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THE FACELIFT/Tracy Crow MY HUSBAND, VINCE, a month shy of sixty-four, announces over dinner at a restaurant his Intent to have cosmetic surgery. "So, should I go for the brow lift?" He pushes his receding hairline toward the lady in the booth behind him; his new wide-eyed stare reminds me of a retooled Wayne Newton. I am too stunned for words. I see my husband as sixty-four going on fifty-five. His wrinkle-free face useless as a road map for charting the complicated journey that includes an ex-wife, four chüdren, three stepchildren and eight grandkids . His hair is thinning on top, but he is years away from the combover . Early retirement agrees with him. He visits the gym three times a week. Outlifts most men half his age. Outwalks all but a few. He rambles on, giving details about the surgery, possible scarring and recovery time. I double blink, expecting to wake from a dream or to find I am listening to a girlfriend prattle about her fears of aging, not my husband. "What about a chin implant?" His lowerjaw juts forward in what dentists label a serious underbite, although with a dimple in the center I suppose it might resemble Kirk Douglas's. He lifts the loose skin under his chin, stretches it toward his ears, turning his head left to right. "So, what do you think?" What do I think? I think he has too much money and too much time on his hands. I think this health guru across from me, who will not let me eat Chinese food but once a year, is not really my husband. With another birthday on the horizon, I think he needs more reassurance about the twenty-one-year gap in our ages. I think anyone who looks ten years younger than his age must be insane to risk health for cosmetic surgery. What I am really thinking is: Who is she? Two years earlier, Vince had negotiated a successful buyout of his position as CEO of a lumber distribution business headquartered in South Carolina. We retired to Florida's sunny Gulf Coast, where he convinced me to chuck the makeup and high-heel glamour lifestyle for sandals and the natural complexion of a relaxed, tanned tourist . Florida living comes easy to Vince—but he would wear running shoes with a tuxedo. His skin glistens in tropical temperatures; mine drips with sweat. His hair, naturally blond, darker with age, lightens to gold under the Florida sun; my dark hair takes on the burnt reddish shade you see on black junkyard dogs in the summer. 26 · The Missouri Review By the end of our first June, with temperatures and humidity levels in the upper '90s, I realized that makeup was pointless. I threw out everything but waterproof mascara and sunscreen. Anyone here wearing Upstick looks ridiculous or out of step, or is a TV anchor. New friends confess about their tattooed eyeliners and tattooed natural blush lips, as Upermanent makeup is beauty survival Ui the Sunshine State. I might have bought into the whole tattoo business except for two things: I hate needles, and in my six-year marriage to Vince I had never felt so comfortable, so accepted, so natural a woman. Too, I was what Vince now called a college girl, on track, after a seventeen-year interruption, to finish my degree in literature. I was experiencing an attitude shift, a reinventing of self, moving away from the outer landscape of physical concerns to the more important internal ones. As my husband chatters about a facelift, I wonder if I have become too comfortable. My cuticles look ragged, and I skipped last week's eyebrow waxing to finish a paper on Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. "Well, what do you think?" I have not spoken since his announcement. I tell him he looks ten years younger than his age. He says, "I'm worried about what I'll look like ten years from now." I mention health risks involved with unnecessary surgery. "I can't think of a better way to die than to be put to sleep ... if I die...


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