Yesterday I put on my most powerful reading glasses and pushed my face up right next to the bathroom mirror, really close… I do this infrequently just to get a reality check on what is going on at close-range. Normally, I stand at a much safer distance – at least a few feet from the mirror – and wear a less powerful pair of glasses.
What’s the difference, you say?
If you don’t know the difference in terms of what you see under such “magnification”, maybe I shouldn’t tell you, as you too may think you are seeing yourself how others are seeing you! But guess what…if you are like most people over the age of 50, the eyesight you use on a daily basis in front of the sink may not truly be showing you the real you that people with good vision will see!
The usual two foot out distance allows me just enough visual clarity to do what I need to do (make-up, hair), but is not so “up close” as to see every pore…
Needless to say, I was shocked at what I saw.
Little hairs all over my face, sprouting around (what I thought were) my neatly shaped eyebrows and even a few jutting from under my chin. OMG! Why didn’t someone tell me I literally needed a shave! Note to self: remind my BFFs that we need to police each other for unwanted hair growth (while wearing our most powerful lenses, of course).
So I plucked and plucked and took out a razor for the few errant strays on my chin. And then I noticed a really long hair on my neck. How did that grow so long without my noticing? It was long enough that it had actually started to curl.
I remember my younger son once commenting on an older man in line in front of us at the grocery store…he had hair visibly hanging from his nose. “Why,” my son had asked, “do older people let their nose hairs grow so long?” At the time, I’m not sure what I said in response to this question…I probably changed the subject…that was obviously back in my younger – pre-AARP membership – days, before I UNDERSTOOD the issue (Today I could – although very defensively – answer that question!). The issue, of course, is that just when these somewhat ugly hairy events start to occur, your eyesight is already going bad…so you have absolutely no clue as to why little kids are asking their mom about your nose hair!
It really is a barometer of where you are in the cycle of life. You are born with very little, typically…then you get it on your head and people comment on how great it looks (and it is fun as you can do different things with it). It becomes a part of your identity…I had Farrah Fawcett curls at one point, then went extremely short while a manager in high tech (the radical short hair seemed to go with the linebacker padded suits I wore back then); but the point is, my hair had become part of my trademark throughout my youth.
The downside of hair was when you went through puberty, and you got hair growing in all kinds of other places (and then hair wasn’t as fun, as it was now sometimes sweaty and suddenly required a great deal of maintenance).
As you became “more mature”, your hair started to turn gray (mine mysteriously started to turn “tawny auburn” – or at least that is what the package called the color), and you started plucking all those ugly gray strays…until, you one day wished you could have all those plucked follicles back, regardless of their color…anything to have some thicker hair.
Women going through Menopause get the additional pleasure of going through a second puberty of sorts…crazed hormones, and hairs sprouting from all sorts of surprising places…
It is cruel irony that scalps are thinning just when eyebrows grow wild with abandonment. Maybe there is a way to backcomb the brows to solve both problems.
I guess I am going to have to put “magnification, facial hair plucking” on a weekly maintenance schedule…
Or maybe not…the good news? Most of the people I hang out with are 50+ and wear glasses, too…so maybe I don’t need to really worry…
And just so you know, I checked my nose hairs while writing this article. We’re good…at least for now.