An occupational hazard of working in Beverly Hills is that I am constantly surrounded by “youth”. The relentless pursuit of it, anyway. It appears in many forms. Baggy leggings, luxury convertibles, Botoxed earthworm-lips, so glossy you can check your own teeth in them, and of course, see-thru foreheads.
I spend a lot of time hanging out with beautiful hostesses in their early 20s (ACTUAL young people), while waiting for delivery orders. We talk about many things including their upcoming holidays in Cannes, their adorable outfits and where did you get that!, and did you see Kim Kardashian’s sitting at table 5 and doesn’t that guy in the cheetah print hat look like Ryan Phillippe – it has to be him — it has to. (We all Google him.)
Lately though, there’s been a weird shift toward “How old are you?” They lean in all secret style. God forbid someone might pass by and hear MY NUMBER and silently condemn me to invisible old lady Hell. “You don’t have to say,” but their eyes stay on mine. Waiting.
“Oh. I’m 35.” I say it in a normal speaking voice. It’s the facts.
Their creamy skinned jaws drop open and their pouty lips go “NO WAY. Oh, girl. I thought you were 28.”
Sweet. This might buy me a pilot season in this town.
“You hide it SO well,” they coo. Or, “You wear it so well”, which makes me feel like I stole someone else’s skin and it fits great, almost like it were my own!
“Seriously, I would have never thought. Like, the way you dress and – yeah. No way.”
It’s probably the food I spilled on myself earlier. Or the way I don’t seem to know what’s going on. Ever. Really, I’m just being myself. It looks like 28, it feels like Kindergarten, and it’s trying to get comfortable in its skin.
I’m glad I recently learned that “laying out” in the sun makes wrinkles and melanoma and ages you really fast. That Hawaiian Tropic SPF 8 is basically just coconut cooking spray. And that a good night’s sleep, drinking enough water, and an apple a day keep the Rejuvaderm away.
But I also think these Beverly Hills ladies make a mistake when they lie about their age. We all do. Not only are you putting a lot of pressure on your face when you subtract a few years (better to look like a HOT 55, than a ROUGH 32), you’re also disregarding how lucky you are to be here. Right where you are.
Maybe it’s because in my family, my sister died when she was 8, my uncle died when he was 40, and my grandmothers are still kickin it. And that I’m in an industry that I think is changing to be inclusive of older women (Thank you Meryl and Helen for being talented and beautiful).
But, it’s made me appreciate my age a little more. Not everyone gets the chance to live this long. And I get to be here for a purpose. (WHAT IS IT?? Still figuring that out.) That’s not to say there aren’t days when I’m all “Remember when I could eat pizza-and-beer-only, 7 days in a row and it didn’t matter, intestines?” “Where are the abs I used to—?” “Why doesn’t this adult acne make me feel YOUNG and ANEW!”
A couple months ago, Ervin, his brother Manuel and I drove up to San Francisco to celebrate his Uncle Juan’s “Juan Hundred-th” birthday. (For the first hour, I thought “How cool that his last name is Hundred! How often does this happen?!”)I’ve never been to anybody’s 100th anything, and to see Uncle Juan dancing and eating normal people food, and completely surrounded by the legacy of his family, was inspiring.
Who are we to say who’s too old and when it’s too late.
I think the hostesses would agree: Uncle Juan totally wears it so well.
Oh. And there were clowns at the party. It was held at an Elk Lodge in the Bay Area and the bar was called “The Cork Room”. These portraits (of some real corkers??) were all over the wall:I thought about “Dilly Cork” for a long time afterward.
A real long time.