Nora Ephron passed away on June 26, 2012 at the age of 71. A prolific essayist, screenwriter, and movie director Ephron was known for her wit and insight – particularly when it came to women’s issues and feelings. Since she passed away I’ve been looking, knowing it must be out there, for Ephron’s take on beauty in order to share her thoughts with my readers. I hit pay dirt when I finally found her essay On Maintenance which was published in the October, 2005 issue of O magazine.
The essay is a very funny discussion of everything that Ephron does in order to look good. Since this is a blog all about skincare I’ll share what she had to say about skin maintenance:
I have cream for my face. I have lotion for my arms and legs. I have oil for my bath. I have Vaseline for my feet. I cannot begin to tell you how much time I spend rubbing these moisturizers into myself. But I still get pimples on my face and rough patches on my arms and legs. What’s more, the skin on my back is so dry that when I take off a black sweater it looks as if it’s been in a snowstorm, and the skin on my heels has the consistency of a loofah.
The conclusion of the essay is witty and insightful all at once:
I have no doubt omitted something where maintenance is concerned. The world of maintenance is changing every second, and I may not know about all sorts of things that women my age are up to. (The other day, for instance, I had lunch with a friend who assured me that I hadn’t lived until I had tried having some sort of facial that seems to include a mild form of electroshock.)
What I know is that I spend a huge amount of time with my finger in the dike, and that doesn’t begin to include all the things I promised not to go into—the pathetic things. I have never had plastic surgery, but I have done any number of things that fall just short of it. I even had all the fillings in my mouth replaced with white material, and I swear to God it took six months off my age. From time to time my dermatologist shoots a hypodermic needle full of something called Restylane into my chin, and it sort of fills in the saggy parts.
But the other day, on the street, I passed a homeless woman, and as I watched her shuffle down the street, it crossed my mind that I am only about eight hours a week of maintenance away from looking exactly like her—with frizzled flyaway gray hair I would probably have if I stopped dyeing mine, with a pot belly I would definitely develop if I ate just half of what I think about eating every day, with the dirty nails and chapped lips and mustache and bushy eyebrows that would be my destiny if I ever spent even two weeks on a desert island.
Eight hours a week and counting. By the time I reach my 70s, I’m sure it will take at least twice as long. The only consolation I take in any of this is that when I’m very old and virtually unemployable, I will at least have something to do. Assuming, of course, that I haven’t spent all my money doing it.
That’s just a little taste of what Ephron had to say about beauty and maintaining her looks. Her wit and humor will definitely be missed, but you can always watch one of the movies she directed or wrote when you feel you need some humor and heart.
Image from O magazine