Pillow Talk

Thinking about appearance, it is a sad fact of life that, as any ‘women-of-a-certain-age’ (and probably men too) will confirm, we become less bouncy as we get older.

No, I am not referring to the sad (but not inevitable) disappearance of an ever-youthful, “spring in the step”; but the unfortunate lack of perky elasticity in our skin.

As we age, we not only have wrinkles to contend with, but also the fact that our skin becomes like baggy old knicker elastic or a soggy ancient swimming costume… once extended it fails to ping back into place as it once did.

Many years ago, I hosted a radio programme on aging and one of the studio guests suggested a good test to measure how our skin was coping with the years is to, with the hand extended, pinch a bit of flesh from the back of the hand , hold it for a few seconds and then release. On youngsters the skin spring back almost instantly … as we get older, it takes longer … and longer … and longer.

This is a light-hearted indication of what happens to the skin on our hands as we age; but it has less amusing repercussions when we are left with temporary “pillow scars” on the face.

Do you know what I am talking about?

Have you ever woken up – possibly rather out of sorts after a disturbed night. When, after never- ending tossing and turning and counting of sheep,  you have taken up membership of insomniacs anonymous. Then, with an ironic twist, just as you give up and decide to get up really early and start the day, you have unexpectedly fallen into an incredibly deep sleep face down on a wrinkled pillow?

This happened to me recently and I was depressed to discover that the resultant “pillow scar”  on my cheek was still hanging around by lunchtime. I realise now that the time has come to join the much better informed French ladies, and add “silk pillowslips” to my next birthday list. Silk is, apparently, much kinder to the complexion than Egyptian cotton.

Could it be that, on the morning after, poor eye sight might be a bit of a blessing and not a curse? Would we perhaps be happier not to see all the wrinkles, “pillow scars” or the inevitable bags under the eyes that follow a lack of sleep?

These questions were going through my mind when I recently had a conversation with a woman of about my age who had also undergone Laser Eye Surgery at the London Vision Clinic. We were talking about “vanity” and how it felt to have binned the specs. I decided to keep all pillow talk to myself, but listened keenly to my companion’s version of events.

Unlike me –with pale skin and stubby fair eye lashes – she had not found it hard to forgo eye make up for a few days. Her challenge had been wearing the post operative eye shields at night. These are recommended for the first  few nights as a safety measure to prevent us inadvertently rubbing or scratching our eyes in our sleep.

Among her audience there was much commiseration and sympathetic, head nodding. We all knew exactly what this woman meant. After all who wants to go around half the day with goggle impressions stamped onto the face? We agreed that the eye shields should be replaced by a softer version, specially designed for us ‘women-of-a-certain-age’.