No, we aren’t just talking about Merriam Webster and its definition of “thin-skinned” as people who are easily bothered by criticism or insults, or fruits and vegetables that have thin skins or rinds, like peaches.
In fact, we suggest Merriam Webster update its definition of “thin-skinned.” We’re talking about oldies’ thin skin and easy bruising. Hey, what caused that black and blue mark? I have no idea.
It’s not our imagination. As we age, our skin becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic, and retains less moisture. Menopause doesn’t help. Add to that years of sun exposure, and, yes, pollution. As kids, we spent our summers at the New Jersey shore. Sun screens? Nope. We’re surprised we still have noses. One in every five of us will get skin cancer eventually.
Speaking of sunscreens, Hawaii just passed a law to ban those with certain chemicals to protect marine life and our coral reefs. The top sunscreens contain these naughty ingredients. We’ve never even heard of the acceptable ones. But it’s important to use them.
And, thin skin sags! Think about an old rubber band that doesn’t bounce back. This is what causes lines on our foreheads and around our eyes and the corners of our mouth. Jowls! Wattles! You know—turkey neck. Couple this with sagging skin resulting from losing height as our back discs flatten and our spines shrink. We don’t have a chance!
That darn thinning of our skin is the cause of the easy bruising. We’ve lost some of the protective fatty layer that cushions the blows. Heck, most of the time, we don’t remember bumping into anything. And, of course, more “good news”—women are prone to bruising more as they get older.
We understand the argument that hospitals not have squared off corners, but only rounded ones. We’re not making that up. It’s been researched. Also, it’s dangerous to walk by low furniture or benches; the shins get so damaged and always in the same spot!
It’s not fun to wear slacks on the hottest of days; however, the bruises and bandages are unattractive. No Band-Aids seem designed for adults. Options are only those ugly, drab, beige ones. We have resorted to the kids’ Band-Aids, which are decked out with Minions and princesses! At least they are a conversation starter. Now there’s a potential new market! How about Band-Aids decorated with impressionist paintings or the Beatles???
Of course, there is the option of wearing Wikkies, which are marketed as revolutionary leg protectors for fragile thin skin. Their website says the idea was born out of frustration and a desire to make a difference—and market a practical solution that works. Yes, we are frustrated with bruising, but not enough to wear those bulky, ugly leg guards. Heck, there are always the grandkids’ shin guards in a pinch.
Harking back to Webster’s definitions, we would be dishonest if we didn’t point out that our thin skin isn’t just literally thin, it’s figuratively thin when faced with ageism and young people’s stereotyping of and discrimination toward us oldies. We knew we had crossed a line that day we were called “ma’am” rather than “miss.” And since we are admittedly thin-skinned, we want to strangle people.
We resent their technology snobbery. Yes, we can use Netflix. Well, we can now that the remote has that listening feature! Don’t these young people get it that aging isn’t a choice?? They will be there soon enough. Too bad we won’t be around to see how they handle it and cope with distorted tattoos on their sagging skin.
Our Wrinkled Wisdom for today: Remember, best of all, wisdom comes with age! We were going to suggest cosmetic surgery, but Jane Fonda just said she hates the fact that “I’ve had the need to alter myself physically to feel that I’m OK,” and then mused that “I wish I wasn’t like that. I love older faces. I love lived-in faces.” Sure. Easy to say when you look great for almost 81. So, try elevating bruised areas to drain fluid away from those black and blues. It’s a perfect excuse to relax with a cold cocktail that can also be used to ice your latest bruise! And, if vacationing in Hawaii, please, please, buy that approved sunscreen.