From men to mid life crises, from Botox to Brazilians, from infertility to infidelity, every week Jacqui Leigh gives her personal take on being a fortysomething woman
The ageless face of Aspen
On our flight to the US, Mo and I are trapped in our window seats by a friendly American businessman with B.O. Mo watches movies and eats sweets for nine solid hours without a break, while I sit in between her and Mr Stink, trying not to inhale and wondering whether I’m allowed my oxygen mask.
And so begins our holiday. Quite honestly I would rather be in the south of France lying on a beach like last year but for Mo’s sake we have come to the US so that she can be with her cousins. Long haul flights kill me, and holiday with a family isn’t quite a holiday for me but we’re lucky to be anywhere this year and I’m definitely not complaining (kind of sounds like I am though, doesn’t it?)
For two weeks I am not going think about my boyfriend’s mother, my work, my finances or Mr Bean. Sleep, eat and breath. How hard can it be?
Here in Colorado, the sun is dazzlingly bright. The air is pure like cool running water. Everything is beautiful, clean and perfect, like something from the beginning of a David Lynch movie where all it’s so perfect you know something horrible is going to come along...
Though a few normal working people live here (like my sister and her husband), Aspen is where the rich and beautiful come in their private jets to escape the summer heat. Which is why, while the rest of America stuffs itself to death on Dunkin’ Donuts, this is a town of wafer thin, super fit exercise junkies. The only slightly fat people allowed to be here work at the supermarket checkout. And as for the huge, morbidly obese people who have become part of the American landscape, I suspect they are probably sent waddling in the opposite direction by the local cops.
Meanwhile the mommies at my nephews’ school hike up a mountain before dropping the kids off at school and heading off for the gym. I kid you not. Working out is a full time occupation here. In the summer time, women of all ages live in their exercise gear, all the better to display their tanned, muscular arms and rippling calves.
As for my forty minute twice weekly sweats at the gym, that’s wouldn’t even count as a warm up for these ladies. It’s enough to make you feel a bit flabby and second rate.
But there are some things that even exercise can’t cure. (I told you the horrible bit was coming). Now I, like you, am all too familiar with photos of celebs with weird stretched faces but here you get to see it up close and personal, in the flesh. Ghouls. All over town!
What you see when you look at a woman who’s had a face lift, cheek implants, and lip augmentation, is not a young woman, not even a middle aged woman. Even though plastic surgery has greatly improved and the Joan Rivers look is a thing of the past, a woman with a stretched, plumped-up face who seems to be of no age at all looks bloody weird, trust me. You won’t be able to guess her age but one thing you can be sure of, young she ain’t!
Even worse, if you were in any doubt about her age, just to cast your eyes over her wrinkled neck, leathery arms, veiny hands and sagging knees. The face may deceive you but the body doesn’t lie. The sun is fierce here and can really dry you out, but these ladies spend so much time tramping up mountains they can’t resist showing off their flesh and no amount of weight training can stop the skin from sagging, especially around the knees. Put it away love, I feel like crowing. Plastic surgery has still got a long way to go.
Meanwhile I slap on the Factor 70, collapse on a chair in the shade and fall asleep thinking about Daniel, wondering if he’s missing me and if we’ll ever get to have a holiday together, a real lazy beach holiday, just the two of us with long delicious afternoon naps...
But every time I try to imagine it I see his mother Helga. He can’t leave her for more than a day. And by the time she pops her clogs I’ll be at least sixty and then who knows if he’ll fancy me?
I hope plastic surgery has improved because I’m really going to need some.