Fun With Aging

by Lisa Scottoline

This week, everybody’s talking about aging.

But don’t worry, this column isn’t political.

I never write about politics.

Agita is Italian for politics.

And this is an agita-free zone.

So we’re going to talk about age, but the lighter side.

There’s only one lighter side.

You’re still alive.

Like if you’re aging, you’re lucky.

It’s good to talk about aging, in a funny way.

Because as every woman who’s getting older knows, somebody has to be kidding.

Like, I find signs of age on my own body and they’re the worst joke ever.

I had one this week.

I looked down and my arm hair was gone.

I swear to God I don’t know what happened to it.

I can never find my cell phone, but I used to know where my arm hair was.

The trick is in the name.

Now you see why I’m a mystery writer.

I cracked the case.

I’m Nancy Drew in The Case of the Missing Body Hair.

But it’s true, suddenly I looked down and I didn’t have any arm hair.

The last time this happened, I looked up and didn’t have any eyebrows.

I didn’t know what happened then, either.

I used to pluck my eyebrows.

Now I need to paste them back in.

And then I realized, I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs.

And it’s summer.

Wait, what?

If you’re a woman of a certain age, you might remember when shaving your legs was a big thing.

I used to shave my legs every morning.

I even shaved my legs again, before a Big Date, if you follow.

Because God forbid a man run his hand up my legs the wrong way.

Women grow up thinking there is a Right Way to run your hands over a leg and a Wrong Way, like a one-way street.

By the way, while we’re in the TMI category, no man has ever run his hand over my legs in bed, whether the Right Way or the Wrong Way.

In my experience, men are not interested in legs in bed.

They forget you have them.

You’re lucky if you can get them to run their hands over anything.

They don’t like to waste time.

They find something else to do.

I’m not complaining.

There’s lots to do.

To return to point, when I was a teenager, I used to do the hairy-legs check several times a day.

I was way too intense about the whole thing.

I even remember chasing razors with frequency.

Now I don’t even know where my razor is.

I ain’t crying.

Now that I don’t have to pluck or shave anything, I’m saving time.

Which I immediately put to good use searching for things on Netflix.

Note that I didn’t say watching Netflix, but searching for things on Netflix.

Because if you’ve ever used the search function on Netflix, you know it’s a treat.

You’re confronted with a square of letters and symbols that looks like a puzzle you never wanted to do.

You’re just trying to find some old movie, but you will find yourself using a TV remote in a way God never intended.

You will plug in a single letter and wait two minutes before it registers on the screen, then find out you plugged in the wrong letter and forgot the space bar.

That’s twenty minutes, right there.

That would have been prime plucking-and-shaving time.

Now you’re playing with your TV remote, vainly searching for something you barely wanted to watch in the first place.

What do you do next?

Give up.

Live without it.

You don’t need to keep searching.

Same thing with arm hair, leg hair, and eyebrows.

Don’t even bother looking.

You’re better off.

You’re not getting older.

You’re getting aerodynamic.

© Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2024

Column Classic: Spot On

By Lisa Scottoline

It turns out that my past is spotty.

And yours may be, too.

All of us women have to cope with the signs of aging, and some of us do so better than others.

I mostly ignore it.

I’m not a model, so I don’t earn a living by the way I look, and I’ve come to like my face, even with its laugh lines, since I like to laugh.

I know that sometimes my cheeks look drawn and hollow, which is the kind of thing that tempts some women to opt for injections of filler.

I don’t judge, but that isn’t my style.

As soon as I hear “injections,” I’m gone.

And the only filler my face needs is carbohydrates.

The same is true of facelifts or cosmetic surgery. I don’t blame anybody who does it, but my fear kicks in at “surgery.”

Though I have to admit that I’ve been tempted recently, a fact I discovered by accident. After summer was over, I noticed an oddly dark spot on my cheek, and since I wasn’t always careful about using sunscreen, I worried it was cancer. The very notion sent me scurrying to the Internet, where I looked at various horrifying slides and learned the acronym ABCDE, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving.

Now you learned something, and so did I.

The last time I had memorized an acronym with as much interest was when I was getting engaged, and I learned about the four C’s for engagement rings.

Cut, clarity, color, carat.

Much more fun.

Worried, I called around and found a dermatologist, a woman reputed to be a great doctor, though on the brusque side.

In other words, a woman of few words.

I hadn’t even known such a creature existed.

Obviously, she’s the direct opposite of me, but I wasn’t looking for love, just to stay alive.

Anyway, the dermatologist suggested that I come in for a mole check.

I agreed, though she’d said it so fast, I thought she’d said, “mold check.”

Which was probably more accurate.

I’m not getting old, I’m getting mold.

Or maybe I’m molting.

Either way, I went to the dermatologist, who examined the suspicious mole and determined it was benign.


I promised myself never to skip the sunscreen, ever again.

But then the dermatologist frowned behind the contraption that magnified her eyes to two brown marbles. She pointed to my temples and said, “You have quite a lot of keratoses.”

Again, I didn’t understand because she was looking at my forehead, not my toesies.  “What did you say?”

“These brownish spots on your temples. You have so many.”

Thanks, I thought, but didn’t say. “They’re from the sun, aren’t they?”

“No, that’s a common misconception. They’re hereditary.”

I remembered then that my father used to have them, which might have been the reason I never minded them. Because they reminded me of him.

The dermatologist said, “They’re not related to age, but they age you, and I can remove them.”


“Hold on.” The dermatologist left the office, then returned with a Styrofoam cup of what looked like coffee, because a curlicue of steam wafted from inside the cup. Before I could understand what was going on, she swiped a Q-tip inside the cup and pressed it to my temple.

“Ow,” I blurted out. “What is that?”

“Liquid nitrogen. It burns, right?”

“Right.” I bit my lip as she swiped the Q-tip back in the Styrofoam cup and pressed it on a few other places on my temples.

I wanted my mommy but didn’t say so.

Because that would have been immature.

The dermatologist finished up, saying, “That’s all for now. Call my office in a week or so and make an appointment to remove the others.”

I thanked her and left the office, my forehead a field of red dots, like a constellation that spelled out:


A week later, the red dots had turned brown and fallen off, and in their place was fresh pink skin.

I could see that I looked better, maybe even younger.

But I have to say, I missed looking like my father.

And I think I’ll leave the other ones alone.

© Lisa Scottoline