Just had my teeth called “brittle”…a polite dentist?

I had a rude awakening this week. I broke a tooth at lunch. So what? Some might say that there is nothing strange about that. I was eating yoghurt!!! That is like breaking a tooth on pulp. I was not chewing on a stake or a nut, but soft gooey yoghurt. A trip to the dentist did nothing to bolster my ego. It seems that as we grow older our teeth become “brittle.” Actually I came up with the term because my German dentist had no clue how to say that my tooth had enough wear and tear and was falling apart. I wanted to spare him the embarrassment of him telling me that my teeth are old.  To pull or not to pull? That was his dilemma. He saved it. Well, he was smiling from ear to ear as he gave me the news that we could save the tooth especially after it had been worked on recently (two root canals) and a 40+ year old filling replaced.

I never thought that this visit to the dentist would bring me close to what I probably must anticipate later in life. Brittle teeth. I take care of my teeth and floss till I drop, but I guess like any other part of our anatomy, if over used it will also diminish in its performance. I always somehow corelated teeth condition with youth. Old people lose their teeth, younger ones have a Colgate smile with all their teeth intact. Both my parents had false teeth in some location in their mouth. It was not a pretty sight looking at canines in a glass of water. They always seemed to float in a smile!

Is brittle teeth the next step to no teeth? I think my dentist saw my distress and “saved” my tooth. He went to work eagerly inside my mouth to save my tooth like Superman attempting to save Lois Lane. In half an hour my tooth was saved albeit brittle, and regained my dignity and a reprieve. If truth be told, it is a hollow reprieve because I cannot chomp on hard food any longer. But that is my secret. That is demotivating in itself because I always prided myself in being able to chew on hard crusts and hard apples like a warrior on the front. I put my energy into it. Now I am literally reduced to eating and chewing politely on pulp. How does one explain the brittle tooth syndrome without giving away the fact that age has now crept in one’s mouth? How am I going to explain eating soft food and pulp?

I think that teeth are the final frontier to one’s perception of youth. A beautiful smile with gorgeous teeth adds years to one’s self esteem. Commercials for denture adhesive give false teeth a romantic aura to the reality that one’s mouth is now a benign cave that chews baby food. Middle-aged gray haired beautiful people are chomping down on a hard apple while horseback riding on a California beach. A deep sexy voice asks us mere viewers if we can tell which one of them has dentures; like we really give a damn. We all know that once we succumb to dentures there is no turning back, and glueing false teeth in place is hardly a romantic turn on.  Those in the commercial must have been paid well to be secure enough and advertise the fact that they are toothless.

At 97, my mother keeps her old false teeth in an equally old container with her name on it at the Home she is in. The container is protected like Fort Knox in case “someone steals them” as she so often says. Who wants your teeth ma? I just want to keep mine. Taking someone else’s teeth would never cross my mind, but then I am not 97…yet! I wonder if there is a trade-in for a brittle tooth? 

Why can’t we all look like Cher at 60?

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies was delivered by Dianne Keaton to Goldie Hawn in The First Wives Club. Botoxed Goldie is discussing her “touching up” to Dianne and Bette Midler, when Dianne indignantly tells Goldie that she had been sown and tucked like a quilt. Ironically enough, in that movie Goldie was still in her late 40’s, and now she is way into her 60’s. I am not privy to any information on Goldie Hawn’s enhancements if any, but even Stevie Wonder can see that Cher is a full sized quilt! There are those who entertain the notion that exercise gives Cher her state-of-the art stomach. Pass the Kool Aid.

Why can’t I have a Cher stomach, or cheek bones, or breasts? I’m her age, I exercise, I watch what I eat, yet my stomach has a daily tug-of-war with my pants because it insists of rolling out of my waist band. My cheek bones; come to think of it, where would I find them? Let us not get into the breasts, too depressing. Gravity is not pleasant and no matter how much padding I put in my bras I still think that my breasts have the same rebellious state of mind as my stomach. They want to bond with my waistband.

Our bodies are biological; they grow and evolve. So those of us who at 60 plus would like to look the same as we did as teenagers need to wisen up. Growth means expanding. My body understands that and I try to understand it as well. I might not like it but definitely understand it. Which brings me to the cosmic question: why do some remain skinny at any age, and others like me put on 5 pounds just by walking past a bakery or breath the same air as a lava cake? The mystery unfolds itself at middle-age, when our bodies literally start unfolding layers of  skin like an old basset hound. So, if 60 is the “new 40” than would we be going through menopause at 70? Would granma or granpa hit a mid-life crisis at 80?

I do not begrudge Cher for her tucking and sewing. She has the money and bully for her. But can Cher and others be truthful and admit that they are glorified turkeys? Can’t they go to a support group for Enhancement Anonymous and have the guts (oy!) to say: Hi I’m Cher and I’m an enhancee!!! That would give hope to the rest of us who must confront our mirrors every morning and check for new folds in places better left unspoken about.

Betty White is 91 years old and a fabulous woman who gives hope to the rest of us that growing older is not necessarily growing old. In an episode of Hot in Cleveland, her character  told a young plastic surgeon that she did not want her wrinkles removed because she earned them. Thank you Betty…haven’t we all?

Does “old” smell?

When I was a kid I hated visiting one of my old aunts because her parlor smelled funny…it was musky, dampy, and yes: it was old. When we grow older do we smell of “old?” One of my new “40” friends remarked how she dropped a new boyfriend because he smelled “old!” I asked for a definition of smelling “old,” but all I got was: musky, damp, and old. Familiar? Which raises the question of why old people have that smell?  Or do they really have that smell? Is this something I am going to be looking forward to when I am the new “70?” Is there a chance of a new product here? Let’s see: if you can’t get it up you have Viagra…a smiling old actor makes everyone else feel good about erectal dysfunction. For wrinkles we have botox, but for smells??? That can be tricky. Product wise it requires some creativity in marketing. Who should be the spokesperson? Sean Connery? A liquid concoction that can be stirred not shaken, then taken once a day like a cocktail.

Growing older resembles an automobile. Eventually all parts will be either replaced or fixed. No matter how much high octane gas you put in it, a dirty carborator, sparkplugs, or oil will eventually lessen its performance. For example: as we grow older we start noticing gray hair in places where it should be forbidden to grow.  Why is it that the older we get hair seems to take on a life of its own? It falls off the head but grows in the nether regions or the face. Is the angst over hair growth manifesting itself in a smell? Could it be that our bodies, like an automobile, tell us that it is about time we started replacing parts? Is the smell the first hint?

We hang on to our bodies like a child hangs on to its blanket: although tatty we still find it comforting. Creative marketing aimed at our new “40” generation is a multi-billion dollar industry. We are sold creams, potions, teas, and surgeries that would make us look less old and more acceptable to the world, or so we think. Are we postponing the inevitable: the “old” smell? Eventually it will catch on with us and botox will not be able to help us. Hopefully, someone will eventually come up with a cream, potion, tea, or surgery to eliminate the smell until our colon starts acting up.

My father died at 73 and I truly do not remember him smelling anything but of tobacco and after shave which was generally Old Spice. It is still my favorite smell for a man. I remember snuggling to him and feeling comforted by his smell. It was an identifiable smell. It was him. It was a smell that still reminds me of his gentle yet firm hands and twinkling eyes. If that is the smell of “old”, than bring it on: I miss it terribly.


The Starting Point-

Wow, the beginning of a blog can be as exciting as the first day of school. Why blog? Posterity, venting, or reaching out? All cliches in a world that has become a cliche in itself. The millenium generation led us to believe that once we look younger than our age, then we most certainly are. Thus the incongrous statement that 60 is the new 40. Well I have news for you, I am 62 and there are days when I feel like the new 82! The current fad for self esteem and making ourselves feel good above all things that make sense in a normal and sensible world; has proliferated to the aged where botox is the drug of choice for those who want to be the “new” something or other. Old crap that nobody wants is now “vintage” and old age is “mature.” Old folks’ homes are not for old people any more but for “residents,” as if by changing an adjective one changes the noun. This absurdity crosses all walks and shades of life because the world is currently in a social free fall of political correctness that means nothing and has little impact on reality. This blog is for the 60+ crowd; without any excuses or apologies. Let it all hang out ladies and gentlemen!

So I am 62, but I am one of those who seems to be the “new” 40 because very few people believe I am the age that I am. My secret? I have no idea. I have always exercised, ate vegetarian, and worked my butt off as a mother and wife. I went back to school at 54 and got my MBA at 60. My brain kept on working, but I must admit that there are times I forget where I put my underwear. I carry my seniors’ card for discounts which I rarely get because no one believes that I am over 60! So instead of arguing with the bus driver I pay the full fare. When I talk about the Beatles, the Stones, and Peter, Paul, and Mary, I am met with skepticism, then I pull out my records, yes geniune 1967 records, and I get looks of incredulity. “But you have been touched up??” No  touching up, not in that botox way. So why is it so important to look young rather than be young?

I have noticed that women are under more pressure to remain looking young. Which is a double standard in a world that worships beauty and aneroxia. A gray hair on a woman is the end of civilization, good scripts in a movie, good job, and a quick trip to the hairdresser for color. Gray on a man is distinguished. I am no different. I literally time my trips between hair coloring days keeping close vigil before the mirror for the first sign of gray. Why? If truth be told I would not want to be young again in today’s world. Too much stress. Then what keeps me going to the hairdresser to remove the slightest hint of age, spend thousands of dollars on wrinkle creams, and starve when I could eat a horse (or in my case bean protein)?

I am going out on a limb and send out a cosmic assumption to the void that as women we have been conditioned to feel inferior if we do not look good. I blame the fashion world for putting out clothes for embryos. Finally, I blame the entertainment industry which puts out movies and shows where people gorge and never put on a pound. How realistic is that? Thank God for Betty White who has emerged as the coolest 90+ woman of this century. She flaunts her age like Samson showed off his six-pack!

No folks, 62 is not the new 40…it is 62, with arthritis in both hands, colds and flus that take weeks to get over, extra padding which I get to see in the mirror every morning, and wrinkles where wrinkles should not be. But give me an hour to make myself up, an hour at the hairdresser, a good support bra, and hell, I am the new 30! It is all perception.