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Health And Family

Chasing eternal youth — Not!

HEART AND MIND - Paulynn Sicam - The Philippine Star

I am too rooted in reality to buy into the dream of eternal youth and beauty.

It was that kind of a week — bad vibes all around, bad words and insults tossed about like poisoned darts, bad news days, then bad weather brought strong rains that flooded my living room. I needed a break.  After a sleepless night listening to the rain and anticipating another rush of rainwater in my ground floor, I decided to go to a mall to get a long-delayed facial treatment at a prestigious beauty salon, using a gift certificate I got last Christmas.But I couldn’t be accommodated until four days later. It was that kind of a day.

I walked around aimlessly, needing sleep, awaiting my BFF whom I had agreed to meet for lunch.After lunch, my friend suggested we visit what I call a “sidewalk salon” — you know, one of those setups along the hallway of malls selling supposedly magic treatments and really expensive beauty packages? She had vouchers, entitling the bearer and a companion to a free facial. Why not? I said.  At least, I will get what I came to the mall for. And maybe I could catch up on my sleep while being worked on.

Everyone at the place was cheerful and encouraging. Two attendants and their manager hovered over us, saying they would make us look at least 10 years younger — you know the routine — and gave us the VIP treatment. My friend had been there before, and had bought some of their moisturizers, cleansers and ointments, so she got the “usual” friendly service. The staff focused on me, the newbie. I got the royal treatment.

The attendant cleaned and started working on half of my face. I don’t know what she put there, but I ended up with half a white face that had to dry before she could use what looked like a magic stick that would somehow make my skin look younger. She explained that she was working in stages so I could see the difference on half of my face before and after treatment, then she would work on the other half.

True enough, after my face was kneaded using the contraption, my skin felt softer, smoother, and, when I looked in the mirror, the difference between the two sides of my face was palpable.  I couldn’t wait for her to work on the other side.

As this was going on, the manager, a charming fellow who had a way with words and with women, kept telling me how I would end up looking like Angelina Jolie minus the lips, and conjuring visions of a glamorous life ahead for me at 70-plus, with a younger face. With the skill of an expert illusionist, he marveled at how beautiful I was after the treatment.  Pointing to my forehead with just a hint of worry lines left, my eyebags that had lost some of its puffiness, my cheeks that sagged less, my disappearing laugh lines, he pronounced the treatment a success.

And indeed, it was.  I was pleased. What a treat! All this, for free, thank you. But not so fast. Actually, nothing comes free. I had to listen to his sales pitch. I could have this lovely face for all time, he said, if I availed of a marvelous discount he would give me on the entire package of the beauty products and the machine. This way, I could do my own beauty treatment at home, like the sister of a top politician who had just signed up for the entire expensive set. He was entertaining, persuasive, seductive. I am naturally curious and let him do his song and dance. But I told him right off that I wasn’t interested. I protested that it would be too much work stretching and toning my face three times a week to keep the wrinkles away.  I just wasn’t vain enough.  If he only knew, this was only the second facial I have had in my entire life! I am happy with my face, thank you, and the age and character it carries.

It was time to go. My friend and I practically ran out of there, saying we were late for a meeting.What happened in that sidewalk salon was an attempt to sell a fairy tale, complete with magic and pixie dust, where a wizard tried to make a sleepless, despairing and angry septuagenarian believe that she was transformed into Angelina Jolie, although I would have preferred Isabella Rossellini. Unfortunately, for the conjurer of dreams, I am too rooted in reality to buy into the dream of eternal youth and beauty.
Back to reality, my BFF and I still laugh at our adventure, although occasionally, we ask each other, how is your face? I looked in the mirror this morning. My old familiar character lines are back — laugh lines, worry lines, eye bags, and all.  Thank God, it is all me.

BEAUTY

ETERNAL YOUTH

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