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Skin deep

Now, I know this is disgusting. But I’m trying to educate you. Look what you have to look forward to. One day you’ll scratch an itch and flay the very skin from your hand.

I used to think of myself as thick-skinned.

But no longer.

Let me explain.

The thing about getting older is that weird things happen to your body, none of which you expected.

Like, for example, I always talk about the time I found my first gray chin hair and realized I was turning into an Amish man.

Nobody tells you that as you get older, you’ll end up with more whiskers than most cats.

And now I’m practically a billy goat, with mutton chops.

On the downside, I’m turning into a barnyard animal.

On the upside, my face is always warm.

And nobody tells you that as you get older, your eyebrows will disappear.

Actually, more accurately, the outer edges of your eyebrows disappear. I don’t know where they go. They’re just not there one day.

Instead of sideways parentheses over your eyes, you have commas, at most.

I’m pretty sure in time you’ll only have periods.

Ironically, this will happen when you otherwise lack periods altogether.

You won’t miss them.

At some point, I bet there’s no punctuation at all.

Now, when I do my Facebook Live videos, I have to draw in eyebrows where they used to be.

It’s a great look if you’re Gloria Swanson.

And if you know who Gloria Swanson is, you probably don’t have eyebrows either.

And while we’re on the subject of eyes, the time will come when your eyelids will droop so far that they rest comfortably on the top of your eyelashes.

Or whatever eyelashes you have left.

They fall out, too.

Bottom line, anything hairy falls out and lands on your chin, where it reattaches itself like a dandelion seed taking root. And soon it will sprout on your chin, so you have to pluck it as part of the circle of female life.

I don’t know this is biologically accurate.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter.

Because it’s truly what it feels like.

Your hair redistributes itself.

And evidently, so does your skin.

I say this because the other day, I had an itch on my hand while I was working, so I scratched it, absently. I wasn’t paying attention. I was doing my actual job and writing on the computer. But when I looked down, there was blood all over my keyboard. Because I had basically scratched my skin off.

Now, I know this is disgusting.

But I’m trying to educate you.

Look what you have to look forward to.

One day you’ll scratch an itch and flay the very skin from your hand.

Did you just throw up in your mouth?

Then you get the idea.

I didn’t know I was so thin-skinned.

I remember reading that skin thins when you get older, but this is ridiculous.

Number one, I’m not that old, and number two, I need some skin.

Not a whole lot, not inches, but just one layer, like Saran Wrap to keep my blood and guts fresh.

And inside me.

Is that so much to ask?

And, honestly, I liked being thick-skinned.

I like thinking of myself as thick-skinned.

Life will thicken your skin, until age thins it again.

You can’t win.

With skin.

Meanwhile, the craziest thing is that the skin on my feet is getting thicker. I’ve written before about how my feet dry up so much in wintertime that they turn into hooves, like horses or goats.

But lately, I’m entering pachyderm territory.

I’m pretty sure if I stepped on a nail, I wouldn’t feel a thing.

Pretty soon I won’t even need shoes.

My soles will be leather.

And my transformation from human to cow will be complete.

But here’s what I don’t get:

Why is the skin on my feet getting thicker, while the skin everywhere else is getting thinner?

Maybe the skin is redistributing itself, the way the hair did, so that I’m shedding skin cells from the upper half, like snowflakes.

And the skin snow is falling down and sticking on my feet.

And seeding itself, like with the dandelion hair.

I know this is a wildly mixed metaphor.

I’m just trying to explain something I don’t understand.

And to warn you.



Buy an eyebrow pencil.

And a snow shovel.

Look for Lisa’s first historical novel, “Eternal,” coming on March 23. Also look for Francesca’s debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” on sale now.