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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Vanity is an easy scam target

Age is a funny thing. As a nineteen-year-old bride I often felt ridiculously young in comparison to my first husband and his friends. I remember one woman saying to me, “you aren’t very smart, are you?” I thought about it and realized she was referring to my lack of street smarts. My youthful naivete and lack of experience left me ill-equipped to handle certain situations – but I was educated, well-travelled and well-read, so I could beat the pants off people ten years my senior in a trivia contest. And I took to using five-dollar words that they couldn’t understand. I didn’t have many friends in that group.

Fast forward fifteen years and I was single at thirty-four, dating someone ten years my junior. Being with my young suitor took a great deal of energy. I found I occasionally had to explain away his behavior as one would with an untrained pup. He needed to be entertained, and supervised. At times he used vocabulary I did not understand. The tide had shifted. Never did I feel as old as when I was with him.

In 2006 I fell in love with my equal, the Farmer. He is older than me, but we feel the same age most of the time. And now, with another decade past, 50 is clear on the horizon and 45 is fading away in the rear-view mirror. I’ve had silver highlights in my hair – I like to call it “Arctic Blonde” – since my early 30s. If I were single, I would probably try growing it out. But the Farmer is not ready to have a grey-haired wife. So I dye it back to my natural dark brown, every two months. 

Wrinkles have set in around my eyes and mouth and my forehead looks like a grid, despite daily moisturizing since my teens. They don’t really bother me – I find wrinkles give a face character. It’s the under-eye saddle bags that bug me. I’m not sure where this luggage came from and where it is taking me. I’ve used treatments for sagging skin, sunken eyes, dark circles and puffy lids. Nothing works. I’ve tried natural remedies, getting more sleep, eating less salt, drinking more water and cutting out wheat. The bags remain. I tried wearing more makeup, or none at all. My father’s words ring in my ears: “easy on the warpaint. I wish women would just grow old gracefully.”

I caught a glimpse of myself on camera and was shocked at how unhealthy those bags under my eyes make me look. A smile takes them away immediately, but the resting face reveals all. And besides, you can’t go around smiling all day. You’ll look like an idiot. I know – I’ve tried.

I may have been harping and obsessing a bit too much about my eye bags on social media, because the advertising trolls picked up on it. Soon ads for face creams, wrinkle reducers and complexion enhancers were popping up all over my news feed. One day, during a weak moment of poor judgment, I clicked on one of them.

The ads for Face Replens Eye Cream by Image Revive promised to lift, smooth and lighten the skin under my eyes. I clicked through to the website, and read the inspiring testimonials. Something in the back of my head whispered “there’s got to be a catch” but when I saw “click here for free sample!” I went ahead. The catch is you have to enter your credit card information to cover shipping and handling.

That makes it easy for the company to open an account in your name and send you product on a monthly basis, whether you want it or not. I received my free sample in early November. By Christmas, over $600 dollars had been charged to my credit card by two different skin care companies claiming to have an account in my name. When I complained that I had not agreed to repeat orders after the free sample they agreed to cancel my account. After another half hour of complaining, they agreed to refund me half of the money they had charged my credit card.


Ok, I learned my lesson. I’m going to eat healthy, sleep well, exercise and smile more. I will use coconut oil for wrinkles around my eyes and cucumber slices for puffiness. I’m going to attempt to grow old gracefully, instead of kicking and screaming all the way. 


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