Created with sketchtool. Created with sketchtool.
Sign Up for Free Weekly Newsletter

    Been There, Done That: Nine Decades And Counting By Alice Herb: What I See When I Look In The Mirror

    By Alice Herb


    Ever since Nora Ephron wrote “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” I have felt the urge to add up what I don’t like about myself. I imagine that most people would like to trumpet their physical assets but I want to share what I have considered my worst attributes. Do I want sympathy? I don’t know. I do know what brought about this sudden outburst. I thought how ironic it is that I am hard of hearing when I have unusually large ears! One would think that large ears would leave ample space for sound to rush in. But I can tell you that is not so.


    Let me tell you about my ears. They are large enough to be noticed. Earrings fail to draw attention away from them. I have spent a lifetime trying to conceal my ears all to no effect. I think it is because they are set far below where they should be. And now I have to wear hearing aids and that makes my ears that much more conspicuous! These facts have kept me from growing my hair long because pulling back my hair is awkward. This unattractive aspect always then draws me to my nose. My nose is too long and has a significant bump that further mars my profile. I did have an older cousin who was an expert plastic surgeon and he often offered to “fix” my nose. But I am very sensitive to pain and have adhered to the principle of “don’t fix what ain’t broke.” Moreover, I am categorically put off by unnecessary pain. I am not sure whether that is an asset, as it is balanced by my not tolerating pain with any grace.


    My hair has had me search out the most skillful hairdressers. I have finally settled with a very short hairstyle that prevents my hair from depressingly sitting down on my scalp. It holds little shape and simply collapses at the slightest increase in humidity. Its one asset is that it has still not turned completely gray even at my advanced age. And then there is my head. It is pointed! It makes hats and other headwear very uncomfortable because they all keep slipping around. And they don’t look very good on me.


    That’s only my head. I also have a short neck but that has not upset me too much since I wear turtleneck sweaters only a short time each year. But my short arms get in my way when I do Pilates, they are a constant drag when I buy long-sleeved anything and end in small squat hands with short fingers and uneven, weak, and stubby nails.


    Shall I mention my large bottom? No matter how thin I ever was, that rear end always protruded and would always destroy the svelte look I had aspired to. But I did have good legs. I say “did” because age has even stolen that attribute from me. My feet are too large and wide. But that’s the least of my complaints because bless them they have a lot of mileage on them and they keep moving along. But then I have really bad joints. Very limited motion so even when I was 5 years old I could not achieve a “lotus” position.  


    With these images, it’s possible you are imagining a monster, but one who has miraculously attracted, among others, two handsome men who stayed enamored of me until they died. That, of course, may in part be due to my compelling (Ha!) personality.


    As one of my friends once said, I clean up very nicely and end up even being attractive! Oh well, at least I have a brain! And as my cousin commented, I can laugh at all of it…..most of the time!


    Alice Herb is a retired attorney, journalist, and bioethics consultant. Having reached the age of 90+, she’s more than ready to share her experiences and opinions with agebuzz readers. Want to comment on something she’s said? She welcomes your feedback at [email protected].

    And do you have something you’d like to say? Let us know by contacting us at [email protected].