Although I’m not an overly proud person, I do have my small vanities.

Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed

being a little taller than average — before I started shrinking, that is.

It’s gratifying to still wear the same dress size I fit into in my 20s — even if the distribution of physique has changed a bit.

And, people often ask if this is my natural hair color, which it is — of course, the strawberry blond has turned Creamsicle, heavy on the cream.

For the small shreds of my younger self I can still claim, there’s no denying it’s becoming a game of diminishing returns. For instance, a few years ago I spent more than I should to whiten my teeth, and continue to polish my smile with increasingly expensive toothpastes; I periodically shell out bits of my small cash reserves in an ongoing quest for the perfect lip gloss to restore the illusion of my formerly fuller, rosier lips; and to help smooth out the new midriff bumps — translate “belly fat” — I purchased my first shape wear (aka a girdle in my mother’s parlance), because no number of sit-ups and crunches will do the trick anymore.

Everything I’m trying to correct is a result of the aging process, and much of it falls within the all-encompassing domain of post-menopause. Most of the changes don’t particularly bother me too much, but of all the indignities to which I’ve been subjected, the suddenly sprouting tufts of hair along my jawline is middle age’s naughtiest trick so far.

I honestly don’t know how they sneaked up on me. One day I have a little peach fuzz, the next I’m a werewolf. A couple of weeks ago I realized that the forest is moving forward, and the slender pastel-colored facial hair trimmers I got a month ago may need to be replaced by a less delicate device, perhaps along the lines of my husband’s five-blade razor, or a mini-hand-held weed wacker I found online.

I can deal with the rogue jutting hairs that spring up on my chin or in the corners of my mouth. A quick pluck puts them in their place, which is not on my face. I’ve even gained moderate control over those unsightly and thickening nose hairs with an electric trimmer designed for the purpose. But a furry face is full out of the range of patiently acceptable signs of my time. And

oddly enough, to perplex me further, the rate of growth and density of my leg hair has slowed down, while my eyebrows are becoming translucent.

The balance of things is going haywire, and I’m trying to make sense of this new math of growing older. Less leg hair + fading eyebrows = surplus nose hair + face fur. I’ve always struggled with equations, and now I have yet another reason to dislike them.

A parting word or two for the gents out there. This perversion of mathematics doesn’t apply just

to us ladies. Concurrent with developing shaggy ears, many of the men of a certain age I know are dealing with thinning, receding, or otherwise vanishing hairlines. Overall, they lose it; we grow it — further proof this hair exchange is no fair exchange.

Woodsboro resident Susan Writer continues to ponder both the physics and mathematics of aging. Contact her at, or see what else she has to say at’s Ask Someone Else’s Mom.

(3) comments


I was pleased when I found a nose hair trimmer with a vacuum, as I did not want to be inhaling all that stubble. Unfortunately, the vacuum somehow irritated my nose so much that it did not work out, so I am back to plucking... Since we are sharing.




And truthful. [smile]

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