February 9, 2002
"Marionette Lines," according to Complete & Total Real New
Woman Magazine: these faint vertical lines bracketing my mouth, like
I have no idea how long
they've been there. To tell you
the truth, I didn't even
know I HAD
them until earlier this week, when I accidentally caught a glimpse of
my face in noonday sunlight. (Something I strive at all costs to avoid,
usually.) I was sitting at my desk, sneaking a peek into my
mirror after lunch, checking for apple peel stuck between my front
teeth, and there they were: twin up-and-down furrows, etched into my
face on either side of my mouth, like wagon ruts in a country road.
unattractive. They lend my face a sort of wry, ironic expression,
especially when I smile. I think I'll probably keep them.
They were just sort of a
That very same afternoon, in
the sort of amazing coincidence that only happens on WB sitcoms (or in
*FootNotes* Land), I happened to stumble across the New
& Real Total Complete Woman magazine article, all about the
progression and development of facial lines. Certain types of wrinkles,
apparently, show up at predictable times in a woman's life. That's when
I learned that these particular lines -- the vertical lines
on the side
of the mouth, appearing typically during a woman's forties
-- have an
While I suppose it's
better than "Nasolabial Folds" or "Glabellar Furrows" --
more elegant than "Crows Feet" -- to me it still conveys a
are you gonna do? fatalism ...
as though some demented cosmic Puppet Master is up there somewhere,
pulling the strings, controlling the how and the where and the
when of how our faces reflect the years.
I don't mind getting
wrinkles. Honestly I don't. I just want them to be *MY* idea.
And *I* want to be able
to name them.
"Marionette Lines," for
instance? Give me a break.. From now on I'm calling them "Irony
Grooves." I feel this is appropriate, not only because of the
way they alter my expression, but also because I have spent much of the
past forty-four years grooving over life's little ironies. (The
of finding true love once I stopped looking for it ... the irony of
becoming a better mother AFTER
I became separated from my children ... the irony of sobriety turning
out to be the best *high* of all.)
And how about those deep
vertical lines between my eyebrows? The skincare experts at Newly
Complete/Totally Real Woman Magazine call them "Squint Fissures."
Popular culture refers to them as "Worry Lines." From now on, *I*
am going to call them "Welfare Lines," since I probably acquired most
of them whilst worrying about the welfare of people I gave birth
to/people who gave birth to me/people with whom I gave birth.
Then there are those two
deep horizontal slashes on the bridge of my nose ... the result, I
suspect, of sitting hunched over tablets and typewriters and computer
keyboards, for most of the past five decades, cobbling together
wordswordswords for all the world to enjoy. Those are my "Ink
Or what about the network of
tiny lines criss-crossing the area below
each eye ... a by-product of all those late nights spent
boyfriend-shopping on the Internet?
Those are my
As for the dreaded
"Crows Feet," I don't think it takes a big bunch of imagination to
come up with something nicer -- and more flattering
-- to describe the
little crinkly lines one gets from a lifetime of smiling at people you
How about "Grinkles"?
I have to say: I feel
better about this whole getting older/getting wrinklier business
already. Simply wresting control of the naming process away from the
Puppet Master -- not to mention the dumbass writers at
Complete Woman Magazine -- gives me back my sense of power
and makes me
lots more comfortable with the idea of my face collapsing like a
Who knows? Maybe next
week *I* will decide to go gray! I'm already planning to refer to
it as "The Silver Lining."
throw a rock