Even though we are all vain creatures who want to look good, it’s impossible as a woman to not sometimes suspect there’s full-scale effort to make you despise not just your entire being, but also every conceivable angle from which it may be viewed. Anti-aging advice is the worst culprit: It means well, but comes off as obsessive and eagle-eyed in its appraisal of the minutest ramifications of having shown the effects of being alive. That said, how hard would it really be to follow the advice?
Take this latest entry in the canon of willful aesthetic OCD: “16 Surprising Habits that Are Aging You” over at MSN.com. The 16 habits comprised therein are not at all surprising, or at least not in the way the author thinks. They amount to a laundry list of what mankind has innately understood since he or she could understand anything: Existing every day, doing the regular things that people do whilst living in any era whatsoever, makes you slowly look older over time. Such is the fate of man; we make our fun where we can until our number is up.
Furthermore, what such advice asks of you, the aging woman, borders on pure farce. Just as a lot of diet advice presumes it’s worth it to be perpetually cranky if you can just be thin, anti-aging advice presumes that you’d rather look good than live well, or rather, it fundamentally misunderstands what living well means to a lot of people—that implicit in getting up every day and moving about is agreeing to slowly trade our age for experience on earth.
But maybe I’m being too hard on anti-aging advice. How hard is it to be a perfect, non-aging entity anyway? Let’s consider a few tips:
“USING A STRAW TO DRINK THROUGH ANYTHING”
The author writes:
This may come as a shock but think about it: What do your lips do when you are drinking through a straw? You purse them. Do that many times and you’ll start to see lip lines and wrinkles after a while because of the repetitive muscle motion.
Sure, pursed lips makes you look, if nothing else, constipated. One wonders if you get laid at all, looking like that. Obviously, your favorite smoothie can’t be worth looking like a shriveled-up hag.
Offensive, yes. But who still drinks through a straw anyway? Aside from smoothie freaks, no one. Children. Slurpee addicts. Besides, the author says “‘Too much’” means drinking about 15 beverages a day that way,” which makes this a bullshit piece of advice anyway. Piece of cake. Stay young forever! Don’t suck through a straw!
“KEEPING YOUR HOME TOO HOT”
By cranking the heat, the author warns, “ you will end up hurting yourself.” Dry air leads to inflamed skin.
Yes, there goes Jane, clearly inflamed from being too warm inside during the winter. I find it incredibly difficult to believe this is even noticeable. At home, a person must reserve the right to set the temperature at a comfortable level. To even ask that you suffer in this manner—not to save energy or cut down on your heat bill—but to buy what is likely a negligible difference in skin inflammation levels? Please. No way, no day am I freezing just to keep my skin from being inflamed. Warm trumps young.
“TOO MUCH EXERCISE”
Here we learn that too much cardio leads to amped-up stress, which “breaks” your collagen, and “no collagen means no protection from wrinkles.”
I think most of us will never run the risk of exercising too much. Anyone can do this. Besides, this sounds like bullshit too. If this were a tried and true route to staying young looking most of us would look like infants.
“SLEEPING ON ONE SIDE”
MSN.com says “The best way to sleep is on your back because the skin on your face is not under any pressure.”
Can you imagine actually shifting the way you sleep deliberately after a lifetime of sleeping one way, which is obviously the most comfortable for you, in the hopes that you might awake with one less crow’s foot? No, because you’re not insane.
Dead serious: The author explains that yawning makes your eyes water, which leads to “swelling and puffiness.” This weakens your skin’s flexibility. Then it stretches, and here come the bags, and here comes the
Difficulty: Hahahaha yeah right.
Do you really think you could stop yawning even if you wanted to? You know who doesn’t yawn? Psychopaths!
This one feels like a mighty stretch. Here, MSN.com claims that being bored means being inactive, which means not moving around a lot, which means feeling bad, which means less flexibility and chronic pain, which “will make you feel, and eventually look, much older than you are.”
Difficulty: Too Stupid.
Sitting around and getting real bored and letting your mind wander can be a way of recharging, which I would think would be far more positive an impact on your overall vibes and health than worrying about not being so bored that you might never move again and therefore get haggy.
“NOT APPLYING CONTACT LENSES RIGHT”
Would you believe it if I told you that by “tugging” at the thin skin around your eyes to put in or take out contacts, you look older by some vaguely ill-defined amount not described by this article?
How you do a thing is how you do the thing. Sure, there might be an objectively better way, but if you are ultimately getting your contacts in and out every night without stabbing your eyes, then I’d say you’re sailing through like gangbusters.
“REPETITIVE FACIAL MOVEMENTS”
Squinting, frowning, chewing gum—Hagsville, population you.
Difficulty: Death Glare
Just stop moving altogether, will ya?
“ANY SOURCE OF STRESS”
Yes, you read that correctly. Stress—good, bad, ugly, normal, unavoidable—leads to aging. Now please sit down, strap in, and let me wheel you into this cryogenic chamber to halt the aging process altogether.
Difficulty: Seizures Resulting in Brain Death
At the risk of being hyperbolic, I want to point out that there would be nothing out of place in this article if the final slide suggested early death as the ultimate escape from aging.
Taken together, these tips suggest that all that’s left to do to avoid looking old—which is, presumably, the literal worst thing that can happen to you—is to vigilantly monitor every aspect of your waking and sleeping life to stave off even the slightest markers of having been around for a second longer than 25 years.
Yes, articles like this are meant to be lighthearted filler content. But reading it is like staring into the heart of darkness itself—which experts say is arguably the biggest source of premature aging around.
Image via Shutterstock.