Sometime around 2003 or so….my mom and I got into a major disagreement. Over a long-distance call she started with a phrase that never sits well with me. And that is, “You might not like what I have to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.” Note to mothers everywhere: This is a shitty way to deliver bad news, I’d much rather be taken by surprise than to start off annoyed knowing that I’m only going to become more irritated. Anyway, at the ripe age of 26 she starts laying into me about how the Arizona desert air is drying out my skin and that she thinks I should really start committing to a daily (and nightly) routine of moisturizers and anti-wrinkle creams. Two of my least favorite words, SHOULD and COMMIT, in the same breathe no less! WTF, was she trying to kill me? Admittedly, I am moderately vain. So the mire suggestion that I was on a downhill slide to Old Hagsville had me racing to the closest mirror. I remember it like it was yesterday… the apartment with Helen on Becker Lane (Shea and 96th for AZ reference). I was shume merzis/very annoyed and had stopped listening as she went on and on(the apple falls not far from the tree!) But I do recall her saying, “Someday, you will thank me for this.”
Well….the day has come. Although my pride didn’t allow me to acknowledge the value of her Should-ing all over me, I did choose to up the ante on my daily routine/rutina e përditshme of skin care. And here in Albania, my efforts are often rewarded! It’s not uncommon for people to assume I’m younger. And my favorite is when they assume I just haven’t learned my Shqip numbers yet and correct me. “Jo, jo… ti je njëzet e katër/No, you are twenty-four.” Thank You! You just gave me a bonus DECADE! I realize that it is very possible that they are just blowing smoke up my... chimney….but I don’t care!
So…allow me to give credit where credit is due*. While Courtney Cox and Madonna may choose pricier serums, peels and products, my Fountain of Youth can be purchased at your neighborhood CVS, Walgreens or Target! The weapon of choice is Neutrogena! And the preferred trifecta includes “Healthy Skin Anti-wrinkle, Anti-blemish Cleanser,” “Oil-free Moisture, SPF 15,” and “Healthy Skin Anti-wrinkle Cream, Original formula, SPF 15.” You’ve not let me down yet! And if any Neutrogena VIPs out there will be in the vicinity of Albania in the next 2 years, you can sleep on my couch if you transport some product! Scratch that, I’ll give you my bed! Oh…and while you’re at it… I’ve wanted to be friends with Jennifer Garner ever since “Alias.†” Since she’s one of your spokesmodels, can you hook me up? Thanks. I’ll pay it forward and I make a pretty good friend. References available upon request.
Peace, Love and SPF
*Additional Credit goes to my dad for his baby-face DNA and my mom, because Yes…I’m thanking you for it.
†I have some old Halloween pictures as evidence.