Let’s Talk Skin and Gravity!

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A post from writer Meg Tipper:

So let’s talk gravity, skin and gravity.

I never used to think much about my skin except to notice a zit or to put on sun screen.

Perhaps a decade ago, in my early 50s, some strange extra-terrestrial presence began creeping over my body.  I was afraid to notice.

But one day, my nephew made its presence undeniable.

It was summer.  We were sitting on a couch together, face to face, with our legs extending towards each other.  He first just looked down at my legs.

Then he put both hands on my thighs, a few inches apart, and squeezed them together, causing my skin to look even more like corrugated cardboard.

Then he looked at me with horror and asked, “Aunt Gangy, what’s wrong with your skin?”

As my 50s wore on, it was not the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes or in my forehead that got my attention.  Wrinkles I expected, wrinkles people talked about.

What I was not prepared for was sag, the sheer force of gravity on skin:  the way my cheeks are falling onto my chin, the way my upper arms jiggle, the way my breasts are now resting comfortably on my stomach, the way my ass has no personality.

It is sad to feel my sexy body deflating right before my eyes.

This spring I will have the pleasure of walking down the aisle as the mother of the groom.

While I am over the moon happy for this wedding, being the mother of the groom is not what little girls dream of.

Perhaps in shock, definitely feeling a little rebellious, I allowed myself to be talked into buying a dress for the wedding which is low cut, sleeveless, and tight.

I was told I look “hot,” and who can resist believing that?

However, when I looked at myself in my hot dress in the cold light of a mirror at home, alone, all I saw was sag.

I have brought in the best sag-fighting artillery:  heavy upholstery in the way of a bra, uplift in the way of an impossibly tight and uncomfortable undergarment, which promises to eliminate any lines or bulges, but also makes me feel like I will be prevented from sitting or peeing during the wedding.

I stand in front of the mirror and try to find a way to hold myself, say, tucking my upper arms behind my shoulders; I search for a way to angle my face for the inevitable photos, so that can I swivel my neck around and hide the chicken skin.  Suddenly, I have a serious interest in moisturizer.

I know it’s crazy. I am an attractive, older woman.

I am 60: glorious, sexy sixty.

I’ll keep telling myself, and I’m sure, come springtime, in my hot dress, on a fabulous occasion, full of love and happiness, I will feel it!

Meg Tipper

Meg Tipper is retired after over thirty years as a teacher at almost all levels of education.  Her last teaching job was as an English teacher and Writing Center Director at Gilman School in Baltimore.  She has published articles, stories, poems, and personal essays and has been a regular contributor and columnist for Catonsville.Patch.com.  Meg lives in Catonsville , Maryland, with her partner, Jim Himel.  They travel frequently and work on their old home and garden.

Meg’s first book, Standing at the Edge: A Year of Days After Sudden Death  (Apprentice House, 2010) chronicles her journey after the sudden death of her 22 year old daughter, Maggie.  Her son, Stephen Feiss, teaches math at Mt. Mansfield Union and coaches soccer at Winooski High School, both outside Burlington, Vermont.

Standing at the Edge:   Proceeds from the sale of Standing at the Edge go to the Maggie Feiss Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF).  For more information, go to the Standing at the Edge website.  The book can be purchased at Amazon.com.

21 responses »

  1. I feel your pain. It was easy to take our youth – gorgeous skin tone and color, no bags or sags – for granted. Sometimes I’m tempted to stand on my head to see if I can get things back into place! ; )

  2. I think you look fantastic! I know what you mean, though. I’m younger than you, and my arms are much worse. Genetics. They bite. Or sag, as the case may be. Would you consider a shrug, if you’re concerned about photographs?

    • Great idea about the shrug or a shawl. Besides, churches & spring weather can be chilly. I’m thinking a pretty pink one?

  3. I hate the lizard skin the most! Looks horrible! And the hanging arms aren’t good either. Thank heavens for clothes that cover it all up.

  4. A sleeveless dress with a beautiful shawl is a gorgeous look for the M-O-B. Especially for a beautiful MOB such as yourself, Meg. It’s perfect for the ceremony, then as the night moves on, the shawl can be tossed aside in the evening’s warm glow… or used as a dancing prop! Ha!

    I remember many many years ago, one of my little nieces hearing my sister refer to ‘Grandma’ and my niece saying, “Do you mean the one with the old skin or the one with the old teeth?” Ouch.

  5. At 51, I’m noticing issues with my skin. I’m tempted to become BFF with a dermatologist, but I don’t want to look like Joan Rivers or any other Holly-weird actor/actress trying to use technology to defeat mother nature. So I’m eating better, drinking a lot of water, trying to get good sleep, and going to the gym more. I realize that I won’t have the skin of a 25 year old when I’m twice that age. But I can look good for someone in her 50s! Thank you for writing such an articulate post about this road we are all traveling.

  6. Sue is right, and it’s not only a shift, but a bit of a bitch. You look terrific. You’ve obviously stayed in great shape and taken care of yourself and it shows. The dress fits you like a glove. Wear it with pride.

  7. Spray tan. Spray Tan. Spray Tan. Worth every penny. I so get this..and even worse I remember when I was in my twenties and looking at an older woman (maybe she was 45) and I saw that crey thing happeneing and I scoffed to myself..reader I scoffed! and thought, well she doesn’t take car of herself. God forgive me and get me more spray tan.

  8. As a recent MOTG with a sleeveless dress, I recommend the shawl, a killer pair of earrings and a big smile! If you’re going with the spray/slow tan approach, be sure to start early so you can control it. My dress was a light green for a summer wedding, and I would’ve looked dead without a little tan. Enjoy the moment!!

  9. Meg, you look fantastic. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we don’t get to wear sleeveless for much of the year, but when July and August come around I suddenly think about my arms. If only we all had toned arms like Michelle Obama’s!

  10. Seriously! What is with the arms? I always had thin, toned arms and then I woke up the morning after I turned the big 5-0 and gaped at the joke nature had pulled. What happened to my arms? Exercise isn’t an option anymore it’s a necessity, but I don’t know if anything can reverse the damage gravity and years have inflicted on my body. Nice to know I’m not alone, but what to do?

  11. perhaps politically incorrect but i say return the dress. get one with a small sleeve and not so tight. you will be able to relax and forget about how you appear. then smile your gorgeous smile, stay in the moment and enjoy. i love you meg tipper. x

  12. Hi Meg, I didn’t know Stephen is getting married. How wonderful. Congratulations to everyone. You do look look beautiful and sexy. Special hi to your Mum. Love Valerie

  13. Meg,

    Thanks so much for your fun, wonderful post and thanks to everyone for weighing in. You must promise to write another post after the wedding. We want to hear details of the rockin MOG in her rockin dress.

  14. Pingback: Mother of the Bride Update: Wedding Arms | Friend For The Ride

  15. Pingback: Mother of the Bride Update: Wedding Arms! | talkhealth Blog

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