Allow me to let you in on a little secret, my friend: It’s not 40 you need to worry about.
No, at 40 you’re still feeling and looking like you’re an oh-so-Blake-lively 35.
Your stomach even bounces back after binging on white wine and a pint of Ben and Jerrys.
But somewhere between 43 and 45, let’s just say something wicked this way comes. And it’s not a Kard-dash-a-b-dong-a-dong that you need to worry about. That’s something you earn, girlfriend.
You know those nights when you’re psyched about your daily workouts and consistent low-carb, organic intake, so you decide to partake in a piece of cake or even a sleeve of chips? What happens to your body the next day at this age? Well, I don’t know how to break it to you.
What happens sucks an Arcade prize pack of bouncy balls. Although you may have consumed equal parts water and wine and slept six to 8 hours, by 7 a.m., your stomach decides to take on a life of its own. Your “mid-life-abs” don’t know the difference between salt and vinegar chips and a gourmet chocolate torte. Regardless of the planks after your morning Zumba class or the rigorous run the day before, your stomach knows you took in something that’s not approved by Dr. Oz. So it decides to take the single devil dog you secretly devoured over the sink and transform it into a sponge the size of a honeydew melon. Think of a squishy water balloon. Now add two more and place it on your belly. Your stomach has managed to absorb every salty, sugary, fun thing you’ve decided to treat yourself to the day before, expanding into a mound of flesh that hangs over your jeans like a plumber with a reverse crack problem.
But you slip on the Spanx and waa-laa, your pooch spreads out a little, making your bloated-ness SEEM like it has disappeared. You look fabulous, even if you can’t breathe. You suck it in and hold it together. (Which actually prevents you from eating too much especially if you’ve purchased the off-brand Spanx at TJ Maxx five years ago, when you were a dress size smaller than you are now.)
OK, now onto my second little secret when you hit your mid-40s.
I keep my Sephora friend in my car. In my purse. In my travel bag.
It is my special friend. Me and my concealer, we are like peas and carrots.
OK, to the friends of mine who don’t wear make-up, this doesn’t apply to you. I love you dearly, but I also cry inside (just a little) when you share that you’re not wearing anything. Please wear something to help make the rest of us feel better. Tinted moisturizer even. Just once. Not everyone could possibly be this naturally beautiful without some kind of coverage. Or eyeliner. I grew up in Texas, where every girl’s mother had a make-up kit as big as a Barbie house and enough levels of Merle Norman, color-me-beautiful eyeshadow options that would make even Tammy Baker salivate.
Unlike the days when I would experiment with my mom’s makeup drawer before catching the school bus, showing up in homeroom with an orange foundation jawline fighting my Snow White neck, nowadays I don’t wear concealer because I want to. I do it so I don’t scare away small children. Mine included.
Now I don’t wear a lot of makeup, if you compare me to Mrs. Roper. But even the smallest amount helps cover up the bags under my eyes, the dark spots I’ve gained from sunning myself with Crisco in my hot-as-a-hotdog-in-hell Texas teen years. I wear sunscreen now even in the winter thanks to my grandmother scaring the Ba-Jeebus out of me about skin cancer on my oh-so-fair skin. Even when I wear sunless tanning lotion on my legs, all you can see are the streaks. (If you care to hear more about this dilemma, please revert back to my Pale Mom Legs column http://www.bluntmoms.com/pale-mom-legs/.)
So all I’m saying is when you turn 42, 43, 44 or 45, (or 60 for you naturally gorgeous Christie Brinkleys) don’t be shocked if you need these two things. And don’t be surprised at how much better you feel because you remembered them before leaving the house.
Spanx and concealer.
A mid-life girl’s new best friends.
Jackie Hennessey blogs about her take on motherhood at Ventingsessions.com, writes about it in her award-winning book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker, and has vented about it in front of live audiences including the Providence Listen to Your Mother show. This former journalist-turned-public relations consultant is a native Texan living in Rhode Island. She graduated from Texas A&M University before Spanx was invented and received the “Best Aggie-Life writer” award. When she's not taxiing her kids around or folding laundry while binge-watching HGTV, you can find her venting with dear friends over cocktails and cheese dip.