Wednesday, 19 March 2008


It’s a little known fact* that several years ago Clint Eastwood, director and star of the eponymous movie, grew jaded and bitter from playing bitter and jaded gunslingers of one variety or another, and opted for a drastic change of career, a sea change if you will.

He experienced a brief period of happiness operating a commercial kiln patronised by a thriving community of artists – working closely with fire brought him a primitive pleasure his mere portrayals of a man’s man never could, and his desire to be involved in the creative arts was satisfied – but his contentment quickly changed to chagrin when increasing numbers of potters and sculptors approached him in bespattered smocks and beatnik berets, smirkingly asking him to “Go ahead, bake my clay.”

Enraged with the same bad joke and overuse of the term ‘sea change’, he shoved the next imprudent bohemian in the oven† and returned to show business where no-one dared mock him, not even with deliberate provocation in the form of Space Cowboys.

As instructive and amusing as the preceding vignette was, this post has nothing to do with an award-winning tale of revenge in the Wild West, and everything to do with the vendetta my body now wages against me in return for the sins of my youth and the ravages of age and lifestyle.

Once I had a magnificent bosom, the kind that, were it a character in one of Clint Eastwood’s westerns, would burst through the saloon doors to an instant hush from the pianola and murderously argumentative poker players. After a few seconds of awe-inspired silence, the piano man would strike up a lively honky tonk number, the whores would flounce out of their rooms to peer over the balustrade, and guns aimed under tables at cheatin’ varmints would be holstered unfired, former adversaries embracing like brothers.

Now imagine I joined the harlots in several spirited performances of the Can Can without an adequate sports bra, before spending four years suckling ravenous infants.

Alright, maybe my bosom wasn’t that great, but it was pretty nice. These days, my boobs would be better cast as the subject of the song Do your ears hang low?, if you substitute ‘ears’ with ‘no-longer-so-much-funbags’.

For years I bent at the waist to lift heavy objects, with the nonchalant air of someone who snapped up an extra back the day Dolly Parton opted for two servings of front instead. “Calcium? No thanks!” might as well have been the cheerful up-yours I gave Dairy Australia each time I filled my glass with more Milo than milk for an eatable treat.

Let’s just say I’ve selected my children’s careers for them: physiotherapist, chiropractor and masseuse.

In a time of vinyl records and rotary dial telephones, commodore 64s and roller rinks, Sid, like Norm, was just a likeable cartoon character with a catchy jingle in a health-awareness campaign market cornered by the bowling Grim Reaper and his bed of syringes. Much of my childhood was spent un-slopped and –slapped; I don’t recall even owning a hat until I was about 11 or 12, while zinc cream in attractive fluoro shades was just for decoration (because the ’80s were cool like that). Ra accepted my burnt offerings, and was pleased.

The spectre of a leathery brown lizard woman haunts my dreams as dire warning against further carelessness.

I never expected I’d think wistfully back to the days when pimples made me feel like the ugliest bush-pig of all the self-conscious teenage girls at school. But O! for the time when those sweet, pus-filled tokens of youth were the only blemishes I had to contend with, when I could express my adolescent superiority and disdain with a thousand different grimaces, or sleep on my face as much as I wanted, as if my natural collagen would last forever. “Vanity!” I cried at the wrinkle cream advertisements, sure in the knowledge I would never be so foolish as to spend hundreds of dollars on potions and unguents which would, at best, only disguise the inevitable. Besides, I would wear my eventual creases with pride, for are they not signs of wisdom and gracious aging?

Is anyone out there a young virgin? I need to bathe in your blood.

*Fact may contain lies
†Lonie Polony is clinically insane and therefore unfit to be prosecuted for libel


littlesnoring said...

Oh the self-righteousness of being young. I too, scoffed at the tragic middle aged women buying up pots of over priced wrinkle cream. Accused people who had plastic surgery as losers who had no respect for themselves.
My, my how time has changed. Give me a chance and I am first in line for a tummy tuck, face-lift, boob job. Plus I want regular appointments for massages, botox, hair colouring and facials, someone to look after the kids and a live-in cook. I could go on...

Lonie Polony said...

And to think I used to complain about being asked for ID at clubs!