Nixon and Me: United in Jowls

There's a Surgery for That!

Nixon and Me: United in Jowls

Richard Nixon and I sadly have something in common. Jowls. I’ve tried to ignore the problem, but jowls and jawlines are in the news. So, what can I do?

Yes, regrettably, I – the anti-plastic surgery woman – am once again day-dreaming about plastic surgery.

And once again, that liberal bastion of news, my beloved New York Times, is to blame. Just the other day, the paper hit my hyper-sensitive vanity hot button with a story entitled “They Have to Worry About Their Jawlines Too?”

According to The Times, concern about jawlines is “an issue of appearances that was once found mainly among men and models, but now distressed damsels – and dudes – of all ages are taking drastic measures to have “an Instagram-ready jaw.”

I Doth Protest LOUDLY

I disagree. I have worried – intensely – about my jawline since the mid-1980s. And it is the fault of Shannon V., one of my very best girlfriends, although her harsh words at the time did sorely test our friendship.

A Friend in Deed?

Shannon, more sister than friend, is a hairdresser. She lovingly cares for the hair of my entire family and has done so for decades. Yet, one day, as I sat in her beauty salon chair, draped in that black shroud all salons seem to favor, she looked up from my hair and into the mirror. She peered at my face. She scowled. And then, she scowled some more.

“What’s the matter?” I asked in alarm, fearing, but doubting she had made a mistake with the shears.

“Oh, nothing,” she oh-too-hastily declared.

“No, really. What’s the matter?” I said in a shrieky, shrill voice. “Lice?”

“What? No,” she quickly replied, knowing what a bug-a-phobe I am. “It’s just that … Oh, it’s nothing.”

Attempting to change the subject, she tried talking about my kids. She tried talking about her kids. She tried talking about the weather … like there is anything new to say about the weather in Las Vegas in the summer, where the options are hot, hotter or hotter than Hell.

Finally, she blurted out what was on her mind.

“It just … Well, you’re going to have jowls.”

“What? You mean like Richard Nixon?”

Neither of us said another word.

She finished cutting and blow-drying my hair.

“We’re still on for Sunday dinner, right?” Shannon asked in a tentative voice as I left.

“Yeah,” I mumbled.

“Yeah, right, when Hell freezes over,” I thought, shaking my head and my jowls-to-be.

“Welcome” to My Jowls-dom

And that was the start of decades of (fruitless) neck and facial exercises to avoid the inevitable – my date with jowl-dom!

I’ve tried chewing gum in the belief that it would strengthen the jawline. I stopped chewing gum because I believed it stretched the jawline and caused sagging skin.

I have purchased skin and neck creams by the score. Neutrogena. Elizabeth Arden. Olay. Oy vey. None has worked, And I’ve taken a professional and personal vow to avoid teleconferences and Skyping, fearful of unflattering, unforgiving sight lines and harsh shadows.

Long before security and privacy concerns, I strategically duct-taped over the camera feature on my computer to avoid an inadvertent video moment with friends and relations.

Out Damn Selfie

And Heaven forbid I take a selfie! There isn’t a selfie-stick long enough to make my cheeks, jowls, and neck look lean and lovely.

So, now, amid my Cowardly Lion anti-plastic surgery instincts, I find myself plastic surgery dreaming again. It seems there are all sorts of new, a-hum, cutting-edge techniques. If the surgical risks and pain don’t scare you off, the costs might. They’re steep and will cut deeply into your wallet.

As a result, I’m simultaneous – and obsessively – researching the latest non-invasive jawline improvement procedures. I’ve investigated everything from fillers to fancy facials to massages, micro-currents, and makeup.

And in a no-mans land of between invasive and non-invasive procedures there’s also “facial acupuncture rejuvenation.” Yet, to me, a needle is invasive. So, Chicken Little me is ruling that out too.

Winter is Coming

Right now, I’m still slack-jawed and solution-less. I feel overwhelmed by the choices, the cost, and self-doubt.

Perhaps I should just accept myself the way I am? What’s wrong with being middle-aged and moving on past vanity? Yet, who am I kidding? I will never be post-vanity and I definitely don’t want jowls like Richard Nixon!

So, while I muddle through the various surgical and non-surgical options, I can find temporary comfort in knowing, unlike the worried characters on Game of Thrones, that “winter is coming.” Soon I will be able to drape my neck right up to my jowls in turtlenecks sweaters and scarves. And if winter is particularly harsh, I can even don one of those balaclavas that cover your entire face and head! Of course, I live in Berkeley, CA, so it might look a little odd. BUT I could wear it to rob a bank AND then I’d have enough money for one of those pricey jawline surgeries! Just think how good I’ll look in my mugshot photo!

Some Say Balaclava. Some Say Baklava

Or fearing prison, I might skip the balaclava and just buy some baklava. If my face and body are going to ruin, I might as well enjoy myself along the way!

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