I was reading my news feed and up popped an ad for Brazilian Bum Bum Crème, so I had to check it out on Amazon . Yup, it was crème to firm up skin all over my body, including my bum. It didn’t cost a fortune so I thought, what the hell, because I certainly have skin that needs firming up. My bum is a lost cause (somewhere down south), but my face needs tightening up so I am using the bum bum crème on my face. The irony is not lost on me! I’m sure the jar will end up on the shelf with all my other skin-tightening, wrinkle-reducing cremes that didn’t work. I’m mad at myself for believing there really is a miracle crème, but also know I’m still not immune to the siren call of youthful beauty.
It seems to take a mirror or manipulative advertising to make me feel bad about my body. I know if I lived on a desert island all by myself I wouldn’t worry about whether or not I had wrinkles. I wonder how we would all behave if we could not see any reflection of ourselves and literally didn’t know what we looked like.The first self tanners turned my skin orange and Sun-In did not add bling highlights to my hair. Anyone remember those vibrating belt machines that were supposed to vibrate your fat off? Don’t get me started on all the diet pills which are worthless. Still I’m literally buying into what the beauty industry is selling., i.e. bum bum crème .
How is it that advertisers are so effective at selling things to me, and to other women, that don’t do what they claim? Most of us want to be “in” and not “out”, and the powerful beauty and fashion industries are more than willing to define what is “in” for women. How else can you explain young women using juice cans to set their hair or even ironing their hair (yikes) to get absolutely straight hair? I’m dating myself, but what about the Twiggy haircut or the Dorothy Hamill wedge which we begged our hair stylist for. Never mind that “cookie cutter haircuts” like these are only flattering to a few people, we still wanted them. I confess I was one of the “sheep” when it came to pale lipstick, blue eyeshadow and army navy surplus jackets. I used my money, when I had it, to buy what I felt I needed to have to be attractive and cool.
Without a doubt the one thing that is always in fashion is “youth”, or at least to be young looking. As I’ve aged I admit that I have had moments of “youth envy”, and moments of panic about the relentless creep into “old” lady territory. Am I vain? vanity: A quality of people who have inflated pride in their appearance. I don’t think I have “inflated pride” in my appearance, but of course I want to be attractive and look as good as I can. I get to decide for myself if I am trying too hard to recapture my youth. I know I am not alone in navigating the minefield of how to define beauty. I’m not trying to be 25, or subjecting myself to cosmetic surgery to look younger. I don’t even wear makeup anymore, but I’m sure trying to find the product that makes my hair look thicker. Maybe there is a crème that could tighten up my skin! As for recapturing my youth, I’m trying to remember that though hope springs eternal, youth does not.