A week ago I turned 22. Last night I realized I had jowls. Chubby cheeks have always dominated my face. I was born like an eskimo, and even as a preteen minnie, my cheeks were blow-fish full. Last night, however, indulging in a long examination of the mirror, I realized that my precious baby blubber is quite truly slipping into jowls, pouchy, little pendulums of flesh along my jaw line, just like last year’s butchered sow or this year’s rotound, old lady patient.
I told my husband of my discovery. “Oh, Honey,” he responded, “you’ve had those since you moved back in with your parents.”
What! How about, “Of course not, Gorgeous!” Or, even, “No, Beautiful, you have a youthfully full face.” What about a delicately turned-out half-truth?
I grew up in a household of beautiful, self-conscious women. We complained about each other’s character flaws. Once in a great while, we snickered about our shared “Hardt/Thompson Nose.” But, we never, ever even brushed shoulders with a comment hinting of “you’re fat.” Unspoken rule of law!
Finishing LPN school, I weighed a hefty 160 pounds. I was a farm-girl, a musician, and a perfectionist. Extra pounds weren’t part of my persona, yet somehow, in the midst of coffees breaks, vending-machine muffins, all-nighters, and lorna doones, I’d inherited a belly and a butt to match (magic!). I complained to my mother, often. She responded with, “You’re attractive, Grace. Getting more sleep would be so good for you!” Beautiful, weaselly, womanly subtly, huh, folks? She’s a pro, let me tell you!
Jeremiah grew up with two brothers. He’s wonderfully friendly with women. I used to tease him for being a lady’s man, back at college when I’d see him eating lunch with scores of pretty, southern, college girls. Nonetheless, I caught him, hook, line, and sinker, ladies and gents! This Vermont girl is a keeper! I think I was attracted to him because, unlike some of the other buffs hanging about Liberty, he wasn’t all steak, sweat, and slacking off. Jeremiah is the real-deal, authentic and personable. In our marriage, I view each other as co-human-beings in a precious adventure. I forget: he’s a man, a blunt man. I also forget: I’m a sappy, vain girl.
“Baby, did you know I have jowls?” “Yeah, Honey, you’ve had those since you moved back in with your parents.” What! Such a rude, rude, rude awakening from the fine art of femine tact. Even a simple “No” would have been better. Amen? … Amen!
At least he called me “Honey.”