As you transition from the ripe youthfulness of childhood, to the awkward tribulations of puberty and your teen years, to the unsurety of young adulthood, you may be asking yourself if this whole “ageing thing” is working out for you. More importantly, you may be panicking at feeling your youth slip between your fingers. Luckily, you’re not alone. Ryan Gee asks these questions and more in the following article.
I once had a thing with a boy who had, as a child, thoroughly enjoyed the TV show, Tales From The Crypt. He liked it so much he decided to have the face of the Crypt Keeper tattooed onto his calf, which did nothing to deter me from thinking that he was very cool. Though I didn’t make the connection at the time, I now understand why he put up with me. It was because I looked…like…well…
Let’s put it this way - have you ever seen Freaky Friday?
See, I hoist myself out of bed every day, look at myself in the mirror and, in the words of Lindsay Lohan (actually, I guess of Jamie Lee Curtis), exclaim: “I’m old! I’m like the Crypt Keeper!”
It’s true. I am old. So, so old.
I turn 21 this summer, and am absolutely terrified that I have to continue this ageing thing for the next…what? Is 40 too young to call it quits? I figure I’ll be decrepit by then, unable to walk or chew my own food, and as wrinkled as a mummy. If I don’t have my looks, exactly what am I offering to this world?
Right now, I’m holding out for some miracle cosmetic surgery where they sandpaper away all your facial flaws and leave you smooth and shiny. Seriously. Any texture on my face I’d like to have wiped off; there are always spots under the right lights where my skin appears rough. I look at pictures of myself as a newborn and curse how stupid I was not to appreciate my flawless skin when I had it.
Because there’s always something to be concerned about. Now that early high school days of red, puss filled zits are over, I’ve taken up a fascinated horror with the pores on my nose and cheeks. Inches away from my mirror, they are craterous. But if I take a few steps back and turn off those hideous fluorescents, they’re barely noticeable. So which is it: hot or not? I guess somewhere in the middle - I’m attractive in pictures and from a distance, enough to bait the boys in, but once they get close, they realise their mistake and flee before I can latch onto them. And while I know that no one really looks picture perfect in real life, I want to look that good anyway. I’d like to be young and sexy forever, please.
But it might be too late. To myself, I appear ancient. I figure it’s better if I skip my twenties and move on to my mid-thirties, when I can have a dad bod that fits my scruffy, aged face and the hair beneath my shirt. I started growing a lot of hair pretty young, and I used to take it all off. I’d shave my chest, stomach and even my armpits. Then I’d spread Nair on the rest, wait ten minutes and let the shower rinse away all that unsightly fuzz. Because other 16- and 17-year-old’s didn’t have a forest plastered onto their upper body.
But now, the hair is the one thing I’ve come to accept about ageing. Maybe I’ll do some light landscaping, but I’d never pick up a razor. It’s been years (2 of them!) since I shaved anything below my neck.
The result is a revoked twink card, an invitation to join the otters, and in a few years – once I put some more weight on – a possible bear membership. I have dreams where I get swoll and become a buff dad, but they stay dreams. I’d have to go to a gym and learn how to use all those complicated weight machines. The biggest workout I get now is lifting myself out of bed in the morning, which takes a lot. I’m content to run and stay skinny, that’s a classic look.
I’ve considered the possibility that all these desires to look beautiful and young are more problematic symptoms of our society. All those issues about my complexion could come from unrealistic expectations, courtesy of makeup and photoshop. Maybe if I saw more young hairy guys on TV, I wouldn’t have felt the need to burn the fur off my body.
Even if all this is true, I don’t care. I’ve accepted my vanity, just like I’ve started to label myself as an otter on my Grindr. You can call me shallow, surface level or a slave to conventional beauty standards, and you might be right. But any day now this skin care routine is going to kick in, clean up my face, and then you’ll see. You’ll all see.