit although, truthfully, he hadn’t been impressed by the first part either.
Right around the time I turned 40, I remember listening to my friend T talk about the way her skin had begun to remain pressed into place when she woke up in the morning. The surface of her face had begun to develop a new and temporary pattern based on the way she’d slept during the night, rippling and stretching out like slept-in bedclothes.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I happily told her—until I did, of course, a month or two later.
When I go to buy make-up at a cosmetics counter in the mall, God help me, I am filled to my eyeballs with manufactured need. I can feel myself lowering my lids at my authentically wrinkled sisters, striding now into their seventies with bags of anti-ageing everything gripped in their ringed talons and I think, ‘Yes, but what good does that stuff do you? I’m the one who could still benefit from those jars! There’s still time for me!’
And I am ashamed.
And then, on this last trip to get moisturizer, the sales clerk buzzed my eyes with this thing that with a clearer mind and heart I can tell you is pretty made up—like someone had taken a joke store hand buzzer and wrapped it in credibility-lending plastic—and told me how amazing the results were. They certainly seemed so to me at the time though fighting a cold, recovering from an 11-hour-field trip and suffering from some degree of dehydration, I probably could have seen equally solid results from a glass of water and a two hour nap.
I am putting away my youth. Well, kind of—I don’t want to pretend I’m being all that graceful about it. Let’s just agree that my youth is leaving me for someone…younger, as it should. Aging is putting me eye-to-eye with my own vanity, however, and I’m disheartened to find it so formidable. I didn’t know this about myself until now. I liked the way I looked and that’s as much thought as I gave it. Now that things are changing, shifting and, yes, sliding, I can feel myself tightening my emotional grip on a state of being that has already ceased to be.
In the end, all of that straining is just going to cause more wrinkling, though. Vanity, like so many other pursuits, is best left to the young.∗