By the time you read this column, I’ll be (GULP!) 52 years old. And now that I’m firmly planted in my 50s I’ve learned a few tips and secrets to keep you looking, or at the very least, feeling young. Or at the very, very least, having people think you look younger than you actually are. If you find yourself in, or nearing, the same decade I’m currently wallowing in, perhaps these tips will be helpful to you, too.
1. Never look at yourself in the mirror with your reading glasses on.
Seriously. And let me repeat it, NEVER. LOOK. AT. YOURSELF. IN. THE. MIRROR. WITH. YOUR. READING. GLASSES. ON. I not only used all caps because I was shouting at you, but because I know that – if you’re like me – you can barely see the page without your readers.
And that’s my point here. Reading glasses are for reading, not for checking out your face. God takes our vision away at 40 for a reason. So we all look like a Barbara Walters special 24/7. And for the love of all that’s good, never look at yourself in your magnifying mirror with your reading glasses on. Your head will explode. It’s a medical fact.
1B. In fact, don’t look at ANY part of your body with your reading glasses on.
See above. I also call this the, “What the hell is that?!?” phenomenon.
Five words I seem to utter daily. I suddenly discover lines above my lip that weren’t there the last time I looked…“What the hell is that?!?” Or the blue lines on my lower legs that appeared overnight…“What the hell is that?!?” I can’t even talk about the crepe paper décolletage that’s made its way onto my chest. A few years ago, the wrinkles would disappear about an hour after I woke up; now they seem to stay all day. Scarves and turtlenecks are good for this. If it’s July, you’re out of luck. Or that creaking sound I get in my feet when I first get up in the morning? I mean… seriously…”What the hell is THAT?!?” It’s best not to examine yourself too closely. Keep those reading glasses firmly focused in your large print edition books.
2. Sleeves are your best friend.
What the heck happened to my arms when I turned 50? As few as five years ago, I was flaunting a set of tanned biceps I was fairly proud of. I could still perform the Rose Bowl queen wave without hitting myself in the eye with my flappy underarms. I could still toss a ball to a child in a park without worrying that the backs of my arms would catapult forward into my elbow like a misshapen water balloon as the ball released from my fingers. But in a recent photo of myself wearing short sleeves, I looked more like a linebacker than the 46-year- old sun-kissed girl in a halter dress from a few years before. And this raised the question: Am I never allowed to show my arms in public again? Is there a statute of limitations on “arm-showing” for women past a certain age? Am I doomed to hide behind sweaters and sleeves for the rest of my life?
Unfortunately, in my case, unless I decide to pick up a barbell in the near future (which most likely won’t be happening since my hands are full of bags of Doritos), I’m afraid my days of comfortably airing anything above my elbows is over.
3. Bangs are your second best friend. (a.k.a. Bangs are nature’s Botox)
The bridge of my nose now contains 6 horizontal lines. I’m not sure what facial position caused these lines to form, but it looks like someone ran a rake over my nose. I’ve yet to dabble in injectables. I keep telling myself, “One more year. One more year.” But staring at these ridges, I’m at a loss for what to do to fix them. I asked my dermatologist the safest thing to do to cover these wrinkles. “Bangs,” he said. “Bangs?” Thinking this was some new form of filler, I ask, “Is that a new brand of Juvéderm?” He says, no, and tugs at the hair above my eyebrows— “Bangs!” So, as long as I’m not caught in a windstorm, the things that need to be hidden are hidden. My hairstylist has turned into my dermatologist for the time being and unless someone looks at my face with their reading glasses on, they’ll be none the wiser.
4. Avoid “Mom Jeans” at all costs.
“Mom Jeans” covers a whole array of old people clothing: high waists, elastic jeans, pockets that ride high or any sort of sweater vest that screams, “My Aunt Velma made this for me for Christmas last year.” I’m not condoning hot pants or tube tops (even using the terms, “hot pants” and “tube tops” ages me), but I am suggesting trying to dress youthful regardless of the birth year on your driver’s license.
And finally, when someone asks you your age, lie. Come on, practice with me, “How old are you?” “42.” See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? The good part of being in your 50s is that half the time you can’t even remember how old you are—let alone your name—so you’re really not lying at all.