On one of those dreadful days during my pregnancy when my skin was uncooperative, I had eaten more watermelon than I cared to admit, and even my yoga pants no longer fit, I hauled myself down to the walk-in manicurist at the mall to get a pedicure on the feet I could no longer reach myself. I needed to control something, to engage in some sort of comforting beautifying routine, and since I couldn’t do anything without feeling the guilt from all the all-natural mom articles I was reading at the time (“Could Your Mascara Be Killing Your Baby?!”), an emergency pedicure it was (I specifically avoided reading articles on how nail polish would certainly cause birth defects).
I signed my name on the login sheet, and went outside to wait and read on a park bench (I should at least get some brownie points for avoiding some salon fumes, right?).
A friend happened by (because of course I see one of the most stylish people I know when I’m wearing my now-mostly-elasticless gym shorts from 7th grade), and then just as I was settling in to my book, a lady, appearing to be in her 50s, settled herself primly beside me.
Noticing I was pregnant (as older ladies are wont to do), she asked me “Are you having a baby?” (as older ladies are wont to do). I replied, “Yes” and our conversation began.
It turns out that Justina (as I later learned her name to be) was a sprightly young 80-something-year-old, and I firmly insisted she divulge her most effective strategies for staying young. Without hesitating, she gave me several pointers, most of which I’ll pass on here (I have to keep a couple of tips to myself!).
“Take care of your skin.”
Justina insisted that most people put too much “stuff” on their skin, and not enough sunscreen (I immediately logged on to amazon and ordered a new tube).
“Don’t gain a lot of weight.”
This directive was accompanied by an impressive bicep flex and a rundown of Justina’s current gym routine. I’ve been trying to think of an acceptable excuse for not going to the gym ever since. Unsuccessfully.
“Have good posture.”
Thank goodness my mother wasn’t with me to hear that and elbow me in the ribs, since she spent most of my childhood with this admonishment on her lips.
“Rub oil on your belly every day.”
I assume this was a pregnancy-specific piece of advice, but just in case, I still use oil moisturizers.
As my jaw dropped, Justina maintained that she had been able to keep her husband interested over the years by remaining a hot commodity (his interest was evident as he offered his arm to escort her into the nearest store). After a half-hour’s conversation with her, I was thoroughly convinced that if he had half a brain at all (I’m sure he had quite the brain-women like Justina rarely tolerate men who haven’t), she never had to remind him just how marketable she was; it was undeniably evident.