"Oh, the necks. There are chicken necks. There are turkey gobbler necks. There are elephant necks. There are necks with wattles and necks with creases that are on the verge of becoming wattles. There are scrawny necks and fat necks, loose necks, crepey necks, banded necks, wrinkled necks, stringy necks, saggy necks, flabby necks, mottled necks. There are necks that are an amazing combination of all the above. According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at 43 and that's that...You have to cut open a red wood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't if it had a neck." Nora Ephron from I feel Bad About My Neck.
I have a newish friend that I met when I was 5 or 6. I didn't remember her well since she was a year older and was a part of the mass playing that happened around the corner from where I grew up. But she remembered me. When Facebook came to be, she reached out to me from sunny CA. I was piecing her together as part of my memory- her dad was the soccer coach...and she had that horrid, horrid friend who I will call...Missy....(since that is her name) that I didn't even know who would 8 years later call me a name for absolutely no reason since my world diverged from theirs in 2nd grade when I went to a different school. But I digress....
This friend and I have the town of Eastham, MA in common where our parents live. We have gotten together twice since the reconnection on facebook and through the connection of having toddlers/kids. Last Summer we decided to meet at a delicious place called the Chocolate Sparrow and my second ever adult meeting with this woman started like this:
"HIIIIIII! How are you? Oh my GOD! Your neck still looks great!"
We talked about so much that morning. Politics and child rearing and dementia and marriage....but the whole time, I swear, I was touching my neck and was a split second behind the conversation since my inner dialogue was going on....
My neck looks good, still?
Whassthat mean? Whassthat?
"No, I voted for Obama! Agreeee to disagree."
Is my neck not going to look good?
Is it time to worry about my neck?
I can't believe it is time to worry about my neck.
"Have you tried Cry it Out yet? It isn't for everyone, but..."
Can she see me sneaking looks at her neck?
Her neck looks fine, too.
So we are good, yes?
Isn't neck stuff, like, for 50 and 60 year olds?
"You have to laugh or you'll cry. Or maybe you just have to do both."
I wonder how my neck looks right now?
Is it time to buy those creams?
That shit is expensive. I would like to hold off.
"He's great! Number 3 on the way. I know!"
Am I over touching my neck?
I bet I have left red splotches all over it now.
Did I seriously just check in with myself to see if I am over touching my neck?
"Do you get fried clams or oysters? I can't handle oysters- too pouchy."
OK, that woman's neck looks loose, but she is clearly 12 years older than me. 12-15 yr range for sure.
Wait! I felt my neck skin move a bit. A breeze perhaps?
It is insanity what this coffee date has brought into my life. Where I used to glance at classmates chests in 7th grade to see who was getting bigger and who had stalled at the mosquito bite stage (me, but I had fat on my side and looked fuller) I am now so curious about the neck of women my age! And not to assess it or judge it or anything negative. I am just SO fascinated by this change awaiting me in the wings. I always looked for grays and for lines. I get off the floor awkwardly and make noises when I sit. All of which I greeted with a chuckle. Ohhohohoo. I am getting old. hee hoo ha.
But now this!
And you can't hide it in jeans or under a hat. I think that is the runaway train of fear it is for some. Can't tuck it. Can't massage it away. Can't botox it into behaving. And it has so much genetics attached!
It isn't like-
It isn't like-
It is like-
Your neck is going to look like Great Aunt Chickie's or Grandma Bart's!
So then you start looking at black and white or washed out colored pictures to check the necks of all the ladies who share your bloodlines.
Or maybe you don't. Maybe you give yourself a break since nothing CAN be done, and the Scottish in you (me) will never ever allow you to buy the damn creams that probably don't even work against time.
But I do take comfort in the thought that dear, bitch Missy's neck may someday look like that of a ripe and ready Thanksgiving turkey.
(not that I am bitter)