How to tell if a woman is over 40…

a-ha 11

a-ha 11 (Photo credit: thierry.cote)

Do you think she’s in her late thirties or early forties?  How often do we guesstimate someone’s age? All the time.  At my age, the obsession of looking young/old for your actual biological age becomes fanatical.  So to make this job easier, I thought I would devise a little test which will accurately pin down whether a woman is under 40 or over 40. I realise this is of no great consequence nor life-changing in anyway but it’s kept me amused for the last half an hour and on a Monday I’ll run with anything that I find semi-amusing.

So, here goes, a woman is over 40 if…

– she has begun to express a desire to or has actually started to visit garden centres on a regular basis.  The odd trip to a garden centre to buy a ready planted-up hanging basket does not count and should be taken as a sure sign that a woman is still in her thirties. The sign to look out for that this has been replaced with regular and much longer visits is the acquisition of a garden centre loyalty card.

– she suddenly cuts a fringe into her hair.  This budget Botox alternative is a desperate attempt to cover up the wrinkles on the forehead but is almost as obvious an admission of ageing as the inability to raise your eyebrows after Botox.

– she has a glass of water for every glass of wine. This is a combination of middle age sensible, responsible behaviour and a morbid fear of the forties’ hangover. Although largely effective at avoiding the “hammer in the brain” feeling the next morning (and for the next 5 days when you are over 40), it does have the rather undesirable side effect of requiring numerous bathroom visitations through the night.

– she visibly shudders at the mention of wearing little shorts with opaque tights underneath. Never in the history of fashion to my mind has there been a trend which is so not designed for the over 40s. Any woman sporting this trend is either under 40, an ex-supermodel or frankly delusional.

– she knows exactly who Morten Harket and John Taylor from Duran Duran are. Say no more. Enough said.  She also knows who Harry Styles is but is acutely aware that she is old enough to have gone through school, university, two years of a job and then given birth to him.

– she remembers writing SWALK and LOL (original meaning) on letters. She also can’t quite bring herself to writing ‘u’ for ‘you’ and ‘4’ for ‘for’ when texting and always texts in full sentences – noun, verb, object etc.

– she always tries to stay in on either Friday or Saturday night.  The ability to manage two nights out in a row significantly diminishes after the age of 40 and becomes nigh on impossible after 45.  Anyway, staying in with a bottle of wine, a takeaway and Ant and Dec on the TV is ideal, isn’t it?

– she remembers when the Blue Peter garden got vandalised and it couldn’t just be fixed with double-sided sticky tape and “who shot JR?”.  These were her first encounters with crime.

– she suddenly understands the point of a lip liner pencil. Having always thought it was yet another one of those beauty cons, she now realises that without it she runs the risk of being mistaken for a clown in Billy Smart’s Circus.

– Finally, she starts blogging and banging on about it being her time now….

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Woman, 40, makes anti-ageing discovery of the 21st century…

Shar Pei

Shar Pei (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG (heavily into my text lingo now that I’ve finally realised that LOL is “laugh out loud” and not “lots of love” which I am fairly sure everyone of my generation thought it was) – today has been a revelation.

I have discovered something totally life-changing.  I feel like I imagine Isaac Newton felt when an apple fell from a tree on his head and he formulated his gravity theory. OK, my discovery is not sort of life-changing in an understanding-the-world sense which gravity clearly is, but for me it was a Damascene moment.

What you’re asking?  What have I discovered?  Well, you know me, always keen to share.  I’m not going to keep my little secret from you like a scientist might with a new theory until he had tested it fully.  I don’t need to do that because it is so beautifully simple, so utterly straightforward…the “retouch” button in iPhoto.

As you know I have been sweating all the turning 40 stuff over the last few months and one of the things that has caused me serious angst has been the appearance of wrinkles, sneaky little things creeping up on me so that I have seriously begun to question whether I part-share the same genetic coding as a Shar Pei.

In a previous blog post, I debated to B or not to B – to Botox or not to Botox. I concluded that it wasn’t for me although I have been sorely tempted. In yet another desperate attempt to halt the ageing process (I’ve given up on reversing it to any visible degree), I have been trying out these CACI facials.  Apart from having a name which it is extremely tempting to mispronounce – it is pronounced “CAYSEE” rather than “CACKI” – it is yet another ridiculously expensive way of not having Botox. I think although I can’t be sure (far too much technical lingo for me) that a little probe thing delivers micro currents to your face and reduces wrinkles and yanks up your jaw and cheekbones.

It hurts. It is not supposed to but that is complete rubbish, it hurts. Also your teeth feel as though you are rubbing a metal spoon over them repeatedly. Does it work?  Well, I’ve had five sessions and only ONE person has said “you are looking well” – which of course could be referring to the fact that I have bothered to apply make-up that morning and so do not look like an extra from the Rocky Horror Picture Show rather than a comment on a reduction in my wrinkled forehead.

I had resigned myself to five more sessions and then a monthly “maintenance” – until today that is.  Today I discovered the “retouch” feature in iPhoto.  No more CACI facials for me, no Botox, just au naturel.

I downloaded my holiday photos this afternoon and for the first time started playing with the editing features (just the simple ones) and used the retouch button in what would be a particularly nice photo of my daughter without the piece of chicken nugget on her chin.  To my amazement – one minute chicken nugget on chin, next minute no chicken nugget on chin.

In a state of rising excitement, I flicked to a photo of myself – could it be…could it just be that this would work for my wrinkles.  Hardly daring to breathe, I started to “scrub” at my forehead with the retouch button – all gone, smooth as when I was 21.  Admittedly, I did have to be quite enthusiastic with the retouch button in order to erase all the wrinkles but it was so worth it.

For the next hour, I scrubbed at my face in every photo and watched the years rolling away.  This discovery was right up there for me with when I discovered eyebrow waxing a few years ago after years of painful plucking. The beauty of this is that most people in this internet crazy world will only see photos of me, not the real thing.  Let’s face it my friends and family know what I really look like and would know if I had Botox so I might as well not worry about them and just put out these ever so slightly doctored pictures of myself to the rest of the world.

However excited I am about my discovery, I suspect I am not the first but I don’t care if everyone has been doing it apart from me as I feel re-juvenated and exhilarated (although perhaps ever so slightly too smooth foreheaded).  Try it!  I highly recommend it as both an anti-ageing measure and as a natural serotonin booster.

To B… or not to B…?

Wrinkles

Wrinkles (Photo credit: scoutjacobus)

To B(otox) or not to B(otox) – that is the question? Actually this is a surprisingly easy one for me and perhaps given my tendency to whinge at every possible opportunity about my wrinkles, my answer is surprising – no way, Jose!  Just too scared to shove botulinum into my face and anyway I’m bound to be allergic to it.  Look, I’m as sick as the next person of those sanctimonious people who bang on about growing old gracefully – as if – but equally I’m absolutely certain I don’t want to grow old looking either as if I am perpetually stuck in a force 9 gale or unable to lift my eyebrows more than a micro-millimetre (not visible to the naked eye).

Just because I’ve decided to grow old (dis)gracefully, does not mean that I am enjoying the inexorable disappearance of youth.  Yes, it really narks me when some young whippersnapper on the makeup counter not only tries to sell me foundation which is nothing short of something more usually found on a building site but also suggests I try some fancy new night cream for women in their late forties/early fifties.  “39” I want to scream and as a matter of pride, I ignore her advice and buy the night cream for women in the early stages of ageing (although I  find it harder to ignore her expression which is clearly shouting at me – “too late for that love, more serious action required’).

Talking of building sites, do you remember when you would get a wolf-whistle when you walked past one?  OK, so that stopped a considerable number of years ago for me although embarrassingly for the first few years after it stopped, I still found myself turning round when I heard a wolf-whistle (part habit, part hope), to then have to turn back abruptly, humiliated.  In my twenties, I would hark on about how sexist it was, how degrading – blah, blah, blah…but you know what, I’d be thrilled now if someone wolf-whistled at me – it would put a spring in my slightly less sprightly step.  It’s all symptomatic of the same thing – you never appreciate what you’ve got in life until you no longer have it.

There is no denying that some mornings my face looks increasingly like it has been through a shredder and other mornings, no amount of make-up can disguise the bags (more like over-sized suitcases) beneath my eyes but the truth is I’m actually much more content at this age now and I know this slight obsession with ageing is just a temporary phase for me, a reflection on the past and anticipation of the future at one of life’s landmark stages.

So keep your poison-filled syringes away from me – I’ll take the laughter lines (euphemism for wrinkles) and I’ll keep laughing – there’s no way back now! There’s no chance of ironing out my wrinkles but they are really just that  – a minor difficulty/snag in life’s rich tapestry.