Posted by: Admin | July 20, 2010

WHOSE HANDS?

WARNING: IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY CHILDREN, (OR GENERALLY OF A NERVOUS DISPOSITION) DO NOT READ ON. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HORROR AND EMBARRASSMENT IF YOU IGNORE THIS NOTICE

I could write reams about the sadness I feel at the slow, but relentless degradation of my body. I shall skim over the details lest it put you off your skinny latte, suffice it to say that I now have more curves than angles and about as much spring-back-ability in my skin as a piece of broken knicker elastic. I’ve changed my mind – have a few details:

Who is that old woman holding my wine glass?

I now have what I like to call “silver highlights”, though who I think would actually sit in the hairdresser’s with foils on their head to achieve this effect I have no idea. Over time, my foundation wear (what a lovely, old-fashioned phrase!) has become more about containment and less about boasting and I sometimes find myself hunting for “comfortable” knickers. You know, ladies, the kind that your grandmother told you would “keep your kidneys warm”.

Failing eyesight helps, of course. I was sitting in the garden with my daughter last summer and casually remarked (as you do) that I was saving a fortune on waxing as the hair on my legs just doesn’t seem to grow as fast any more. She raised an eloquent eyebrow at me. “Go and get your glasses, Mum,” she advised. OMG! as I would have to say if I was texting.

Speaking of legs, mine, I have to report, do not like being parted for long. I ill-advisedly went horse-riding a year ago and after an hour in the saddle my hips had frozen into position so that I couldn’t dismount.  I had to be lifted – quite literally – from the saddle by a stablehand and placed, deformed and agonised, on a mounting block. I hasten to add that the stablehand then walked away – this is not that kind of story. Besides, these days, in the bedroom, I am less likely to cry out in passion than I am in pain as I am convulsed with cramp.

But these trials are as nothing when I catch a glimpse of my hands. It’s as if a malevolent gnome has crept into my room at night, armed with liposuction equipment and sucked out all the fat on my fingers. My fingers, you stupid bloody gnomes – didn’t you read the training manual? You’re welcome to the fat in my thighs, I needed the stuff in my fingers! My knuckles have grown baggy, the backs of my hands wrinkle at the slightest touch and I go through hand cream the way the England football team go through excuses.

Oh, there she is!

I would like to kid myself that I am beyond such vanity, that I actually like the way my eyes disappear like shy currants when I laugh. “Every wrinkle tells a story”, my grandmother used to say. Bollocks. Every wrinkle makes me less recognisable to myself!

Seriously, do I really, really care? On one level, yes I do, if I’m honest. Sure, there are far worse tragedies that have befallen me, let alone wider humanity, than the marks of age which are arriving thick and fast. I wish I wasn’t so shallow that I could see beyond my poor old hands in this photo to the happy smile that generally accompanies half a glass of wine (my limit).  It was a good evening, spent with Daughter No1 and her Beau and my equally baggy husband.

Sorry, darling. At least we’re sagging together, I guess!

"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be" Robert Browning

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Responses

  1. You’re fun. I’ll be back to read more but now I have to get in bed before I fall asleep. I hate waking in the middle of the night in my chair.

    • There’s no fool like an old fool, as the saying goes, and an “old fool” is always welcome here! Jo

  2. You will always be lovely to me. x

  3. Sis, I am loving your thoughts on this, preparing me for my old age!!! Still as your dear little niece will tell you, your not wrinkley you’ve just shrunk your skin!!!!!!!!!!! Love you just the way you are xxx

  4. I was shocked a few years ago to look down and realize I now have my MOTHER’s hands–you know, the ones that have short stubby fingers, large knuckles, and popping veins…

    Oh well, if I can still be doing all that she does with her hands now that she’s in her 70s (such as learning how to play organ and still enjoying time in the garden), I guess I’ll keep “her” hands after all!

  5. […] regularly you’ll know I’ve often written about image and appearance. In July 2010 in Whose Hands? I began: I could write reams about the sadness I feel at the slow, but relentless degradation of […]


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