I never used to spend any time thinking about my neck. Or anyone else’s neck, for that matter. Necks were, in my younger years, just a bit of necessary engineering for holding up one’s head.
I do recall a brief fixation with Gwyneth Paltrow’s neck when she appeared in some film or other, playing a Jane Austen heroine. I remember thinking that her neck seemed to be an entirely different shape and construct from my own. It was ‘swan-like’. Mine was more guinea pig than swan. Then I moved on, and didn’t give my neck a second thought. Until recently.
I blame my iPhone for dragging me out of my blissful ignorance of neck-related issues. My children have an obsession with FaceTime. Even when we’re in the same building, they’ll FaceTime me to ask what’s for supper (pasta), or where they can find their socks (wherever the dog has hidden them).
I hate FaceTime. I loathe being forced to stare at my face, and I particularly hate the angle at which that super high-powered camera gets you. It’s usually pointing right at your neck and up to your chin.
I thought that maybe the camera lied. Then, one day about six months ago, one of my kids stared at me in horror and said “Mummy! What has happened to your neck?!?” Not for the first time, I looked back on all those hours of childbirth and years of nappies, sleepless nights and nose wiping and thought why?!?
Side note: Please don’t troll me. I love my kids more than life itself, obvs.
My neck has transformed – not into a Gywnnie-like swan, but into a turkey. And my chin has drooped, like a little hammock for all those words I can no longer remember to hang out in, swinging gently in the breeze.
I am doomed.
I Googled what to do about turkey neck. Plastic surgery is the most effective solution, apparently, including a technique called MST which is described as ‘minimally invasive’ and involves ‘rejuvenating the neck by tightening the skin with barbed threads.’ Yikes!
The truth is, I don’t want to resort to surgery as an antidote to ageing. I’d rather planned to just let it all hang down in as graceful a manner as possible. Also, I’m worried that it would be a bit like my home improvement operation. I paint one room, put down a new carpet and declutter. I then spend a few days feeling really chuffed with myself, before realising that my new shiny sitting room has just made the hallway look really shabby and tired.
If I sorted out my neck, I’d end up with a young-looking neck holding up and ancient-looking face. Where would it end? Ask Joan Collins.
There is some evidence, says Google, cautiously, that anti-ageing creams may help by firming and smoothing the skin, but – going back to my house decoration analogy – I worry that in my case it would be like tying to paint the hall with a bottle of Tippex.
Another suggestion is exercise. Try to sit up straight when on a computer or laptop, holding your head up high. That’s all very well, but how do I see the damn screen? Sleep with one pillow instead of two to reduce the angle between the face and the neck. I’m sorry, but no-one messes with my sleep.
There are, apparently, two ‘facial yoga’ moves which can help the whole neck situation. The first involves leaning your head back to look at the ceiling, then pouting your lips as if you’re kissing and holding for a few seconds. Repeat ten times. Do you feel like a total plonker? Yes, me too.
The second ‘yoga’ move is to ‘smile in six stages’, keeping the mouth closed. I don’t think I have six stages of smile! I look like the Joker in Batman.
I think I’m going to have to resort to the tried-and-tested solution that women of a certain age have used for ever: polo necks. And neck scarves.
So, if you’re walking down the street and you come across a woman who smiles at you in six stages and looks like a guinea pig wearing a jauntily tied scarf around its neck, that’ll be me.
There’s lots more on the Life in the Hot Lane Facebook Page, including Ulrika Johnson in a brilliantly honest article about how her menopausal brain fog made her think she had early onset dementia. The fabulous Lisa Timoney has a hilarious piece on the late-middle-aged make-up routine, and, of course, there’s Throwback Thursday. Anyone else remember Jackie magazine? ‘Like’ the page to stay updated.