Monday, January 23, 2017


I happened to catch a rerun of a reality show called “10 Years Younger,” on TV a few weeks ago. On the show, a lucky contestant, usually a woman, was put into a soundproof glass box out on a busy downtown sidewalk. The show’s host then asked passersby how old they thought the woman in the box was.

“Twenty-five!” the first person said.

“The woman in the box can’t hear you,” the host pointed out. “It’s completely soundproof.”

“Oh, she can’t? Well, then, she looks about 60! Talk about sun-damaged skin! She looks like an armadillo!”

The show then proceeded to spend a week transforming old Armadillo Face into someone so ravishing, the next time she went back into the box for public scrutiny, people guessed she was in junior high.

One of the tools they used to magically transform the woman on the show into a smooth-skinned beauty was some relatively new procedure called Thermage.  According to them, Thermage is like a facelift, but without any cutting, bruising or stitching. It uses radiofrequency to lift and tighten skin, renew facial contours and produce new collagen. Just one treatment continues to keep working for about six months, and then the final results are supposed to last for two to three years.

From the moment I saw that woman on “10 Years Younger” emerge from her Thermage treatment looking as if she’d just taken a swan dive into the Fountain of Youth, I thought, “Quick, Sally!  Run, don’t walk, to the nearest place that does this Thermage thing and throw yourself at their mercy!”

That’s because every time I look into a mirror lately, I see another part of my face sagging. Not only have I officially entered the jowl generation, people keep telling me I look “drawn” (which basically translates into “exceptionally jowly”). Whenever I shake my head, my face keeps on flapping long after I stop.

So immediately after watching that TV show, I searched the Internet to find out who, if anyone, in New Hampshire performed Thermage. I found only one doctor. I hurried to dial his number before another jowl popped out.

The woman who answered the phone couldn’t have been nicer. She raved about the procedure and its results, then asked if I wanted to schedule a consultation with the doctor. I made an appointment for the next week. She recommended that in the meantime, I check out the doctor’s website for further, more detailed information and directions to the clinic.

I hung up the phone and smiled a satisfied smile. I was on my way to being transformed from an old prune into a teenager!  I could hardly wait. That is, until I checked out the doctor’s website and read, “Thermage treatments begin at $2,500 for a small area.”

My mouth fell open. Naïve person that I was, I’d expected the treatment to cost a couple hundred dollars. And what did they consider a “small” area? An eyebrow? A dimple? Half a frown line?

I recalled how, back in high-school, when we were being measured for our graduation caps, a teacher told me my head was one of the largest she'd measured. So, I deduced, that probably meant I also had a big face, which would take a lot of Thermage treatments to cover...and end up costing me about $150,000.

I canceled my consultation.

But then, I started thinking that even if I did get my face looking less crinkly, it really wouldn’t have much of an impact anyway, because then my saggy old body wouldn’t match it. That’s because I’ve spent so many years yo-yo dieting and causing my skin to expand and contract, it now kind of looks like a balloon…after it drifted into a thorn bush.

Not long ago, however, I did find something called a body shaper that helped to hold everything in and even lifted my butt up from its current location somewhere down behind my kneecaps.  And best of all, it cost me only about $10.

When I first took the body shaper out of the package, it resembled a pair of those tight bicycle pants – in a toddler’s size. I really had my doubts about squeezing into the thing without causing serious damage to several of my vital organs. I figured it was going to be about as easy as stuffing a watermelon into a garden hose.

Just as I suspected, getting into the body shaper proved to be a challenge. I yanked, tugged, danced, jumped up and down and grunted, all the while expecting to hear “Rrrriipppp!” at any second. But to my surprise, I finally managed to squeeze into it – and with all of the seams still intact.  I thought for sure I’d never be able to take a deep breath again without suffering from lightheadedness, but the body shaper actually was pretty comfortable once I got used to it.

And when I put on my jeans and saw my reflection in the mirror, I was excited to see what looked like a more youthful figure. I vowed never to remove the body shaper again – except to take a shower.

Now all I have to do is find one for my face.

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