Thursday, September 17, 2009

Birthdays and Botox

“What are you…in your early fifties?”

Seven words. Spoken without malice by a man with a pleasant smile on his face and innocent curiosity in his eyes.

Seven words. Not intended as insulting or hateful. But, wow…they packed a punch!

See… until I’ve lived through this coming Sunday, September 20th, I consider myself to be in my early FORTIES! This weekend I will turn forty-six, and I will have passed that half-way landmark and moved into another, darker part of that decade. I will be in my late forties.

Who made up these rules, anyway?

I tried not to let that gentleman’s comment get me down. I decided, instead, to blame my brother. See, Tom is a year and a half younger than I am, but his hair has been completely white for several years. And the gentleman in question-- whose mother had never taught him that it’s not polite to ask a maturing, adult woman HER AGE-- knew Tom. Knew my brother was white-haired. Which means old, right? And he knew I was older than that man with the head of snow white hair. So, instead of obsessing on my own graying hair, my wrinkles, and my seemingly excessive aura of maturity, I elected to be upbeat, instead.

I went to the store and bought little brother some hair dye. It’s the least he can do, after setting me up for such disgrace.

Ah, but then reality hit. The very next day I was in the local feed supply store, buying sweet feed and corn for the cattle. And no one in that store knows my brother.

Darn it.

I pulled out the ‘$5.00 off’ coupon I’d received in the mail; a birthday gift from the store owners to me. The cashier scanned the coupon, looked up at me with a grin, and wished me a hearty ‘Happy Birthday!’

I dimpled. It’s always nice to have someone wish you happiness. I thanked him, prepared to send a note to his boss commending him for having such a fine and pleasant employee.

The gentleman said, ‘You’re welcome’, and then stepped back and took an appraising look. From my head to my toes traveled his twinkling eyes.

‘Ooh,’ I thought. ‘I’ve still got it! I’m getting checked out!’

‘So…’ he asked. ‘What are you? Early fifties?’


My mouth fell open. Luckily, nothing tumbled from that chasm, for it would have been guaranteed to have warranted an apology. And I was no longer in the mood to be gracious.

‘No!’ I sputtered.

And then I saw the worry and embarrassment which flitted across his face, and my natural empathy took over. Darn it. I hate it when that happens.

I laughed. I touched his arm. I acted as if he’d just imparted the most amusing joke I’d ever heard. And I forgave him.


The poor man fell all over himself trying to explain why he’d guessed my age to be in the ‘fifties’. His best excuse? He was fifty-two, himself, and he just assumed we were of an age.

I found my own eyes assessing him. And…I was not comforted by what I saw.

Sighing inwardly, I paid for my grain and bade him a pleasant day. As the door closed behind my once-firm, but now-evidently-sagging buttocks, I heard him call out.

‘Well…Happy Birthday!’


So, now I know. I look to be almost ten years older than my actual age. Do I surrender gracefully? Or do I go to the salon for some brown coloring for my hair? Call the local plastic surgeon for a face lift, a tummy tuck, a butt boost? Should I start thinking about getting my face waxed, for surely there are bound to be stray hairs sprouting across my chin and upper lip! Botox injections? Support hose? What should I do?

It’s a bit mind-boggling, and not a little disheartening. I guess I’ll think on it for awhile before making a decision.

Besides, I’m busy.

I’ve got a letter to write to the owner of that feed store.


  1. Happy Birthday to my YOUNGER sister! We only get better as we a fine wine with a subtle bouquet... Bare Minerals,Clairol, and Victoria's Secret and no one would ever guess....

  2. Hiya, Sis! Thank you for the birthday wishes!!

    Victoria's Secret, ay? You know, I just heard on the news that they've discovered a pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers in an old trunk... and they had a 52 inch waistline. Now we know what Victoria's secret was. A REALLY sturdy corset!

    Love you.

  3. Learnt my lesson when working at the cellar door and asked a lady. 'When's the baby due?'
    Guess what she said....yep you got it in one...

  4. Ali g, you DIDN'T!!!!

    Well, guess what? I wrote a little book (or manuscript, I suppose, as it's never been published) titled 'No, I'm not Pregnant, I'm just Fat (but thanks so much for asking!)'

    Even did a little 'stand-up' fundraiser for our local library using material from it.

    Snicker. That is so awful...and I'm glad you learned your lesson. Only when babe is at breast can you assume a woman has been pregnant...and never before!

  5. Hi Karen,

    Happy Birthday & don't worry about the grey hairs - I get mine streaked (it's a good camouflage) washed & trimmed (it's amazing how much better you feel after a good head job...)

  6. Dozy, I KNEW I liked you!!


    I shall give your suggestion some serious consideration. :o)

    And thanks for the birthday wishes. I had several friends (one of them is a fellow you know!) make a point of wishing be a happy day, and that's all it took to make it so! I'm a very cheap date, you know! (Please do not confuse that with a harlot, will you?)

    Any more dust storms, or has it settled down? I'm 'feeling' for the farmers tonight...I dug up 150 potato plants today, and picked about 200 tomatoes, and I was thinking about that Aussie topsoil while I worked. Trying to come up with something new to end the drought down rubber boots got eaten by the neighbor's goat. Wonder what that'll do to the taste of her milk...


  7. Karen...Happy Belated Birthday!!!
    I must say... you don't look a day over 40 :-0 Hope to see you soon. Laura

  8. Thanks, Laura!

    You should bring that teen of yours (and friends, if she wants) to the huge haunted corn maze in Farmington on Hallowe'en. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. My friend Patty is helping with some of the scary inter-active displays, and I think I'm going to jump out at people from a coffin on one of the turns through the field. Heck, according to the men in the county, I look half-dead already...might's well make it work for me!

    Heh. Might as well have fun with it...there's not a thing I can do about it. I'd rather get old than face the alternative!

    With any luck, I'll see you soon!