I first became aware of The Wattle phenomenon thanks to Ally McBeal way back when. Not Ally herself but the Dyan Cannon character, whose wattle was an object of desire for one of the male characters (a toy boy to her cougar). It was just another of the bizarre plotlines which were such a feature of the show. Who in real life would want to get up close and personal with a wattle, even Dyan Cannon’s? Nothing I could relate to then, not at all, thought I, complacently stroking my silky smooth underchin area.
But in the last year or so I’ve become aware that I too have a wattle forming below my jaw. Turkeys aside, it’s not just Dyan Cannon and I who are thus afflicted. Nora Ephron (RIP) had a lot to say on the subject in her book, which I haven’t actually read but I’m sure must touch on the wattle. Judging by the title, not only do we women of a certain age have wattles, we also feel tremendous shame for having them. Like it’s our fault for making the world an uglier place by parading with our wattle necks.
Now I ask you – is that fair? Should we be held responsible for our wattles? Did we bring them on ourselves by daring to grow old? And compounding our sin by sullenly refusing to rush off to our friendly cosmetic surgeon to make it all look better? In my case, I couldn’t afford a CS, no matter how friendly. So is that another link in the chain of shame, the financial lack that stops me from fixing my unsightliness?
I think I’ll go and have a coffee now. Meanwhile, welcome to my wattle world (see right).
For my first post I’ll go straight to the jugular, the dreaded sign that youth has fled or is at least heading for the exit. Yes, that invidious first grey hair. I of course have long passed that particular sign post and am well on my way to a total grey-out (see pic).
Why is it that such an ordinary experience stirs such strong feelings? Women are still more prone, though men aren’t far behind. People are divided into those who dye and those who don’t and both sides are firmly entrenched. Those who do seem to regard grey hair as a shameful sign of frailty, while those who don’t (and here I speak for myself) are putting a brave face on facing up to their mortality.
Dyeing is usually the first line of defence to ward off ageing. It’s been around for centuries, you can DIY, it needn’t cost much, and can (if done well) take off a few years. I admit I only went commando on my head a couple of years ago. So what made me cross the line to join the other camp?
Well, for one thing I was curious to see what I really looked like. How grey was I really? To hasten the process along I cut off several centimetres and reserved the right to recolour at any time. At first I kind of slunk around, self-conscious about exposing my guilty secret yet elated at letting the world see me au naturel. Several times I almost succumbed to the lure of the dye. But as time went by I found myself relaxing in the presence of the new (though old) me.
Now I can’t imagine reaching for the dye again. Here are the advantages I’ve found:
* No more slave to my hairdresser
* No worrying about how the real me looks (I already know and so does everyone else)
* And best of all, on a windy day I love it when the wind exposes my roots for all the world to see. See if I care!