Wednesday, November 16, 2005

“You don’t look 39!”

Yeah, I know. I hear it all the time it’s practically a mantra. But before Nikolai can roll his eyes and say, “There he goes again with his age angst,” let me assure you all that this won’t be about me dealing with my advanced years. Oh no, no, no, I’m aiming for something higher and nobler. Ahem.

“You don’t look 39!” Listen to it. Doesn’t it sound so commercial-ready? Why, it’s practically begging for the follow-up question: “What’s your secret, McVie?”

So, in the interest of those inquiring minds who wanna know, I will attempt to answer that question. (And maybe someone can make a commercial out of this, who knows?) Besides whenever somebody utters that statement, our conversation rarely goes into examining the reasons why I look younger than my age. It always gets stuck in the “Well, you don’t look your age too!” bull and the mandatory “Age is in the mind” shit.

So here I go. The short and truthful answer? I really don’t know why I look younger than my age. But I will posit some theories:

It’s the genes. Okay, that was a no-brainer. I remember my mom telling us that when my dad was still single, his officemates called him “Babyface.” And my mom’s no slouch in that department either. She’s already 60+ but she looks like she’s just in her late 40s to early 50s.

It’s the disposition. I’m not a happy-go-lucky guy, nor am I Mr. Bright-Side-of-Life. I don’t go around singing, “I’m walking on sunshine, wooo-hooo!” What I do have is a coping mechanism rooted in humor. While others cry, get mad or get even, I laugh at things. I laugh at myself. I don’t take most things seriously, especially me. Oh yes, I get sad or depressed or mad. But I just need to blow off steam, and then I see the humorous or ironic or incongruous side of things. Then the waters become placid again. Besides laugh lines look better on a guy’s face versus frown lines. So whip out your old copy of Desiderata and read it again.

It’s the oily skin. I know that oiliness is next to ugliness—that’s what my friend says whenever he whips out his handy Gatsby Oil Facial Strips—but I think that in my case the oiliness helps keep my facial skin soft. Mind you my skin’s not smooth; I had my share of bad-skin days, and I have the small pockmarks to remind me. But at least my skin’s not dry and craggy-looking.

It’s the company I keep. Er, no, I’m not encouraging you to go all Michael Jackson on kids, okay? My decision to stay in touch with 17-19 year old kids year after year (thanks to TA) has resulted in my staying in touch with my inner teen. What’s more I’ve seen trends come and go with them, and the changes in pop cultural tastes. But some things never change, especially on how they view love and relationships. One generally hopeful trend: the kids today are less homophobic and more open-minded when it comes to gays. Sure we still have a long, long way to go but at least that’s a bright spot on the horizon.

It’s the dancing. No one contests that physical exercise is good for aging gracefully and in good health. But I think dance is unique because if you strip it down to its bare essentials, it’s actually a joyful celebration for both body and spirit; there’s actually something close to spiritual when you lose yourself in the dance. (Dancing can also be used as bait for hooking up, especially in Bed, but let’s not get into that.) Dancing uplifts my spirits and burns calories to boot.

What, no sex? You see, it depends. If it’s great, then it’s like dancing. But it’s the hunt leading up to the sex that can dampen the spirits (not to mention lower one’s self-image).

Oh dear. I don’t think Myra-300 E or Enervon would like what I just listed down. Only the publishers of Desiderata and dance clubs would want me as an endorser. But none of them are advertising, so there goes my commercial career.


Blogger Saint Eroica said...

mine's "you don't look 34!!!" my secret??? protein. yep, that's right... ;)

12:58 AM  

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