"I am a mummy," I thought. "Someone is going to cover my bandages in baking soda and preserve me for eternity."
I was lying under a collection of masks and towels. They call this "getting a facial." I'd just been poked a lot, as a woman "performed extractions." That means squishing out blackheads.
One of my interns had freaked me out earlier in the week.
"You're going to the Middle East? Will your family go with you?"
I looked at him blankly. Why would my mother and sister be going to the Middle East with me? Then it dawned on me. To this wee college student, I was crusty and ancient. I was a long-term careerist, surely, with a husband and a couple of ten-year-old kids.
Damn. It's that aging thing. That unavoidable, horrific thing where one day you're fighting them off with a stick--or at least a gentle "I'm busy"--and the next you're invisible and will never have another date unless you start hitting on men a few decades older than you.
The fantasies of youth are behind me. I was never really going to take up the guitar, or go back to radio, or lose the jelly belly. The future is now. Time to put up or shut up. Oops, I forgot to get married and have children.
"It doesn't matter to me. It's never mattered to me," I muttered as I scrutinized my Africa-damaged skin later. "I am strong. I am living my way. To hell with tradition."
But here's the thing. I'm not immune to societal expectations. Everything is a compromise. Do I care? Hell... no? Do I really not care? Shit. Okay, a little. I booked an appointment for a facial and consultation. I'm over the guitar thing, accepting that I chose lame men, but maybe it's not too late to halt the sun-damage.
"You have pre-menopausal skin. Do you wear makeup?" I was still in the spa.
"You should. Get some with sunscreen. Did you ever smoke? No? Did you work somewhere that people smoked?"
Argh, is it that bad?
"Should I do something about this?" I asked the salon woman. "What is microdermabrasion? What are chemical peels?"
"Microdermabrasion slowly takes off the top layer of skin. You have to get it six times or more, so it becomes really expensive. Chemical peels are faster. They put the chemical on one day, and then next day it cracks like sunburn. You go back and they peel off sections with tweezers. The skin can be sensitive for up to three months afterwards."
This is a good thing?
Maybe I'll stick with the mummy and extraction option. Or start dating old guys.