When my mother had her cataracts done the one downside was the realisation her skin was no longer smooth – more bark than balm, as she thought it. Not that she really minded. She just wished she’d realised.
I found myself buying a suit last week and it was an almost novel experience. I’ve not needed one for two decades. But I’ve changed and, in truth, my suits are a bit like mum. Surprised at their condition. So I asked the factotum if his suits wrinkled. Well, his nose did.
‘If you want smooth then buy polyester.’
He didn’t say that but his expression suggested as much.
I went for a linen mix. I might look like a jobbing architect but at least the wrinkles enhance the look.
The one member of my family that did wrinkles well was Dad. He wreathed himself in them, at moments of great joy.
First pint, foreign holiday, family celebration, that sort of thing.
And he had a way of capturing the absurdity of our youthful vanities in poetry form. Much to admire really.
The Wrinkles Lament
When we gaze in the mirror while shaving
We mustn’t get too uptight,
Though the sight makes us weep
Beauty’s only skin deep,
And we’re bound to look better tonight.
Sparse locks on an over-wide forehead
Where once clustered nonchalant curls,
If dissuaded from roaming
By judicious combing
Just might deceive short-sighted girls.
We’ve always had finely drawn features
But the nostrils in that Roman beak
Which in wild youth would flare
Are now full of hair,
And constantly saltily leak.
Our eyes, which held loves sweet secrets,
Were mysterious, soft – dark as night,
Now they’re bloodshot and runny
And one’s a bit funny,
Looking left when the other looks right.
These firm chiselled mouths show good breeding
But today they can spoil our adventures
For though you feel sporty
It’s hard to be naughty
If you find you’ve forgotten your dentures.
Girlish breath in the ear was exciting
In our youth, we recall with nostalgia,
But now, poor old mugs,
If you blow down our lugs,
We’ll get an attack of neuralgia.
But it’s wrong to become introspective
That mirror can ruin our fun,
Let’s stop shaving today
Chuck our razors away
Grow beards – and think we’re twenty-one!