Today I walked for cold cream. My beauty regime on the farm was pretty much reduced to washing my hair and keeping my nails as short as possible so as not to trap garden soil beneath them. If we were going out I would put on some mascara and spritz a little perfume around. No lipstick. And no cold cream.
I recently read about this fabulous elderly woman who attributed her youthful complexion to cold cream administered at the end of each day. I think she started this practice in her twenties, so I am a little late to the party, but such is life. Truth is I am more attracted to the process than the result. It’s the whole glamour old school image of sitting in front of a makeup table (which I don’t have) and dipping a manicured finger (which mine are not) into a pot of cold cream and applying it to my face. I don’t even wear makeup, so all I’d really be “removing” is face dust.
Nonetheless, as I set out for my daily walk I found myself heading towards the Save On Foods with cold cream on my mind. I also needed bananas. And blueberries.
The weather has started to turn. The leaves are iced with lemon and it has been raining on and off for days. I wore my rain boots and brought along an umbrella just in case.
As I went past a house I saw a young boy of nine or ten filling a bird feeder and exuberantly singing, “Chick a dee dee dee” as he did so. It made me smile.
One block later I heard a girl’s voice loudly exclaim, “You are NOT fat!”
I glanced across the street and spotted two young girls in their teens, both impossibly young and beautiful.
“But I am,” the other girl moaned. “I need to lose like at least fifteen pounds.”
I felt a rush of fury. I wanted to shout at them that they were both beautiful and perfect just as they were and no one needed to lose an ounce, but I lost my nerve and carried on. I thought about my own vanity and the cold cream and what was wrong with wrinkles anyhow?
On my way back home with a tub of blueberries, a bunch of bananas and (what can I say?) a pot of cold cream in my huge hippy purse/bag I came upon a trio of women. They were standing outside a social club and looked to be in their mid to late sixties. Or maybe they were my age but had never used cold cream.
I heard one announce in a loud smoky voice, “Well I never have. Mine are real.”
There was a pause and then one of the other women exploded, “You lying bitch!”
All three dissolved into raucous laughter.
What were they discussing? Breasts? Fingernails? Orgasms?
I felt a rush of affection for us all. The young boy feeding the birds, the two girls supporting each other through the pitfalls of a magazine society, the trio of women who had lived long enough to hone their friendship and sense of humour to a flawless perfection and me heading into my fifties with my brand new jar of cold cream, already anticipating its coolness on my face and throat.