Esther Lewis

THE pressure to retain what youthfulness I have – and time is quickly running out on that – has reached a new level of desperation.

It was in absolute horror that I saw the appearance of my first wrinkle. As I wailed and whined and threw myself to the ground, being sure to fall in a graceful manner that would not leave any bruises on my already fragile ageing skin, my friends tried to console me. It’s hardly noticeable, they said.

I knew better though. I was getting old slowly but surely. If I were to be perfectly honest, ageing had been on my mind for quite some time.

I knew it when I first started using phrases such as “the youngsters of today”. When I started skipping parties because I was in need of an entire “me-time” day and when I first started buying big people stuff such as toilet seat covers.

Deep down, I knew there was no turning back after the toilet seat covers. At that point, I decided it was time to sort out that will and get a decent burial policy. Just in case.

Despite all that, at least those thoughts were private. When my new facial feature appeared, it was there for all the world to see.

Next up will probably be grey hair creeping out of my nose and a drooping bottom.

Never missing an opportunity to rub salt into wounds, two uncles at the weekend cruelly asked how old my friend Ruby and I were.

According to them, when you’re as close to 30 as we are, the number one priority should be finding husbands and having babies.

When I told the old geezers that times had changed and women no longer had to be married, barefoot, pregnant and strapped to the kitchen sink two minutes after they hit puberty, they hit back with a vengeance.

I was told that I might as well buy a house with Ruby, so that when we turned 70, we would at least have each other for company. It seems that day is lurking around a nearby corner, I thought to myself.

Their reasoning was that at the rate we’re going – read as: the rapid rate at which we’re ageing – nobody else would have us.

The uncles, who have both been married for more than half of my lifetime, took it upon themselves to outline why we’re single and, more importantly, why it’s such a bad thing. At our age, we should be well on our way down the aisle. We should have that perfect three-bedroomed house. We should have that perfect job. We should have that perfect husband. What we shouldn’t have as yet is a bunch of wrinkles, crowned by greying hair.

Well, sometimes things don’t always work out the way we thought they would when we were six years old.

The old men still wouldn’t budge and we eventually settled on the arrangement that if in the next six months they found us single, childless, wealthy, kind, witty, age-appropriate and faithful men, we would make our way to the chapel.

Needless to say, Ruby and I are safe from marriage… for now.

As for the wrinkles, I was on my own. There wasn’t a single thing I could do to stop it.

Or was there?

My friends realised I wasn’t buying into any of their blatant flattering, nevertheless untrue utterances, and told me to perhaps stop frowning so much.

As far as I was concerned, there were only two ways to deal with the situation. The first extremely sensible and mature thing to do was to accept my ageing process and style a fringe into my hair. Of course, sensible was never an option.

So Plan B it was – B for Botox.

If it’s good enough for our Madam Premier, then it should be good enough for me. Right?

I googled obscure websites, trying to find a good Botox deal. Ironing out my tiny wrinkle was going to cost a pretty penny. It was time to weigh up the pros and cons.

Smooth skin versus living on no-name brand Marie biscuits for two months. Smooth skin versus selling my car and walking the 17km to work. Smooth skin versus selling a piece of my liver on the black market. (This option seemed most viable because I do believe it’s a versatile organ and grows back.)

Ruby told me not to do that. It was way too risky. Instead, she suggested I catch a snake and milk it.

She said Botox was made of snake venom. And why should we pay when we could jump a farm fence somewhere and wrangle a few snakes ourselves? My eyes brightened up. Adventure!

Then I realised that while my forehead may be sagging, I had not lost my sense of adventure. I was still young!

Snake venom, needle pricks, fringes? No ways, I wasn’t that desperate, after all.