The stereotype of a man’s midlife crisis is a sports car or getting the earring they never had. Ewwww. Women tend to slide more gradually into our midlife. I suppose I shouldn’t stereotype, so let me share my ugly slide towards middle age. I don’t plan any plastic surgery, like ever. The best one liner I heard was a woman who said she wouldn’t do that because she wanted her body to decompose when she died. My midlife crisis involves fake hair and neck skin, so hang on tight. And please take my picture from above, everyone knows that is most slimming for a selfie. Chin out, eyes up, camera above you just a bit….ready for that closeup!
As a teenager I was raised well, my natural appearance encouraged by my Father who always preferred a clean, makeup free face on a woman. What a wonderful message for a young girl to receive! I still dabbled in makeup and developed my love of a deep retro red lipstick. My Grandma taught me that some lipstick brightens the face so nicely. She wore a very optimistic pink and I still hear her in my heart whenever the topic of lipcolor comes up. In my 20’s and 30’s I wore makeup here and there but often had a bare face with the red lipstick center stage. I left my lip mark on cards, letters, bathroom mirrors and unwitting victims. Daily Lipstick carried me through adulthood beautifully until recently.
When I reached a certain age, it seemed my face began to change. I’d become accustomed to middle age post baby weight gain, and honestly did not care enough to fight back vey hard, but my face! My skin! I began wearing makeup almost daily and spending more money on it. I’d start with just a little something and then keep adding because I felt so much better about how I looked. Then I noticed moisturizer wouldn’t fix my neck. I thought it was just dry, and I won’t admit here how much money I have spent experimenting with mid priced face and neck creams.
One day, amidst all of this vain struggle, I remembered the miracle of a falsie hairpiece. In my twenties I had a clip on ponytail. It was marvelous….a waterfall of long shiny hair I could butterfly clip onto my teeny nub of a samurai ponytail. I would feel like a Victoria’s Secret bombshell, a goddess, even with unwashed, unstyled hair. It took two minutes and I felt like a movie star. I still cannot explain it. I did however, in a rash act of humorous showmanship, remove my clip-on ponytail at work during a staff meeting. I did it to demonstrate the dramatic “before and after” difference. I do not think they were impressed…more like amused horror. It wasn’t a classy move, but aren’t we all idiots in our youth?
My hair is fine and usually a dyed variation of auburn. I never grow it out well or long but have always coveted long, lustrous, full hair. My dream hair is long, red and curly. I once stalked a woman at a downtown South Bend event because she had my perfect hair. I asked if I could touch it, which I now know is creepy. Curly red headed Cathy Dietz and I became friends nonetheless.
Recently a new friendship led to an adventure at M&M Wig shop in Merrillville, Indiana. I found a fabulous ponytail clip to match my hair and immediately felt twenty years younger. I felt thinner and smarter and less like someone’s frumpy mother. My new friend Kat also bought a clip in ponytail and soon we were posing in the preschool pick up line taking pictures of our fabulousness and giggling like middle schoolers. It was ridiculous and wonderful. So great.
I was embarrassed at first, and you may think I should be embarrassed still! I am a wild woman with intelligence, a fantastic life, friendships, deep faith and strong ties to my community. I still want to be pretty. I want to feel pretty. It gets harder for me to feel pretty and my suddenly bountiful hair is one way that works for me. If you see me one week with chin length hair, and the next week it’s cascading down my back, just smile, wink and tell me I look beautiful. Keep the camera higher than my chin, and I am ready for my close up!