Fashion & Beauty

Mother-of-the-Bride Chronicles, Part 1: Chasing My Chins

February 17, 2015

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SOME DAYS I WISH bearded women were in. Today is one of them. I once vastly improved a chinless ex by talking him into some pretty lush whiskers. Spotting him recently at a funeral, I noticed he’s still sporting a beard 40 years later. Does his wife know what’s under there?

Meanwhile, I resemble a basset hound in a turtleneck, a situation that is reaching crisis level as my daughter’s April wedding approaches.

To paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, At some point you have to choose between your fanny  and your face. Sadly, what I have are really good ankles, which haven’t been a significant lure since about 1915.

While kvetching about my falling face, I’ve done virtually nothing but study possible solutions for the past 30 years. Perhaps it’s the German in me, this reluctance to Get Serious About My Skin. As if I should be able to keep my chin up entirely through force of will.

Oh, how stupid are the young. Thirty years ago I looked like a nymph. A nymph with nearly undetectable scowl lines, what they call inverted commas between my eyes, no doubt formed from whining about looking older.

That’s when a similarly tetched girlfriend and I started a weekly radio talk show called “A New Wrinkle,” to discuss what to do about our nonexistent problems: Retin-A and Botox and such, then cutting edge. Fortunately, or not, the station (the only one that would host us) had such a weak signal that my husband had to sit in the car in their parking lot to listen. We made tapes, but thankfully I no longer have anything to play them back on.

Now I don’t much care about looking older, but how old I look is another matter. I’d rather not look any particular age at all. Here’s what I want to hear whispered at the wedding:

“How old is she, do you think?”

“I don’t know, she’s just ageless, isn’t she . . . ”


Clarisonic’s Mia power brush.

And so . . . back issues of Bazaar and Vogue and Allure are stacked on the bathroom floor–where occasionally I’ll approach the mirror and try something distracting with eyeliner. I read reviews of every pill, cream and serum on, where followers follow everything and occasionally post something more thoughtful and in depth than, “OMG! I can tell by the bottle that arrived two minutes ago that this is absolutely my HG.* Four stars!”   Then I compare them to the reviews on

Occasionally I’m moved to try something. Right now I’m more moved than usual.

The issue at hand is I’m cursed with a preternaturally youthful looking Mother of the Groom, who’s just six months younger than I but looks like–a kid. Evidence? When a medical event recently landed me in the hospital and she arrived at my bedside, the nurse leaned over and, I kid you not, said: “Your daughter’s here.”

And you want a photo of the two of us together? Spit, spit, as they say in Yiddish to ward off demons.

Before the wedding threat, and attendant tabs for said event started mounting, I experimented with Botox for the scowl, but the doctor was a little over-enthusiastic, my eyelids drooped, and I looked like a sleepy cow for three months. It was also goodbye to Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique, which I swore was doing something for the $80 or so it cost every six months (I always wait for the free bonus gift to replenish–who doesn’t get excited about another logo make-up bag?).

The keepers include three little purple pills a day of Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails, which has 572 positive reviews on Amazon, costs $15.49 for 250 caplets, and gets me to the point where I can use my fingernails as screwdrivers. I’m also yanking hair from some unsightly locations, so I suppose it works for that as well, and several friends thought my skin glowy enough to buy said pills–and agree with my results.

An honest four stars does go to the now-ubiquitous Clarisonic Mia, a power brush that I’ve used semi-regularly for more than a year. My face has never been cleaner and smoother. Of course I wonder if the Clarisonic major, or whatever they call it, is better . . . Maybe Clarisonic wants to send me the high-test model to test-drive?

Then I layer on serums (layering is Very Big right now) from the 50-percent-off, about-to-expire basket near the checkout aisle at Harris Teeter. Who knows if they do anything. They never get a chance to work before the next possible cheap panacea screams, Hey there!

On top of whatever I’m using that day, I slather on Nivea Creme, which has the consistency of Crisco, and which I’m told is all the MOG (that preternaturally young woman six months younger than me; see above) has ever used, and which some people swear is every bit as good as Crème de la Mer. Read the “study” done a few years ago in the UK’s Daily Mail. As Crème de la Mer has yet to appear in the Harris Teeter bin I have no basis for personal comparison–Are you listening, La Mer Corporate?

Right now I’m awaiting the postman, bearing a test drive of a miracle product that’s guaranteed, they say, to hoist the jaw and iron the crevices in four minutes flat and last for at least five hours. Which is about what I’ll need to get through The Wedding, or at least through the photography session. If it wears off too soon, I can keep a drink in front of my face.

*HG stands for Holy Grail, any product–lipstick color, mascara, face cream–that a woman has spent her life (frequently the first 18 years) ISO (in search of). OMG! (Oh my God!)

–Stephanie Cavanaugh


One thought on “Mother-of-the-Bride Chronicles, Part 1: Chasing My Chins

  1. robert says:

    This was very funny and she still “looks like a nymph”

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