This past year, all the photographs that have been taken of me forced the obvious conclusion that my face is slipping off my head. That is, my eyes, my cheeks and my chin are loosening from the bone and doing a downward slide. Skin inches south and sometimes does a pile up over my eyelids, under my eyeballs and jowls around my mouth.
Most of the slippage has gathered under my jaw and flaps like a turkey waddle. I hold my chin upright and push it forward to stretch the waddle tighter, but I don’t know how much longer that’s going to work. The ratio of chin jut to waddle flap is widening. I’ll need to start looking skyward, pretending that I’m taking a meteorology course and have to check cloud formations.
In more recent photographs, I’ve learned the old trick of aging moviestars. I’d once thought their hand placements enhanced sex appeal when all it was was a matter of hiding the waddle. Place hands under the chin and rest the head on your hands to conceal and stretch the extra skin smooth. Better yet, cradle the head in both hands and get a twofer. Sideways pressures tug out wrinkles and fleshy puff-ups, thumbs pull down and forearms block the waddle buildup.
I’ve also considered old-fashioned hairstyles that require headbands and scarves tied tight to pull my face back up. Turtleneck knits provide an option. They can be worn so the upper edge of the fabric neckline sneaks up over the bottom edge of my jawbone. “Cold, It’s simply too cold in here,” is a good canned remark, but heaven help me if I get a hot flash, “Cold sweats. Must be coming down with something.” Or is that, something is coming down: I think it’s my face.
My hairline hasn’t changed but somehow my forehead is longer and this makes my problematic face appear larger and more prominent. That became apparent when my ten-year-old passport expired. I’ve had new pictures taken five times at five different places, thinking the cameras were inaccurate or the photographer placed me at an odd angle to the lens. How will the customs official recognize me, if the photo isn’t right? The disappointing results make me think I’d rather stay inside the US because the itsy-bitsy photo needed for renewal is gruesome. The photographer didn’t allow me to cradle my head in my hands.
Throughout the years, when my driver’s license photo was taken, I laughed off the results. “Everybody looks bad in those shots.” I’ve looked back at the collection of outdated licenses and discovered I’d exercised poor judgment over the results of the motor vehicle department’s camera. It had done a pretty good job, except for this last photo. I’d consider a trade of today’s picture for an older one.
The thought of a surgical facelift had crossed my mind as a quick fix until I saw the operation on TV. It caused me to nearly pass out and my face ached for days at the sight of the bloody procedure that seemed one step removed from the art of shrunken heads. Sticking needles into my forehead freaks me out. I can’t even address that choice.
I think those old moviestars used a chin strap at night when they slept to stop the slide, but hanging from the rafters at night like a bat might be more effective and would probably put a rosy glow back into my pasty complexion.
My sister had a Trill-Be doll when we were kids. It had three faces on a swivel neck. A flesh colored knob, much like a ruptured belly-button stuck out of the top of its head and was hidden under a bonnet. A turn of the knob changed her expressions: crying, smiling and sleepy.
I wonder if I could simply work my face back up, secure the extra skin with elastic bands and wear a cute hat to hide my Trill-Be knob.
Perhaps, I should just “deal-with it.” Let my hair grow, fluff it forward around my face, wear fetching neck scarves and be grateful that only my face is slipping off. Then, I should race to the gym to firm up from the neck down before my boobs slip south and get caught in my pantyhose waistline and before I have to shop for an orthopedic body stocking.