Oh, the vanity of being young. It seems as the days pass, the struggle to stay that way gets harder and harder. The attempt to look young is even more difficult and is almost starting to become a losing battle. Growing old is a fact of life and looking old is something that can't be prevented as one year piles onto the others. It kind of reminds us of our mortality. You're born, you age, you pass. I'm not all that fond of the thought of dying, but I know my day will come. I just hope it's many, many years down the road. I'm already living on borrowed time and should have been gone long ago; on a couple occassions; but I guess fate wasn't in the cards I was playing at the time. I just like to think of it as; "The Lord doesn't want me yet...and the Devil is afraid I'll eventually take over."
My appearance aging was the furthest thing from my mind when I was young. When you're in your 20's, not too many look that much older than what their age is. Then the 30's roll in and you start noticing changes...that "mature" look begins to take over. I've seen some who look ten to fifteen years more advanced than what their birth certificate says. I thank my maternal side of the family for having the gene that slows the onset of wrinkles and gray hair. When my grammy died, she was 95, but you'd swear she was in her 60's. The oldest member of her clan lived to be 111 and no one would ever guess she was even close to 100.
I didn't think about things until I met my best friend. The looks he gave me over my appearance! I was still in my heavy metal/goth mode with bleach blond hair way down past my shoulders. It may have been a mess, but it was my last bastian of youth. Scott finally convinced me it was time to "grow up" and get a makeover done, including having my locks chopped off; not only for appearance sake, but to be more accepted in public. I reluctantly agreed...and actually liked my new look. I had been a blond growing up and bleached my hair to keep the color of my childhood. The girls (plural, because my look was such a lost cause, it took a team of them working on me) dyed my hair brown; which they claimed was my natural color; added blond tips and spiked it. With my new "doo" and some modern threads, I wasn't looking too bad. Of course, that means I wasn't looking too good, either...average at best.
That makeover was a blessing in disguise. I was pushing 35, but I'd still get proofed when I'd go to buy alcohol. You've just got to love that kind of flattery. I almost felt like kissing the girls who carded me and proposing marriage right on the spot! A couple of years passed and I was holding my own...looking decent still; a lot better than some my age. I don't know when it happened, though, but I woke up one morning and noticed changes were starting to take place. That was a couple of years ago. I had a mustache and goatee and looking in the mirror one morning; I discovered a white hair. I don't think I've ever moved so fast getting a pair of scissors and clipping that sucker. As the weeks went by, another one or two would appear and they'd get the same treatment. I still can't figure out why they materialize overnight. They weren't there when I went to bed.
Over the next year, those darned white hairs kept spreading. They started taking over my facial hair...and they began crawling up on top of my head. Now, I don't have a lot of white hairs on my old noggin, but their population is starting to increase...at least I notice them. So does Scott...thank you for pointing them out. My goatee has gotten a bit whiter now that the next birthday will turn me 39. I'm almost ready to shave it right off so I don't have to look at the difference in colors...brown and white. I've also had a little darkness forming under my eyes along with an old age blemish here and there, too. As for crow's feet, let me tell you, Preparation H is such a great invention! I'll dab a little of that at the corners of my eyes and it tightens any wrinkles right up. You're not going to see those bad boys for awhile as long as the company that makes it stays in business. Seeing how what it was made for will always be a problem; not to me, but for others; I'll give myself a facial with that creme as long as it works.
I still keep my hair styled short and spiked, which does help to make me appear to be a tad younger. Add some product, goop it up and the few white hairs blend right in and aren't even noticable. I learned that cover-up technicque when my own, personal hair stylist used to get me ready to go out. I don't know about you, but I can never get my hair to look all that great, but when someone else does it, I think it looks fantastic. Whenever we had somewhere to go, I'd sit with my head wrapped in a towel waiting for Scott to do his magic. It even got to the point where I had him start cutting my hair, too. I'd like to get it clipped every month, but I'm so cheap when it comes to that, I'm not about to pay close to $200 a year for haircuts when I can have it done quarterly and only spend sixty bucks. Obviously, it tends to get a little long and grows down over my ears, especially since it's so fast-growing. I think the first time I told him to chop my mop was when he told me I looked like one of The Beatles with it being so long and combed down all the way around.
Having never done it before, he actually did a darned good job. It was short and he styled it after. I was back to looking decent again. The last time he did it was part of my Christmas present. He's been so busy with work, his mom's illness and everyday life in the city; he hasn't had a chance to get down here and buzz me since. Today, I decided to stop by my old hair stylist here in town and give him another shot. You have to love when you tell them you want it done one way and they just fly over it cutting it the way they want. I warned him if it wasn't done my way this time, he wouldn't be seeing me as a customer any more. I got the cut I wanted. I guess the vulgar threats as to what I was going to do to him worked. The thing that got me thinking about looking older today was when I sat in the chair and he asked what the hell had happened to my hair. Keith is in his early 50's and he made mention when I walked through the front door I looked like the comic strip character, Prince Valiant. That was bad enough in itself. But his follow-up remark almost cost him his life..."You remember that cartoon, don't you?" Prince Valiant debutted in 1937 and the creator of it died in 1971. Others have taken over the strip and I think it still runs, but its popularity has waned so much, not many newspaper even carry it in the Sunday Funnies anymore.
That's all I could think about as I sat in his swivel seat...in front of that huge mirror...under those bright lights...studying my face and my hair. I'm not a wealthy man, so I can't afford face lifts every year to pull my eyes up and smooth out those impending wrinkles; not to mention yanking my kneecaps up to my shoulders. Botox is out, too. I guess it was just a momentary panic I was thrown into by his comment "accusing" me of being older than I am. As I sit here now bringing those very recent memories up again, all I can see is myself as an old man. I won't be hard to miss. There will be panhandlers out on the street begging for spare change and homeless people willing to work for food. And then there will be Rob...badgering every gal that walks by. Excuse me ma'am...you wouldn't happen to have a little extra Lady Grecian, would you?