Sports Illustrated, Pubic Hair and Botox: My Full Frontal Battle With Aging

Sports Illustrated’s latest porn edition finds it’s way from the coffee table, to the bathroom, under the bed, stuffed in a backpack and back again.

Yet again, it initiated an in-depth, conversation about women, body parts and age with my young son.

“Mom, are her boobs real?”
“I dunno.”
“Most definitely.”
“Would you ever get plastic surgery?”
“Time to eat!”

A month ago, we indulged in a necessary shopping spree. (I abhor shopping) Breaking out in a cold sweat, I maintained my smile while perusing row upon row of Levi’s®. My light, happy (fake) shopping mood swiftly changed when questioned over my preference of cut and size for a pair of blue jeans.

“Wasn’t that the size you wore when I met you?” said hub.
“I don’t know how you do it; I mean wearing jeans that cut off your breathing compacity must be unbearable.”
“What are you saying? Do you think I look FAT?”
“Well, they are painted on.”

I silently vowed to myself, that I am ready to work on losing some of my extra weight. Denial can only carry me so far. A few weeks later, while driving my son home from school, he asks about every woman’s worst nightmare (or second worst, other than wrinkles):

“Mom, do you think you are in menopause yet?”
“I don’t know, why do you ask?”
“Well, I learned in health class that, during menopause women’s bodies change shape.”
“Thier weight shifts, moving from their hips, up.”
“Really? So you are saying that my butt will get smaller and my breasts bigger?”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore, but in theory yes.”
“Mom, you must be in menopause because your middle is getting thick. You feel squishy when I hug you.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

Once home, after my “mom chores” were finished I headed upstairs for a much needed time out. A bath. There in the favorable light of my small slice of heaven, I finally see my body after months of not looking. ‘Squishy’ is an apt description of my tummy. ‘Thick,’ it is true. From my clavicle down to my toes, ‘thick” rules. I watched my cellulite undulate as I stepped in the bath.

There amongst the bubbles, I discovered that I had gone grey. I don’t give two shits if it is “trendy.” A few quick swipes with my razor and that horrifying sight is no longer my reality. Feeling pretty slick, if you know what I mean, I decided to head outside, to lay on a pool chair and absorb the sun.

It took me twenty minutes of rifling through my dresser before I located my one and only two-piece swimsuit. It is black. Everything I own is black. The color black hides all of my flaws.

It took me another thirty minutes to wiggle into it. I felt like I was wearing two industrial rubber bands. I looked like it too. On my way out the door, hubs offered unsolicited commentary.

“It is hard getting old. Look at our bodies. I hate looking and feeling fat. Middle age sucks.”
“What?! Are you saying that I am OLD? And FAT?!”
“Well, come on, I mean with everything that has been going on, all the meds and not going to the gym, it’s bound to happen. I have always told you, to me you look great no matter if you weigh 120 or 180 pounds.”
“Fuck you.”

Last week, I enjoyed some much-needed girl time with one of my besties. Sitting on the veranda, wine glasses in hand, the conversation swiftly moved into Botox® territory.

“When was the last time you had it done?” she asked.
“Your wedding.”
“I just had a touch-up.”
“You look beautiful.”
“Why don’t you go and have a bit done. You look a little tired.”
“Are you kidding? I am exhausted. But no, no more botox for me.”
“Well, besides the fact that they use it now to control bladder leakage, I am still embarrassed about the last time I had it done. I mean, I looked like a freak in all of your wedding photos. Me, not one wrinkle in sight, with two defined balls for cheeks.”
“You didn’t look that bad.”

Gulp. Wine drained. Friday rolled around (no pun intended), and I raced to my beloved psychiatrist’s (aka drug dealer) office.

“How are you holding up?” said she, calm and collected.
“Ah you know, it’s the usual. Dysfunction for days. I just want to talk about my meds today, instead of all that other drama. Ok?”
“Sure, what do you want to know?”
“Am I getting fat? When you met me, I was twenty pounds lighter. Is it me, aging, my depression or is it my pill cocktail?”
“Unfortunately some of your medications do have side effects that cause weight gain. What is more important, though? Mental health or gaining a few pounds.”
“You know my answer to that.”

Pharmaceutical weight gain. Great. Immediately after my appointment, I received an SOS from an old work colleague.

“Hey, I have this client that is interested in booking you for a great gig. Can you send me some photos?”

Being the selfie diva that I am, I quickly sourced the best light and my best angle (which happens to be chin up, so that I can stretch my turkey neck into submission)


“I need more photos. The client says you look too young. They want to see if you have texture, on your face.” he pleaded.
“I have enough texture of my face to rival Mt.Everast, I assure you.”


“The client needs more shots. They are on the fence about booking you. I know it is first thing in the morning out there, but do me a solid, get your hub to shoot some pics. I need them full face, not up your nostril, no makeup and you need to look your age.”

With that, I threw my vanity to the wind, cringing all the way.

I guess the moral of the story is; I am who I am. Squishy, grey, wrinkly and undulating. So be it.

Facing my fears i.e. facing my face and body full frontal – no touch ups or tricks allowed- has liberated me. (Let’s not forget the quick shave. That did wonders for my self-esteem.) I know that sounds weird, but it has.

I booked the job by the way. I found out, right after I threw away that wandering issue of Sports Illustrated.

I think not.

Photo: © Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

  1. NOOOOOOO!! There ARE alternatives!! We do NOT need to give in to the weight thing at least. Wrinkles, well, so what, my life story writ for all to read. But fat??? No, we can do an annual detox-cum-diet, give our poor livers a break, and regain our self-image. No need to go down to skin and bones, we are women, right, not skeletons (or as one taxi driver called a friend of mine, not ‘skinny white bitches’.) The main thing is to be HEALTHY, and have lots of energy, so healthy food makes for a healthy body, and I’d better stop because I’m saddling up on my hobby horse…
    And let’s not forget, beauty is within, not in its outer manifestation..THAT’S THE TRUTH!! XOXO

  2. Love this. I know all the arguments. I fought for every ounce in my 50s. Now, I have less interest in wearing a size 6 and having well shaped biceps, but I still want to be fit and can’t quite accept what looks back at me in the mirror. I loved my grandma’s softness. Why do I hate my own? I’m trying to find a new balance. Trying to accept that I’m 71 and the numbers will only get bigger while my body finds more ways to show its age–if I’m lucky. I remind myself of a few friends who didn’t get a chance to get old because they died too young.

  3. katherine a wilson

    Julie, Julie, Julie…I’m right there with you, girl – the struggle is real. <3 <3 <3

  4. Love
    …you nailed it so fine.
    Body image acceptance, I’m always chasing it. Not to mention the eternal question, “Would I rather be chunky on Seroquel or skinny and manic?”
    You have seen my choice.
    This one of your BEST pieces. So relatable!

  5. **I am who I am. Squishy, grey, wrinkly and undulating. So be it.**

    Thank you for this, Julie.

    And the line about “Look your age.” what the hell does that mean? No wonder woman starve, puke, and have body image issues.

    Love and appreciation from MN. x

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