“Beauty Contests are stupid,” my daughter said, in response to my cheer upon hearing that Univision had ditched the Miss Universe pageant, and that, in response to Donald Trump’s “thoughtful commentary” about immigrants crossing our Southern border. “Everyone is beautiful in his own way,” she said, completing her thought. Gee, maybe she does hear what I’m trying to impart after all?
Her statement comforts me because despite Photoshop (and fond memories), I’ve never been a great beauty. Further I’m not like a fine wine; I’m not improving with age. In fact, weight gain and middle age force me to ask whether I’d need to pay to get laid were I not married to a husband who is committed to monogamy? [Honey, if you’re reading this – it’s a rhetorical question.]
Thus, I concluded the money I’d thought about investing in Botox would be better spent on insurance co-pays. And so began my “50th Birthday Medical Tour: The Quest for Inner Beauty”. I made appointments with all “those doctors” you know you should see but put off actually going to for as long as possible. And I wonder why my kids don’t just take their vitamins and apply sun block without complaint?
My gynecologist told me that I should keep exercising; eat less and that, “I can tell from a vagina if a woman is eating too much sugar.” If I weren’t in stirrups I’m sure I would’ve thought to ask how sweet my snatch appeared. But wearing a paper “gown” while flashing a dude who has just felt you up tends to tinker with one’s thought processes. I left with some dignity in tact—and a prescription for a mammogram. As I picked off the parts of the gown that had stuck to me—we’re having an unusually humid summer here—I had a flash of penis envy. Sure, men will have to cough while a doctor has a finger up their rectum but that doesn’t start until 40. Those of us with ‘she parts’ have been forced into stirrups since our teens.
Then, there was the allergist for whom I’d sacrificed my beloved antihistamines for two whole days. Turns out I’m allergic to olive trees—one of the most common in our LA environs –as well as a few other allergens around town… several of which are particularly prevalent in my City of Angels. Maybe my immune system is trying to tell me that I don’t fit into this city of beauty and trends. Or, it could be the fact that my laugh is ‘throaty’ and my breath wheezy most of the time that is the reason I feel out of place here so much of the time?
Almost all of my blood tests were in the normal range except for my Vitamin D level, which was in the toilet. This proves that I am as neurotic as I claim to be about sunscreen… since sunscreen actually blocks the good vitamin D. Now it’s time to be equally conscientious about adding 2,000mg of D3 to my daily pill regiment. Is there anything besides beauty that diminishes as we age? Again – and especially if you’re a medical professional – this is a rhetorical question.
“Your LDL (bad cholesterol) is a bit high – but your HDL (good cholesterol) is exceptionally high – which is good,” my general practitioner said. “To what do you attribute that?” “Working out and green juices?” I replied. The doctor considered this a reasonable explanation. There are times, despite what my twitchy immune system says, that I do love living in a town where you can grab a fresh pressed juice just about anywhere and doing so is viewed as virtuous. Then I left with a prescription for my first colonoscopy. Ah, the joy of 50. Happy F-in birthday to me.
I’m trying to convince myself that the preparation for the colonoscopy will be like a “cleanse.” Finally, I will be trendy. There are so many clear juices that I can drink … while on the toilet the day before the procedure. Although between the mammogram and the colonoscopy, I don’t think I will start the second quarter of my 50th year with any dignity at all. But hopefully, I will start it healthier and prepared for another couple of decades of living. And, maybe if there is ever a contest invented that judges us on inner beauty, I might get a dozen roses – or maybe even a crown.