IN PRAISE OF WRINKLES

January 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

I grew up in the age of paper, before the age of plastic.  I’m talking paper grocery sacks (which I used to fill and carry out as a grocery boy).  To open a fresh grocery sack, you would slide your first two fingers just inside where the half circle was cut into one side of the top.  Using your thumb to complete a grip on it, you fling it downward hard, snapping your wrist.  The sack would respond by opening wide with a pop, eager to receive its cargo.

Rich kids had lunch boxes.  Others had paper lunch sacks.  I still enjoy taking my lunch to work in a paper lunch sack.

Smooth, fresh paper grocery sacks could be the canvas for a young Norman Rockwell-wanna-be.  Lunch sacks could easily be converted into a puppet.

If someone today gave me the task of staring a paper sack for a long period of time, I prefer they give me a sack that has been used often, rather than a brand new one.  The creases, folds and wrinkles would be innumerable and the variations endless.  I would exhaust the largest lexicon trying to find words to describe all the nuances in the rumpled sack.

On the other hand, if I had to look at and describe a brand new sack, I would be limited to saying, “It’s smooth and has sharp edges.”  That’s it.  Which is to say, “That’s boring.”

I realize that our culture is obsessed with smooth.  Women are encouraged to spread makeup on their faces like I would joint compound on sheetrock, working like crazy to hide any imperfection.

So I have to admit that my tastes run contrary to popular thought.  I prefer to look at women with wrinkles.  Let me quickly add that, for me, there is a difference between a wrinkle and a deep crevasse caused by overexposure to the sun and smoking.

I’m talking about wrinkles that are the result of someone who has lived a full life.  A face with wrinkles is a face with character.

Here’s what I see when I look at a woman’s wrinkles.

That furrow between your eyes is a result of you having a heart of concern for others.  You feel the pain of others.  People are lucky to have you as a friend because what happens to them matters to you.

I see by the wrinkles in your brow that you are a passionate person.  You are angry, upset, happy, loving, fearful and a score of other emotions.  To know you is to know someone with intensity.

Those crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes tell me you’ve spent lots of time laughing.  You’ve had friends and family that you’ve enjoyed being with.  Your sense of humor shows in those crow’s feet.

The dimples were handed down to you, but the creases around them are a reflection of the number of times you have smiled in your life.  Being pleasant must come natural to you.

There are wrinkles at the corners of your mouth that reveal you haven’t always been happy.  It’s the trade-off we all experience in which to whatever degree a person experiences happiness, they will experience sadness to that same degree.

But there are also frown lines that let me know you are quick to show displeasure when someone violates the common laws of decency and respect for others.

You are probably even unhappy about those wrinkles in your neck.  But they are only there because you are always turning your head to see what someone needs and what you can do to help.

So please, please don’t completely hide your wrinkles.  They are a reflection of your character.  They reveal a woman who has depth.

Wear them with pride.

They add to your beauty and mystery.

(And I find them fascinating!)

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