woman smiling
photo: Elena Ray/Shutterstock

Let’s face it, no one wants to look their age because that would be tantamount to admitting that time and gravity are real and that we all get O-L-D and eventually die. And then we’d have to acknowledge that the $4,217.23 we spent last year on anti-aging creams, serums, masks, injections, facial exercises, mudpacks, and trainers who yelled, “Don’t frown, damn it!” were a waste of time and money.

Besides, if we women look older, how are we going to get powerful men to sexually harass us and construction workers to catcall us? Would Louis CK be interested in molesting himself in our presence if we have crows’ feet? Would Matt Lauer press his office door-locking button if he spotted a varicose vein? After all, if a woman isn’t in constant fear for her safety, is she actually a woman anymore?

If you’re like me, your Facebook feed and e-mail box are probably overflowing with “practical” tips for adjusting your make-up, fashion, and eating habits so that you can pretend to be a woman much younger and less likely to punch someone in the throat for suggesting you wear a scarf made out of tiny Christmas lights to both cover up your turkey wattle and distract from your laugh lines.

I say, forget all those tips, if you haven’t already. Really, I’m serious. I’ve already forgotten what this article was supposed to be about. I got up and fed the dogs, then clothes in the laundry, and put the finishing touches on my plan for smashing the patriarchy one wine glass at time, so where were we?

Oh, yes, I remember now. Tips for avoiding looking our age. I’ve dug down deep and done some research – by which I mean I spent hours on Facebook and Twitter yelling at the screen – and come up with 14 things that you may currently be doing that make you look haggard, listless, and paler than Trump’s ethics lawyer’s face at a deposition with Robert Mueller. I could have come up with 15, but I don’t buy into the decimal system. I’m more of a base 7 girl myself. That’s a math joke. If you can tell math jokes at parties, people will avoid you and they’ll never really know how old you look. That’s my theory.

So… here are the biggest mistakes a woman over 45 can make that will automatically age her:

1. Carrying a bag of cement in a backpack. This will cause you to slump over and look like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. That big-eyed humpy look doesn’t do anyone justice. Besides, what are you doing still carrying a backpack? At your age, shouldn’t you have invested in a nice faux leather purse big enough to haul around your laptop, your wallet, your make-up, a pair of running shoes, a home gym, your teacup Rottweiler and a pair of purple bedazzled boxing gloves in case some idiot man tries to follow you home. Anything else is just superfluous.

2. Pretending to know who the band/podcaster/or DJ a much younger person at work just mentioned is. Instead of lying, try to distract said younger person with an avocado and a puppy. If that doesn’t work, hand them an X-Box, some weed, and two cans of Pringles. Then run into the break room before they ask you a follow-up question.

3. Spending time with anyone who watches Fox News. Those people are usually covered in a thick coating of “Hannity slime” which tends to orange the skin and make you look like a jaundiced tangerine (and not in a trendy way). If you are exposed to secondhand Fox News in an airport or at your racist gynecologist’s office, organic baby wipes are your best bet for revealing your natural human-toned skin color.

4. Trying to pass off your pre or post-menopausal gut as an unintended pregnancy. Unless you can back up your claims with a pee-stick you stole out of someone’s bathroom trash can, don’t go there. Instead, consider the many practical uses your round belly provides. It’s a great place to help you balance a small plate of appetizers at a party. It provides a warm and comfortable bed for a smallish animal – from squirrel to raccoon, depending. You can even use it for art. Who doesn’t want to try painting landscapes on their abs ala Bob Ross. Look, your belly button is a seagull!

5. Pretending to be keeping up with the Kardashians. Chances are you’re not even keeping up with your own drama, so why invite Kim, Khloe, and Koala Lampur into your life? Do they try to keep up with you? Hell no!

6. Not voting. Letting politicians decide what you and millions of other women get to do with their bodies will make your ovaries curl up into tiny balls like doodlebugs, and they will hide until more progressive candidates are elected. And every time you take a step, you’ll feel them rolling back and forth, back and forth in there. You do not want to invite that kind of lady trouble.

7. Hitting your friends up for weed and wine. A woman your age should have her own sources.

8. Using your cell phone at night. No one looks good in the harsh glow of blue light, especially if you have your font size set to “visible from space.”

9. Hanging around city parks pretending one of the 5-year-olds is your kid. Who are you, Roy Moore? If you absolutely can’t admit to being a grandmother or older aunt, tell anyone who’s nosy enough to ask that you’re writing your college thesis on the development of heteronormative gender roles among 5-year olds in a playground setting.

10. Acting like you’re stupid. This may be cute on a college girl (but only if everyone is too drunk to understand the difference between “cute” and “ridiculous”), but holding your intelligence inside causes your gallbladder to form stones that look like the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And you know what they say, “Before 40, you’re always aware of your ovaries. After 40, you’re always aware of your gallbladder.”

11. Insisting that your man or woman or both wear a sleep mask during sex (with you; with themselves, it’s optional) because you’re too self-conscious to get undressed in the light. Just take your clothes off and repeat into the mirror, “This is my body and it’s is proof that chocolate is more important than Pilates.” If you are in a new relationship and really want a little more air of mystery about how your body looks, buy 10-watt light bulbs.

12. Macrameing your hair into a hanging plant holder. Sure, it was a good party trick in the ‘80s, but some things don’t make the generational leap, especially if they’re not wearing a sturdy bra.

13. Collecting dead skin cells from your daughter and adhering them to your face with Gorilla Glue. Use Elmer’s instead; it won’t dry out your skin so much.

14. Referring to your vibrator as “Bob.” Face it. It’s “Robert” by now.

 

Well, there you go. If you avoid these 14 mistakes, you’ll feel no older than your actual age, plus or minus three standard deviations. Yep, I made another math joke! You’ll feel so young, you might even be able to pass yourself off as someone young enough for a role in a Woody Allen movie.