My dad once said that your body tries its damn hardest to make you less attractive as you age, so you’re less inclined to mate and produce offspring. Being a farmer, he saw this ageing process happening in goats. Ostriches. Cows. I get it now, Dad. You were right. The brutal truth is that nature is doing everything in its power to ensure that we are no longer attracted to each other. Thanks a bunch.
I am sharing these insights while stroking the single bristly white hair that has decided to sprout from my chin (on the left, in case you want to try spot it next time you see me). It is thick and wiry. Stubborn as hell. You pluck that thing out and it continues to grow back in the same place, only much thicker and faster.
I don’t mind the wrinkles as much, they are to be expected. I’d heard about those. The increased facial hair though, came as a surprise (which is why we need to talk about it more, people). When I was 20, my face was just my face. I did not have to do a single thing to maintain it but even then, I did not like it overly much. Hindsight shows me how silly and pointless that was.
These days we are booking treatments to wax the upper lip. Thread the jaw. Pluck the eyebrows. It’s like you were born with this beautifully manicured garden of a face, everything shining and flowering in neat rows, and as you get older the weeds start going bananas, climbing up over the garden walls and threatening to suffocate the sunflowers and if you don’t get some sort of gardening service set up, soon your eyebrows and your beard will blend into the rest of your face and no one will be able to see your mouth or nose. You’ll be lost in a jungle.
I know, this metaphor has got out of control.
What I’m trying to say is that watching a body age is humbling, and I know I’m only at the early stages. You learn to see that physicality is a small part of what makes up a person. Your body becomes a home in which you live, but the really important stuff is going on silently inside. Your insides are sparking ideas, making connections, living experiences. They are becoming well polished, like a shiny wooden bannister. And that is a small comfort, I suppose.
Better be off, got to find my tweezers.