Celebrity Column: Skin Deep writes Shweta Bachchan Nanda – As any woman of a certain age knows, it’s all well and good to bang on about “you finally feel comfortable in your skin in your 40’s,” but the truth is, it’s that much harder to pull it together when occasion demands
Why couldn’t I have inherited my father’s unusually long arms, I gripe while trying to zip myself up into a dress so tight I feel not so much a sausage in a casing as vacuum packed. This on top of not one, but two layers of Spanx (“body shapers” for the uninitiated), just so my tummy pooch, after two children and subsequent two samosas a day habit, looks something like what passes for a flat stomach these days. Finally, after much manoeuvring — my yoga teacher would be proud of my enhanced flexibility. I am in the dress and in another five, I’m managing with only 90 per cent oxygen saturation. I am going the whole hog, having been asked to present, introduce rather, one of the awardees at the Vogue’s women of the year function. If you think this is a behind-the-scenes at an award show piece, please move on. This is more an articulated moan fest, on the travails of a 40-something’s misadventure with glamming up.
As any woman of a certain age knows, it’s all well and good to bang on about “you finally feel comfortable in your skin in your 40’s,” but the truth is, it’s that much harder to pull it together when occasion demands. Men in their 40’s grow a beard and presto! They’ve achieved Silver Fox status. Meanwhile, I am sitting in front of a mirror using a mascara wand and eye shadow palette to painstakingly colour in my greying roots, because this 40 year old got a little too comfortable in her skin and didn’t go for a touch up in time. Putting on your face is always the hardest bit. Everything that was once taut and fresh and smooth, has now settled into crags and dips whatever is leftover, just sags unmotivated and resistant to coercion. I am halfway through making my eyes look doe-like, when the phone rings and I have to sift through the debris of open compacts and glitter vials to actually locate it, by which time it has enervatingly stopped ringing. But now I have smeared my cheek with a huge black smudge. Which means it all comes off and has to be reapplied. My skin has turned raw and rebellious and only settles down after some cajoling. After ages of squinting into a mirror and three failed attempts with false eyelashes, I am done. Scroll up to the bit where I wish I had inherited longer arms instead of a masculine face… which on my father is handsome with a brooding quality but on me is blurring the lines between horsey and well, let’s just say make-up and me are like aerosol to a naked flame — inflammable. I gather myself and whatever shreds of my dignity this whole exercise has allowed me to retain, and slip some very swollen feet (water retention, the enemy of women the world over) into heels. I am now tottering out the door like a giraffe on roller skates and just wanting to get the whole thing over with already. I reach the venue, it’s very elegant but I cannot stop myself giggling every time they take a photograph. Which means I’ll be looking toothy and slightly unhinged in all the pictures.
Great! On stage I am so thankful for the tight dress, it’s the only thing holding me upright as all my limbs have turned to jelly! Once my bit is done I return to my seat and load up on all the cheese and crackers they have on the table and dream of getting back into my granny pyjamas and fluffy moth-eaten socks, finally comfortable in my collagen deficient, stretch marked, orange peel dimpled skin.