In the past few years, I have become a person who moisturizes. For years I would spring from the shower and into my clothes and dive out the door, because sleeping until the last moment and spending little to no time on grooming or maintenence seemed to me to be a waste of valuable time and non-renewable resources. Why slather up my body with expensive lotions when my skin was perfectly adequate, making moisture all on its own? Who cared about my delicate under-eye area, and if my oil-slick face ever required any kind of extra lubrication, then it was the end of the world or nigh unto it, and I ought to start coming up with some way to redeem my immortal soul.

But then I aged. I am thirty-mumble, which is just a handful of years away from mumble, and while my skin has not shown any signs of kindly reducing oil production and spots, it has simultaneously become cranky, crepe-y and lined.  At the same time, I have lost a lot weight rapidly, and skin that is not thoroughly moisturized bounces back less well than skin that is well-oiled daily. Of course if you tell me that I am going to become a maniacal devotee of the body lotion, if not a full-blown addict.

There are bottles and bottles of tried and rejected lotions and potions and unguents for every part of my body, under the sink. I have explored every option for keeping skin soft and bodies supple and eyes bright and alive and awake and unwrinkled. I would try puppy blood, if they could promise me that it would stave off puppet lines until the end of time. When did I become so vain, so high-maintenence, so worried about things like this? It takes so much time, in the morning. It takes reserves of cash, the fortitude for a regular routine, a sense of detail and organization both in the moment–what tube goes where and how much and in what order and let’s keep it together people–and in general. You have to monitor the effectiveness of your products, the state of your skin for any changes, your level of attractiveness vis a vis your current and recent application of a beauty routine. You have to quit your job and spend all day in your bathrobe in front of the mirror, ready to spring into action the moment a fine line appears, because otherwise you have lost and might as well just go out in your underpants, chewing on a chicken bone and making fart noises.

I started my Beauty Rituals awhile back, and I look–fine. Maybe about my age, which is really the most you can hope for. But now I can never stop. What if my oil of olay is the only thing keeping me from looking twice my age, like my own grandmother, or like a wrinkled, aging elephant with only a few good years left in him before his foot becomes a wastebasket? There’s no going back. And I’m afraid that going forward, things are only going to get more expensive.

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