Monday, February 16, 2009


Lately my mirror has been showing me too much neck. I try to check my hair, but neck is all I see. I begin to put on lipstick, but my neck rises up before me and obliterates the view.

In desperation, I turn to my closet. Take out a turtleneck sweater, slip it on. Now it looks as though I’ve been doing those exercises schoolboys do to strengthen their, yes, necks for football and wrestling. Even a black turtleneck has this effect. All that’s missing are shoulder pads.

I take off the sweater, pull down a long scarf and start winding. And winding. When I finish enveloping the neck, I keep going, wrap it around my head, like Audrey Hepburn in that movie with Albert Finney.

I do not look like Audrey Hepburn, though. (See wrestling effect above.)

I unwind the scarf.

I reach up and grip my neck with one hand from behind, pulling gently, Miraculous! The real me is restored, but my arm quickly cramps. I remember reading that Jacqueline de Ribes used to go to parties with a special theatre tape, anchoring her chin in its girlhood location.

Where do I find theatre tape? Even though my hair is too short for that solution, perhaps I would rather people see tape than my…I hate even to say the word…neck.

Am I the only one who admires a woman in the public eye for the condition of her neck every bit as much as her intellect?

Nora Ephron has written a funny book about getting older in which she says the following: “You have to cut down a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t have to if it had a neck.” For some reason I find the thought of a tree with a neck hilarious.

Or clams…except that ugly thing that sticks out is called a foot, isn’t it?

The truth of the matter is that I really don’t have a neck any more. What I have is my mother’s neck…


Cher said...

And my mother's hands. But I'll be OK as long as I don't get her mood swings!

The Texas Woman

PJ's talking2.... said...

Oh, ya'll just had to start this. Now I'm paranoid about my neck... and my Aunt Hine's fat arms. She died and left 'em to me. Wish she'd taken them with her... she was a big ol'woman. So she wore polka dots to make her look smaller. She claimed it worked. I love polka dots, they make me think of her. Her name was Emmaline, but we settled on Aunt Hine... I don't think you could see her neck... I don't think I can see mine either....

Sydney said...

Well I immediately related... lol

and thought of Nora, but of course you know of the book! I remember when for awhile Jane Fonda and Barbara Streisand wore chokers with every outfit, then I think they gave in... or maybe they had some kind of surgery. But I don't think they perfected that yet... otherwise Joan RIvers neck would match the smoothness of her face.

Katharine Hepburn, very Audrey like with her once long, elegant swan neck and perfect jaw wore a turtleneck in the summers even from her 50's on out. Gotta admire her tenacity.

aliceinparis said...

There's always something!

jinksy said...

If you haven't got one, you presumably will never be accused of sticking it out? Be thankful...sticker outers are easier to behead,,,

Carol said...

I remember when my 4 year old niece asked her grandmother why she had a grandma neck but not grandma hair (she bleached her blond).

I also remember seeing Jackie Onassis with a scarve wrapped entirely around her neck when she wore tee shirts. I thought she looked so French and stylish, but now I realize she was just trying to hide what happens to all of us!

Ralph W said...

About 10 years ago, attending a funeral in my home area, a cousin remarked that when she comes back and sees her old friends, it is like looking at their parent(s).

My wife can find a hundred things she's not happy with (concerning her looks). After 40 years, she still looks fantastic to me and darn near everyone. She has always been a beautiful person inside as well as on the outside.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh...

Do we get a picture of your neck or what? It will be worse if you leave everything to our imagination. ;-)