Wrinkles Happen

Marc Freedman thinks this Baby Boomer stuff is all about “encore careers” or “the big shift”—a new stage when we can embrace a fresh outlook on life and think positively about what we are able to contribute to society.

He’s wrong. It’s really about wrinkles.

This past weekend I attended an amazing conference on social media at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Spearheaded by former students of the J School’s Dean of Students, Sree Sreenivasan (who was all over it for the entire 2 ½ days, and, actually, really remembers the names of hundreds upon hundreds of people, if not their Twitter handles), attendees had a chance to consult with “social media doctors” and get free headshots for their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, About.me or whatever accounts.

The photographers were lively and earnest—and had volunteered their time. So I had my headshots done twice. And they are totally awful.

This has nothing to do with the photographers’ skills. It has to do with the fact that I’ve gone all crinkly around the eyes, even when I’m wearing foundation and powder. And my neck, oh, my neck. I now know completely why Nora Ephron wrote her book I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman.

I don’t know when my neck began to look so . . . old. For almost all my life I’ve looked a lot younger than my age. I’m short (very), and so from far away people think I’m a chubby kid. Also, due the miracles of modern hairdressers, my hair is still brownish/blondish. However, it too has changed. I used to have nice wavy hair. Now it’s curly and coarse. On good days it looks OK. When I’ve been to the hairdresser and gotten a profession blow-dry, it looks great. On muggy day, it’s worse than frizzy. Pulling my hair back into a ponytail this morning before I went to the gym, I noticed that my face was surrounded by an aura of “wispies” (what ballet teachers used to call the hairs that slipped out of tightly wound buns).

So I posted on FB that I needed someone who was good with Photoshop to take out the wrinkles and frizz. A high school friend (actually we were in nursery school together; that’s what they called it back then) commented that she couldn’t help, but she felt my pain. Another friend said her sister Photoshopped hers. Cecilia is young enough to have no wrinkles and kind of looks like Sophia Loren. I have no idea what her sibling could have done to make her look better.

So now that I have visible proof of my age in the form of un-photoshopped professionally taken headshots, I decided to come up with “The Baby Boomer’s Seven Wrinkle Principles.”

  • Own your wrinkles. I won’t follow this at all. But if I could, it would be really healthy, I think, you know, psychologically. I know a lot of people my age who have let their gray hair shine in, (I’m thinking of the musical Hair). I admire them. But, not me.
  • Always use sunscreen. This one is really smart. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer along with those sun-begat age spots. However, how is someone supposed to get a suntan if she’s wearing SPF 80?
  • Get great with makeup. So what one does is go to someplace like Bloomingdales, Saks or Nordstrom when a cosmetics line is hosting a visiting make-up artist. Get a free makeover; ask lots of questions; and if they have a diagram, make them fill it out. You don’t have to buy anything: you can say you want to see how it all feels after a few hours. If you do like the products, you can always go back with your diagram. I’ve been using by Lancôme for years, which is expensive and probably not much different from Maybelline. I’ve always thought about taking my diagram to CVS or RiteAid and seeing if I can match the colors at a much lower price. (But this little part of me actually believes the expensive stuff works. So much for science.) The trick is to rotate stores and vendors and get as much beauty advice as you can. I’ve been doing this for a while, but since I hate the way a heavy foundation or powder feels, my wrinkles still show. Hence my need for Photoshop. (You can also MAKE your own lipgloss—a tip for the frugal among us. Here’s a link to the video: WATCH: Homemade Lip Gloss http://huff.to/lf8bX8).
  • Botox. Next.
  • Plastic surgery. As if I could afford it. But I think I might do it. Think=know. Not scared, just broke.
  • Moisturizers. So I use this expensive fancy schmancy stuff from Lancôme, and I’ve been using it for years. Guess what? I still have wrinkles. Consumer Reports gives its highest rating to Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion, and you can buy a 2.5 ounce tube on Amazon for $8.99 (Facial Moisturizers: Best Face Moisturizer Reviews http://bit.ly/lilWuP). But now read this: “One popular misconception involves the relationship between dry skin and wrinkles. Scientists say a moisturizer will smooth skin to temporarily make wrinkles less apparent, but moisturizing your skin will not have any long-term effect on wrinkles.” (Facial Moisturizers Reviews http://bit.ly/kQY58p)
  • Get advice from “wrinkle” blogs. Yes, they’re usually trying to sell you something. You can look at Dr. Alex’s Shrink Your Wrinkles blog (http://www.shrinkyourwrinkles.com/blog/). Or this: Cosmetics Cop on arresting wrinkles | Style Notes blog | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com http://bit.ly/mn06lE. Or read the always brilliant Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times (WRINKLES – Well Blog – NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/kNzAUM).

A friend just posted a picture of me taken over last weekend. I’m asking a question into a microphone. For some reason I’m looking up. To the ceiling. My neck is stretched out in all its wrinkly glory. Thanks for the photo, Rafiq. You are a great guy, but I am not going to post a link to that picture.

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Hey readers: along with posting comments to my FB, you can also post them to this blog. The “comments” box is at the bottom of the post, and the more you comment, the better I do in search engines. Sharing this link on FB also makes me visible to your friends who aren’t my friends (it’s beginning to sound like a little kid song). So, thanks. And for those of you who have wondered what happened to my blog on Blogher—well, it’s gone, along with three years of work, and it wasn’t completely my fault. I made a query about how to cancel the blog, and they just did it. My “How to Get on Facebook” column is coming, soon, I promise. That one you can print out for your friends who are still saying, “I don’t know. What’s in it for me?” because I’ll show what’s in it for them.

Here’s Marc Freedman’s book. It’s really good, though I have other ideas too. I’m going to talk about it in a column one of these days. Marci Alboher likes it a lot, and she’s the best. (You can follow her on Twitter @HeyMarci.) Finally, if you are inclined to read either book mentioned, I suggest your public library, a wonderful institution I have recently re-discovered. If you are the purchase-book kind of person or want to download it to your nook click on either book cover, you’ll go right to BarnesandNoble.com. For your Kindle, well, now you know the name of the book. Amazon will take care of the rest.