Post by Gill Harrison
As I entered my thirties I knew the world would soon expect me to pay for youth and beauty.
But only this week, a month off my 35th birthday, did I realise that I enter the anti-ageing market wide eyed and naive, and therefore a complete sucker for shopping centre cosmetic sales and marketing teams.
My mistake came in the form of eye contact held a second too long. She swooped swiftly, placing a cool hand on my arm. With reluctance I stopped my trolley knowing she had me where she wanted me. Christmas shoppers pushed past us in a whirl of festive frenzy.
“Oh, so hot?” she soothed in a voice as smooth as honey.
”Yes, it’s hot” I replied lamely.
“And how is your day going?” Her voice was accented (Spanish?) She made sure to keep up a stream of chatter as she moved subtlety into her routine. Without asking she squeezed cold gel onto my tired hand. ”Now, did you know about the healing properties of honey?” She massaged the gel gently. My shoulders melted into the simplicity of her touch. The boys quietened in the trolley, curiosity overcame their restlessness.
Maybe I need this.
The gel smelt like butter on warm toast. Such flawless ingredients!
“I bet I could make this gel at home?” I joked to the girl.
“Oh, but you won’t find this honey in the supermarket. We use only the most high quality honey available” admonished the girl.
My eyes scanned the display of little bottles, packaged inside dainty green boxes.
Maybe I need this.
“You have some fine lines developing under your eyes. And your skin is quite dehydrated. Sunspots are developing. And some laugh lines. This product would be wonderful for your flaws.”
I need this.
“How much?” I asked.
A bright smile broke across her face. I realised her youthful beauty. Her almond-coloured skin glistened, her teeth white and straight.
“$198 is our regular retail price. But today we have a special Christmas gift for our customers, today it will cost you just $167!”
I backed away. She sensed the spell weakening.
“C’mon YOU are a mother. You don’t get any time to yourself. You need to treat yourself. You need to look after yourself. “
The spell broke into a thousand pieces.
Suddenly I didn’t appreciate this girl with her honey voice pointing out my fine lines and wrinkles. Suddenly I didn’t like the way she used the common complaints of motherhood against me. I looked at my boys, still watching from the trolley. I didn’t want them to see me fooled.
Whatever became of Beauty? When did fine lines and wrinkles take her for ransom?
Maybe I need this. Maybe I’ll be beautiful, if only I had this gel. Maybe my life will change if I rid myself of all fine lines and creases. Maybe my fears and worries will fade away with my sunspots, if only I had this expensive organic honey to roll about in.
Maybe I need to drink more water. Eat better. Sleep earlier.
Marketers weave a sticky web. Be careful what you say. They listen to our anxieties, worries and complaints and they lure us with a miracle solution, with promises in a jar.
“Why did that lady rub honey on your hand, mummy?” Oscar asked as we walked away. “Because she wanted to sell me something”.
“But why was she so nice, mummy?”
Because honey catches more flies than vinegar.
How do you feel about fine lines and ageing? Do we need to reclaim Beauty? Redefine her?