Celebrating International Women's Day - and wrinkles

OK, people – shameful confession time.


I’ll say it again in case some people can’t believe their own eyes.


And yes, I know this is THE crime of the 21st century. By not forking out significant amounts of cash for tiny tubs of oily water – or watery oil, depending on the brand – I am defying all the customs and laws laid down for women of the 21st century which state – firmly and categorically:

Thou shalt not age.

Thou shalt part with enormously inflated sums of hard-earned cash to ensure this never happens.

Thou shalt flock to the shops to buy the latest overpriced, underachieving chemical laden sludge so thou canst –

Banish wrinkles and look younger instantly!

Thou shalt restore a healthy bloom to thy complexion and looking at the state of you thou hadst better get a move on!

And so on and so forth.

Because, for women, ageing is bad, bad, BAD. Never mind that it happens to everyone. Never mind there’s not a lot you can do about it – using our products will restore elasticity and promote healthy scale regrowth – no sorry, that’s Lady Sybil and her dragons in Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! Ignore that last bit.

What is so shameful about growing old? I was once asked to give a talk about Writing a Book – at 60! The implication being, of course, that at that age one barely has enough strength to lift a pen – let alone enough brain cells left to know what to do with it. As I said at the time – writing the book took a lot of time and effort while getting to 60 took none at all. In fact, 60 turned up all by itself. I didn’t have to do anything.

And yes, I do have a few pots of youth-inducing moisturiser on my dressing table. Many of them are old friends because I do, on occasion, succumb to marketing, treat myself, slather it on as per the instructions and wait, breathlessly, for the miraculous improvement.

Nothing ever happens.

Moisturiser or no moisturiser, I still have baggy eyes, crow’s feet, severe nose to mouth lines and a massive double chin and nothing is ever going to change that. My face is the map of my life – and yes, you can see there have been a few car-crashes along the way, but nothing’s ever going to change that and I’m not sure I want to eradicate the story of my life.

I wonder if this isn’t society having another go at women. Yes, we have the vote. Yes, we now wear practical and comfortable clothes – mostly. Yes, we overcame the stigma of abandoning our young to the harsh forces of this world so we could return to work. We were quietly overcoming every obstacle placed before us and then – genius!

‘I know,’ said Society. ‘We’ll get them worrying about their age. Because everyone knows women should always look young and lovely. It’s their duty to be beautiful. There’s even a song about it. They’ll go spare trying to reverse the irreversible and we’ll make a stack of cash into the bargain. Quick – someone dream up the 7 signs of ageing so we can start the marketing campaign.’

The more astute among you may have realise I’ve spent too long staring at myself in the mirror this morning. Normally, it’s a quick stagger into the bathroom, clean teeth with eyes averted, stare at hair in dismay and straight into the shower. This morning, for some reason, I felt the need to linger and as you can see, it hasn’t ended well.

I’ll get over it, of course. A mug of tea – there’s half a bar of Galaxy in the fridge and I rather think I’ve a pack of cheese flavoured breakfast muffins somewhere. I’ll be fine. I might even sweep the contents of my dressing table into a black plastic bag and throw it all out. If only on the grounds of hygiene, because I’ve had some of it quite a long time.

Yes. I’ll do that. But tea first. Happy International Womens Day  everyone. 


  • Elizabeth Grubel

    I’m sure you said many things in this post but I got to ‘galaxy bar in the fridge’ and everything else just fell out. What kind of monster keeps chocolate in the fridge?!
    Yours sincerely
    A concerned chocolate lover

  • Glen day

    I don’t moisturizer. I can’t remember to use lotion, unless my hands start sticking on things (those alligator scales!). But actually, I don’t use the stuff cuz I’m so cheap. I’d rather buy books. Also, I stay out of the sun, most of the time cuz I burn, not tan. Also, I’m too lazy to bother. At 77, I’ve earned every gray hair, wrinkle, and what ever else says I’m old. Anyone who wants to bad mouth ones appearance, should focus on getting a life for themselves!

  • Maxine Reed

    I know I’m not actually meant to but I always read the small print at the bottom of TV adverts for moisturiser. The voice over confidentally tells me I will look 10 years younger. The model looks gorgeous, youthful and has the skin of a dew kissed baby. The small print tells me 58 out of 70 women that tested it agreed. I don’t find those stats inspiring and I suspect those women got the overpriced gloop for free as they probably work in the admin department of whatever cosmetics company is trying to con me into buying The. Next. Best. Thing in pleasant smelling face gloop. I’m yet to find one where I’ve danced out of the bathroom singing ‘this has changed my life. I look soooo much younger, worth every penny, no more appearance of fine lines for me!’ No, never happened! But some of pots do look very nice and expensive in the bathroom.

  • Amanda

    So refreshing to know there are other rebels! I also don’t moisturise, mainly because I can never remember to, but my skin looks ok, if anything looks better now than it did in my 30s. I’m 49, not 29, I don’t expect to look like a young girl and why should I? Far too much work! Thanks for saying what I’m sure most women feel – love you even if you do pick on Max and Leon, and can’t wait for the next book!

  • Kathleen Weishaar

    My journals are chock-full of these conflict-riddled ruminations ~ as if there aren’t far more critical concerns in the world ~ or my life! Ah, human-ness…

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