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A Medical Mystery: Necks and Depression

by Jacqueline Sewall Golden

Youre in your car driving to the store and in front of you is another car: identify the driver.  Its a woman, and how can you tell?  By the hairdo. But from behind and with just a head to deal with, how the heck do you determine the young from the old?  Its her neck.  An old one doesnt have one, at least from the back.  Young women have necks that go all the way around.  Old women have necks only from the side and theyre usually in multiples. 
     However, theres a phenomenon being televised in every commercial for potency drinks, vitamins, hair coloring, banking and retirement plans, that show an unreal form of human known as the Commercially Beautiful Unyoung.  These women are selling a product aimed at the senior among us and they are usually seven  feet tall, with no protruding stomachs, perky breasts, slim, but grey haired.  From what planet, Doris?  And their necks?  Smooth, taut, from the top of those breasts all the way to the chin.  Who are they kidding? 
     They say you can tell the generation of a woman by  her hands. Necks can be tightened, of course, leading to age obfuscation.  But Mrs. Average Older Woman doesnt have the ten or twenty grand to spend on this medical renewal and who cares at her local market, anyway?  But the woman cares, greatly so.  Just a few years ago she was getting whistled at by truck drivers and construction workers and today shes ignored. 
     On some deeper level, this terrific Older Woman becomes depressed, believing she now has no value because she has no looks.  She reads up on depression.  Sadness?  Not quite.  Unhappiness?  No.  Depression is when your mind jumps around all around your physical and mental planets and can find absolutely nothing happy or pleasant to light on.  And this lasts for days, maybe weeks.  You dont care to eat but,  if you do, it will be something youll feel guilty about.  Youre too fat  anyway,  too tall.  And your  upper lip looks like a badly eroded ski slope.  Your breasts, points of pride in the past, are beyond unattractive, your clothes are boring  and you want to be by yourself.  You Are Depressed. 
     So please, ad seller, fashion photographer, product rep: please put a real, live, dignified grey-haired Old  Woman in those ads for trailer parks in Florida, home-delivered prescription plans, powders for swollen feet. Heres a news flash: how about letting an Older Woman sell something other than a medical product?  Were not always aching, and in pain, and we do have pride in our looks, so aim some of those mascara and blusher and gym equipment ads at us.  We have money to spend. 



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