I had the most humbling experience yesterday. While in Salt Lake I ran into a gal I went to college with. This was weird on two fronts:
- I didn’t go to college in Salt Lake City, or anywhere in Utah, for that matter. I went to Cal Berkeley, so to see this woman out of context kind of threw me for a loop. But more importantly…
- I didn’t recognize her because, well, um…how can I put this…she did not age well. And by “not age well” I don’t mean she simply crossed over to that stately look always played by Helen Mirren in those indie movies that consistently get nominated for Oscars. No, I mean this poor woman skipped a couple of decades, bypassing both MILF and cougar, and went straight to being handed the senior menu at Denney’s.
Now, normally I would be about as concerned over this as a hangnail. But as I stood there marveling at how the myriad of wrinkles on her face resembled the New York subway map, all I kept thinking was, “Oh my god, this woman is only a few years older than I am!” And when I say, “a few years,” I mean anywhere between four and 20. But just to put things in perspective she and Michelle Pfeiffer could possibly run into each other at one of their high school reunions. No, seriously. Back in college, she told me she went to high school with Michelle Pfeiffer. Except now she looks old enough to be Michelle Pfeiffer’s mother.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall…
I have to admit, when I look in the mirror I like to pretend that I lean more in the Michelle Pfeiffer camp than in the one with the ladies who look like they should be picking out aluminum siding colors for their doublewides. But then I got to wondering, am I delusional? Because standing right here before me was someone very near my age that remarkably resembles any one of the winged monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. Only taller. And less fit. But the wrinkles are pretty much dead on. Could I possibly wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly look like that?
When it was my turn to speak I didn’t know what to say because all I really wanted to ask was, “Good lord, woman, what the hell happened to you?” Back in the day she was a goddess that by today’s standards would make Scarlet Johansen look like a horse. And since I was a tall, skinny specimen who didn’t hit puberty until about age 30, I was just happy to hang out with her and gaze upon the men she discarded like used toothpicks.
This put wrinkles and aging in a whole new light. It was sobering to realize that she was my contemporary. This was junior high all over again, but in a weird, alternate universe.
But then she did something that made me feel a little better. She lit up a cigarette.
Adding Up the Wrinkles One Puff at a Time
“Oh, you took up smoking?” I asked.
“Yeah, I had to in order to keep my weight down when I modeled in New York.”
Now I knew I had entered the Twilight Zone.
“YOU modeled in New York?” I inquired, trying not to sound like she’d just slapped me in the face with a tuna.
“Yeah. Swimsuits and underwear. In fact, Mark Wahlberg and I were the his-and-her faces of Calvin Klein. They were always jetting us off to someplace warm like Aruba or Martinique just to get the perfect bikini shots.”
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Nicotine. Exposure to UV rays…
“I’m sure you were drinking lots of champagne, too,” I eagerly added.
“No… Not so much…”
“But I did have to go into rehab later for my addiction to tequila and rum.”
YES! The trifecta; cigarettes, sun, and booze. I didn’t even bother to ask about drugs because I didn’t want to appear too greedy. All that mattered is that she looked like ten miles of a decrepit mud fence because of her lifestyle. Yeah, maybe there were some genetics at play, but I chose to ignore that. I’d like to think that healthy living stacks the deck in your favor somewhat. Because if later in life I find out that being gluten-free, dairy-free, and not eating red meat actually causes cancer, I’m going to have to kick somebody’s ass big time. (Right after I have a juicy steak, with cheese fries and a malted milkshake.)
After a few minutes of catching up my college buddy and I hugged, exchanged contact info on our iPhones, and promised to keep in touch, even though we both knew we wouldn’t.
On my way home I felt pretty good about myself and decided to stop at the liquor store to get a bottle of wine. A little splash with dinner was in order. But just one glass. After all, as fate had so poignantly pointed out to me that day, I certainly didn’t want to overdo it. Not at my age, anyway.
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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on FirstRun.tv. She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.