How can you not like when someone says something that makes you puff up and feel so good? When their words breathe air into your little ego airbag? Sometimes, I am self-deprecating and say something like, "Oh, please. You should see me in the morning" or revert to Yiddish when someone compliments me on what I'm wearing by saying, "This old schmata?"
For the most part I usually just say "thank you" to whoever has been nice enough to compliment me and often do it quickly because it can be embarrassing if they gush. But, being a fairly complimentary person myself (for example, just the other day I walked up to a young girl in the grocery store to rave over her fabulous haircolor - when I walked away, she was beaming ear to ear!), I can understand how people just like to say nice things sometimes.
It lifts my spirits when I am able to make someone else feel good about themselves and I typically like to tell the truth, even if it's not always the most popular route. If someone is really down in the dumps and can't handle the truth they're seeking at that particular moment, I'll just put on my cheerleading skirt and get out the pom-poms. There will always be a time at a later date where I can probably let them know what I think; including telling them their boyfriend is an ass, their job is sucking the life out of them or their mother is sort of a bitch.
The thing I have trouble with regarding this particular compliment, where someone wants me to bottle and sell my secrets for looking so good, is that I can't think of anything to say back. I want to give an answer which within my words, holds a special magical procedure, but usually, all I can think to do is laugh. Not at them, but at the thought of my holding some deep dark secret.
I mean, can I honestly tell them things like the following?
1. That I wash my face with whatever soap is on the sink and don't use a special cleanser. This revelation was met by shock when I worked for Estee Lauder and the regional manager asked me what I used to "cleanse" my face with. When I told her, "Soap. Whatever is on the counter - bar soap, hand soap, dish soap. Doesn't matter to me" I thought she was going to have a heart attack. Then she wanted to know what I used to "moisturize" with. Moisturize?? This woman just couldn't get past the fact that I didn't "care" for my skin. On occassion I'll use a cleanser in a tube or something I read about in a magazine, but typically, it's still just plain 'ol soap that I clean my face with.
I didn't have the heart to tell her that I looked the way I did because I ate Twinkies and drank Diet Coke. Yes, my body reveals the very fact that I do partake in junk food, hence the fuller figure, but I think the whole reason I don't have any wrinkles is because I'm so plump. Nice, plump, moist, juicy skin. Like a turkey. Even my size four sister-in-law wants to know how I do it.
2. That my creamy complection doesn't come from drinking "tons of water" like the supermodels claim to do. I'm lucky if I can get through a large mug of hot tea without having to pee; it leaves my body as quickly as it goes in.3. That I don't drink or smoke, which really helps with not having lines around my mouth. Those lines come from sucking on a cigarette, and too many late nights out drinking can leave you permanently looking like something the cat dragged in.
4. That I don't sit in the sun and tan my skin like shoe leather. Since I'm not frying it, I think it helps with the elasticity, keeping its shape instead of making me look like a biker chick wearing a leather vest. Although when you look close at her, you realize she's not wearing a vest; it's just her face.
5. That I don't get a lick of exercise. Well, unless you count walking around the mall and taking mini "hikes" to get photos. My iPod gets more use when I'm lying on my bed daydreaming, rather than inspiring me to cruise around the local high school track. Again, this is directly reflected in my figure, but I can only work on it a little at a time. If it were up to Vicki, she'd be running behind me with a whip. Baby steps, chica, baby steps.
6. That I just have good genes? My mother is virtually unwrinkled at 66 years of age and my Aunt Jennie, who is approaching the century mark, has skin like a baby's bottom.
So I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that I can't "bottle" anything. Believe me, I'm as much an entrepreneur in my mind as Hedon was in real life when she was eleven. If I could make money from it, I'd be hawking my secret on every street corner.
The only thing I can tell you to do is eat Twinkies, drink a Latte, have a slice of pizza, get out of the great outdoors and go inside to watch a movie or some TV, sit in a bookstore for a few hours eating scones, stay up till 3 am, sleep till noon and when you get up wash your face with Palmolive.
This will likely not work for everyone. If you want to drink and smoke, tan your hide, flood your body with water, cut out carbs, eat organically and exercise until you pull a muscle, go for it. Whatever works for you.
But for me? Right now, this is working. And the next time someone asks me how I still look so good at 41 years old (or whatever age I may be at the time) and tells me I should bottle it, I'm going to look right back at 'em and say...
"As soon as I can figure out how to shove a slice of pizza, a Twinkie and a latte into that little hole..."