Keeping Up Appearances
VIRGINIA [10:01 A.M.]: Yeah these days maintenance requires instructions and sadly, these days we require more maintenance.
DONNA [10:01 A.M.]: I have known how to brush my teeth and put on lotion for as long as I’ve had teeth, but now all of these products have special powers and come with instructions and warnings.
VIRGINIA [10:02 A.M.]: I've been doing the teeth whitening thing too...and I THINK I've been doing it right, but I will confess that I only half read the directions. I guess I'll know that I'm doing it wrong if I wake up with my teeth on the pillow.
DONNA [10:03 A.M.]: This is not an attractive picture.
VIRGINIA [10:04 A.M.]: All these directions are about lawsuits anyway. If we've told you what to do and explained all the reasons why the product may not work as "advertised" for YOU, now you can't sue us.
DONNA [10:04 A.M.]: Then there is the alpha hydroxy cream for the feet, so I don't have "biscuit heels", the firming under eye gel, the vitamin C moisturizer. . . It takes forever to get ready in the morning and we haven't even dealt with the lip plumping lipstick or the "age defying" makeup-- with Botafirm. What the hell is Botafirm?Remember when it was Ivory soap, some Jergens and out the door? No law suits required.
VIRGINIA [10:05 A.M.]: Yeah I remember, but you don't really want me to remind you how many years ago that was, do you?
DONNA [10:05 A.M.]: I can still count, thank you. No need to be specific.
VIRGINIA [10:06 A.M.]: What's not about avoiding lawsuits is about being better, more, than you are--because being who and/or what you are is not good enough any more. We all have to be picture perfect and AGELESS! Keeping up appearances has become another job.
DONNA [10:08 A.M.]: All my grandmother ever used was soap and lotion. Yeah, I know, grandmas used to look different then too--more like cuddly cookie bakers. Now we're all trying to look at least as good as the Chico's ad. We want to look youthful for whatever "certain age" we happen to be. It's good to be able to look as young as you feel, but there's a lot of pressure too.
VIRGINIA [10:10 A.M.]: But we (boomers) are in large part responsible for the pressure. We were the ones in charge of advertising, and media when all this stuff got started. At first it was probably about selling more products then it became about resisting aging because we boomers don't intend to be "OLD" at least not in the accepted, traditional way. We are not going gently into middle age much less old age!
DONNA [10:14 A.M.]: I just hope we're taking care of the inside as well as the outside. You know, like mammograms, monitoring blood pressure, glucose levels, bone density. A lovely exterior won't matter if the innards are falling apart.
DONNA [10:15 A.M.]: I guess what we have that's different from our parents is the ability to prevent things. Or at least delay them.
VIRGINIA [10:17 A.M.]: The problem is that no one sees the insides and I think too often we don't worry about them until there's something wrong. We aren't nearly as good at maintaining the inside as the outside. Our parents didn't have the medical/technological developments that help to prevent disease the way we do, but I don't think our attitudes about taking care of that stuff have caught up with the times...yet.
DONNA [10:17 A.M.]: And some of it depends on whether you can afford the porcelain veneers instead of having your teeth in a cup.
VIRGINIA [10:18 A.M.]: And remember when it was only the gray people could change? At least people who couldn't afford plastic surgery.
DONNA [10:23 A.M.]: Now we watch people being "made over" and revealed on TV. Sometimes it’s just wardrobe and hair, sometimes, nose jobs, boob lifts and tummy tucks. Guess that makes it all seem more normal. Like we can save up our shekels and we too can have a better appearance through elective surgery. I gotta tell you, I'm not too thrilled about hair color. A scalpel is out of the question. Guess I'll keep reading the lotion directions. And getting regular mammograms.
VIRGINIA [10:26 A.M.]: And getting old?
DONNA [10:27 A.M.]: If I’m fortunate.
VIRGINIA [10:27 A.M.]: You know I've embraced the hair color thing and I'd probably give surgery a try if/when necessary --esp. the tummy tuck. So not surprisingly we fall on different sides of this coin!
VIRGINIA [10:28 A.M.]: But I get the regular mammogram too...
DONNA [10:31 A.M.]: Well, I'll work on keeping things as lifted as I can-- my bra is already an engineering marvel. And I'll work on giving myself some slack too. I tried a little hair color--didn't like the way it made my hair feel, and truth be told I sorta missed the gray. How sick is that? OK. I didn't miss the gray around my temples--it's a little too "Uncle Ben" for me, but I'll manage.
VIRGINIA [10:32 A.M.]: I'm just not going the gray route. And you've got some kind of "natural girl" hang up. It might work (sort of) when you're still a girl, but those days are long gone for both of us.
DONNA [10:32 A.M.]: But I still like to look stylish too. I'm not turning in my dark wash flared denim for polyester sans-a-belts any time soon.
VIRGINIA [10:33 A.M.]: Glad to hear it!
DONNA [10:34 A.M.]: But while it's on my mind, I gotta go take my multi-vitamin and glucosamine. Gotta keep those knees well oiled.
VIRGINIA [10:34 A.M.]: Happy lubing!