“You have beautiful skin,” he said. Though my husband wasn’t within earshot, it was too late in the evening to be a come-on, so I just smiled and said “Thanks.”
And, then I gave him the spiel, the story I’ve been repeating for 30+ years. Half my life, since my husband I traveled west to the lands of constant sunshine and sand. “I grew up in Indiana where there was no beach.”
The first person to whom I replied thus, was a May company cosmetics counter woman who was, at the time, about my 30-something age. She had literally walked out from behind her counter to stalk me as I swept past. At first I thought it was a come-on, but then I relaxed. I could see that she was asking on behalf of herself. There was something beyond what she sold that was the fountain of youth, and I think she would have paid any price.
So, to her, as I sometimes add to women who are my age, whose face is more crinkled than mine: “I drink lots of water.” And, I don’t add, “duh” because hasn’t this advice been repeated for one’s good health, across the board.
To others who aren’t satisfied, still longing for me to unleash some nefarious and/or over-priced secret, I add another truth: “My dad had good skin.”
Dad despised swimming and the beach, so we wouldn’t have gone as a family when I was under his roof – even if there’d been such amusement in our little towns.
Besides, I was too busy inside, burying my head in yet another book.
I will not lie: I despised being white and hyper-freckled throughout my school years. I also hated being a redhead… but changes in adolescence, followed by an adult life in the sunny clime of southern CA have bleached it blonde. I no longer aspire, in my next life, to have thick hair and a tan. I have blonde hair and beautiful skin, all peaches and cream, in this one. I feel blessed.
So, to recap: 1. I didn’t sunbathe extensively, drenched in Johnson’s Baby Oil, in those pre-sunscreen days of my youth, 2. I drink oodles of water and 3. stay inside to read or write books.
Finally, and there’s no remedy for this factor, my friends: I picked good parents, a good genetic pool of British Isle descent. (please laugh at this line…as if I had a choice. hahaha)