My Wrinkle Shock

I always knew I was going to have wrinkles eventually (unless I died first). But I was totally unprepared for how they finally appeared.

This is not me. Yet.

I confess: I secretly hoped for lines like my husband has: a radiating sunburst that appears beside each eye as he laughs (which make my heart turn over). I feared, however, that I would end up with frown lines. Maybe not quite as chiselled as those of Hugo-Weaving-as-Elrond in the Lord of the Rings films, but frowny nonetheless.

Which, obviously, I didn’t want. Not that I fear the inexorable signs of age; I just didn’t want them to proclaim me to the world as someone who frowns more often than she laughs, or smiles. As Maria Montessori said, “the habitual, life-long expressions of the face determine the wrinkles of old age.” Roald Dahl made a similar point.

But when I recently noticed lines on my face for the first time, I was shocked to find that they were neither the eye-sunbursty type, nor the Elrond frowny type. No. The dreaded character-reveal writ on my face shows me up as someone who habitually raises an eyebrow.

This is also not me. I’m not a man, for one thing, and I don’t frown with my non-raised eyebrow, for another.

Some teenage girls spend hours in front of the mirror practicing makeup techniques and pouty duck-lips. I spent, if not hours, at least many minutes, in front of the mirror strengthening part of my occipitofrontalis muscle, in order to achieve the desired effect of one eyebrow rising while the other remains unmoved.
But unlike Jeeves, with his occasional flicker of the right eyebrow when deeply moved, I may have overused the effect in the intervening years. Result: lines, which will no doubt deepen into wrinkles.

There are, of course, many paths I could choose to take from this point. I could go heavy on the moisturizing sunblock. I could cultivate a hairstyle so tight as to stretch my face flat as a pancake. I could (if I was completely out of my tree) arrange for botulinum toxin to be injected into my facial muscles, causing paralysis.
Incidentally, did you know that the Wikipedia page on botox has a sub-section titled ‘Bioterrorism‘? I kid you not.  And now I’m imagining a horde of perfectly expressionless bioterrorists…

A third example of Not Me, just in case anyone was wondering.

But of course, being a sensible sort of person, I will do none of these things (although I could probably do with a bit more of the moisturizing sunblock than I currently use). No, I will do the intelligent, rational thing, and practice raising the other eyebrow. Because if I’m going to have wrinkles, I want a matching set.

Old-Fashioned Fruitcake

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a change or two of late, on or about this blog. I decided, while taking an unpacking-holiday (if such a thing can exist) to spruce the place up a bit. Take it out and beat it like an old carpet, that sort of thing.

I ended up changing the featured image, the about page, my gravatar and the subtitle. (I stopped short at changing my name. One can have too much of a good thing.) Let us review the changes one by one.

First I changed the featured image to Tea Party by Louis Moeller. I don’t know who these old ladies are, but by golly they look like they’re having a grand old time. I feel like clapping on my doily cap and pulling up a chair.


Then I changed my gravatar from the reading jester to this smiley old lady, knitting. I want to be like her when I grow up, with white hair and a gentle smile and plenty of knitting. Also cats (not shown). Knitting and cats are easily come by; a smile takes only a moment; but white hair and wrinkles you have to earn.

I also rewrote the About page, if you’re interested in taking a look at that. It is still about me, though. Sorry to disappoint those of you who thought it might be about cooling systems for nuclear reactors, or how to breed newts. (Please do not try breeding newts in a nuclear reactor. The last thing we need is an increase in the world population of giant radioactive newts.)

Japanese fire belly newtAnd there’s a change to the subtitle: Old-Fashioned Fruitcake. I am, after all, an unashamedly old-fashioned person, a traitor to my time. And I am – I defy anyone to disprove it – a fruitcake. Nutty as a fruitcake, anyway. Although being an old-fashioned fruitcake, I can’t keep currant. (I am so sorry. I would like to say this will not happen again, but we both know it will.)

Yes, the Eccentric Ethic and Æsthetic is no more – although I can assure you there will still be plenty of Ethics, Æsthetics and Eccentricity scudding about the place. Just… fruitier. And, as the label suggests, old-fashioned. There will be LOLs (both kinds – laughs out loud and little old ladies); there will be handwork, housework and headwear; stationery and simplicity; tea and old technologies.

Otto Goldmann Eine gesellige Runde 1887Think of this, if you would be so good, as a non-stop tea-party to which you are always welcome to drop in for a cuppa, a chat, and a good laugh. There may even be scones, and, when the season is right, jam – but please don’t eat the Fruitcake!