Monday, December 6, 2010

Drawing a curtain over wrinkles (or a rideau over rideaux for my French friends)

Drawing a curtain over wrinkles (or drawing a rideau over rideaux for the benefit of my French readers)

There comes a time in your life when you look in the mirror and discover that those gentle, on your face which were a mark of character during the first flushes of youth, now resemble large ploughed furrows, your crows feet now belong to an ostrich and you bear more than a passing resemblance to Churchill the dog. That time has, sadly, come to me. I put it down to an overdose of sunshine in the Middle East in my early years, followed by 5 years of French summers in my later ones. Those of my 'amis' in France who tease me about cold English summers will be laughing on the other sides of their faces when they are a bunch of weatherbeaten old hags while for me, sun damage will be a thing of the past. (Joking girls, you know I love you! Mwah) It has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with my age and the first person who suggests it will be in line for a good slapping.

So, it was time to contemplate my options:

Botox - have you noticed how many expressionless people there are on the television these days. Smooth, unlined foreheads they may have but equally they have lost the ability to emote with anything other than their eyes - their eyebrows being chemically disabled. It's led to a plethora of boggle eyed presenters who show rage, sadness and happiness with varying degrees of eyelid gymnastics, giving them the look of someone who is on a day pass from the local 'home for the mentally challenged'.

For a needle-phobic such as myself, the result of 98 blood tests in one week, this isn't really an option anyway even if I could a) afford it and b) get over the fact that I was allowing myself to be injected with botulism.

The Croydon Facelift (also known as the Romford Facelift) - this consists of pulling your hair back into an uber-tight ponytail, thus stretching the forehead and eyes and flattening out wrinkles. It's also best worn with large hoop earrings, a Juicy Couture tracksuit in a charming shade of pink and a fake Burberry handbag, said tracksuit being low-slung enough to reveal the tattoo just above your bum crack saying 'Chardonnay' and 'Ronaldo'. This has also led to the misapprehension that most of Croydon/Romford is people by Eurasians.

Sadly I've just had all my hair cut off and, in order to get it into a ponytail I would, most likely, have to wrench it out by the follicles. There's also the issue of the tattoo, being needle-phobic. By the way, just in case you were wondering, my children aren't called either Chardonnay or Ronaldo.

Expensive moisturiser - widely advertised on the television and in high-end women's magazines, which promises to be a facelift in a pot and take 10 years off your face.

With my newly earned paypacket burning a hold in my pocket, this was the option I went for and, with the prospect of our WI weekend at Kirsty Allsop's, where 'some of the girls will be 40' (I remember it so well) there might be a fighting change I'd be able to pass myself off as one of them rather than some aged aunt brought along as a charity case.

Showered, buffed and shining, I slathered said miracle cream over my face then went to bed in the sure knowledge that tomorrow I'd be a new person, or at least look like one.

Tomorrow dawned bright and clear, which is more than can be said for my complexion which looked as if I'd developed a nasty case of measles overnight. Big, red blotches had appeared on my cheeks and chin and I looked like the end result of a nasty accident with a pan of hot fat. I was, of course, going to work that day too. My skin certainly felt 'lifted' but it was more like the top 5 layers had been lifted off, leaving my nerve endings exposed to the elements.

In a panic, I slapped on some more. I clearly hadn't used enough. My face was now burning, reminiscent of the time, many years ago, when I went to a Virgin Vie party where we had to divide up our faces into imaginary squares and try out various different cosmetics. I ended up looking like a Battenburg cake.

I rarely wear foundation but in all honesty, I couldn't go out looking as I did for fear of frightening small children and curdling all the milk in Morrisons. Unfortunately, I'm not as brown as when we lived in France so the only available foundation was several shades too dark giving the impression that I was striped like an ocelot but not nearly so cute.

I went to work and spent the day rushing backwards and forwards to the toilet to check on my patches. The other ladies in the office gave me sympathetic looks, assuming wrongly that I must have cystitis. Why else would I be in the toilet every few minutes?

By the next morning, my face looked like a New Variant Croydon Facelift. My skin was tight as a bongo drum but my eyes had the crepy look of an 80 year old woman. I puckered up my lips (not sure why) in the mirror and watched in horror as deep creases remained around my mouth. Overnight I had become Mother Teresa but without the good works.

Foundation was useless as the red patches had now taken on a scaly appearance much like a carp. Even my BeneFit 'Dr Feelgood' cream, which has helped me cover a multitude of sins in the past, wasn't up to the task. I stayed in the house and didn't even answer the door when the postman called.

By day 3 I was just about acceptable for public viewing and a short trip to the supermarket confirmed that milk was safe around me. The 'very expensive facelift in a pot' is packaged up ready for it's return from whence it came with a stiff letter and request for a refund.

For the moment, E45 and wrinkles will have to do (and maybe I'll just grow a fringe!)


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