For the most part, I accept getting older. It is much preferable to the alternative. And I felt pretty educated about the inevitable bummers.
Decreased metabolism. Of course. Crinkly neck. Not crazy about it, but Nora Ephron told me it was coming. Perimenopause. A convenient excuse for my Mood (uppercase intended).
But there’s one thing I didn’t know about and it bugs me most of all.
The chin hair.
The slow tip of the scale, whereupon estrogen surrenders more of your face to testosterone when you didn’t even know there was going to be a skirmish.
It has been years since I noticed the first one, back when I still ate M&Ms mixed with popcorn at the movie theater and my neck was accordion free. Annoying, yet easily solved with a pair of tweezers.
As I get older, however, there are more. Not enough to send me running to Doctor Google to see if I have a fatal disease, (OK, I lied, but the Internet says I’ll live), but enough to start keeping tweezers in my glove box because it’s the natural morning light that best lays them bare for the taking.
I now get people’s obsession with the uniformity of their lawns. Or their eyebrows. But I know not to pluck those. I was around in the 90s when thin brows were in – hello Kate Moss – and believe me, that’s not easy to come back from. If only chin hairs were equally as ephemeral.
These days I find myself stroking my face like a mad scientist to see if I can feel one before I can see it. I recently saw an e-card that read – Make me one promise. If I end up in a coma, please pluck my chin hair – so I know I am not alone. If I’m really nice to my kids, maybe one of them will come visit me in the assisted living center and do me a solid. Or maybe I won’t care as much then.
I know that there is wisdom in aging. But there is so much unfairness too. The initiative to do things that you don’t have as much energy to accomplish. Bone loss. Having the soundtrack of your youth become elevator music. Why do I have to be Bill Murray chasing the damn gopher around on the back nine too?
Yes, I am fully aware that in this Topsy-turvy world my quills are a minor thing. I’ve also considered the possibility that the madness is also a cause for my current compulsion.
It is no doubt true that in the same way I look back at pictures of myself in my 20s and mutter “why on earth were you worried about that?”, I will be walking oh-so gingerly down a flight of stairs in my 80s – God willing – just thinking about the good old days of my late 40s.
But for now, I’m just a little crazy about my chin. I don’t want it to give my upper lip any ideas.