Nancy Roman

Corporal Mysteries, Part Two

A year ago, I wrote about a few strange things that seem to be happening to my middle-aged body (Corporal Mysteries).

I was especially concerned about my eyebrows. And I have written three separate posts about eyebrows, so I guess my concern may be bordering on obsession. But nevertheless.

I don’t understand why my brows are thinning. Well, actually, I do understand – it’s old age. What I don’t understand is why the stray ones won’t also start a disappearing act. Just last night I found a stray eyebrow in the crease of my eye socket. Growing there. Thick and lush and stupid. But if you have read anything I have ever written, you know that I spend a good deal of time in front of the mirror. How long is a good deal of time? When I am getting ready for bed, I sometimes examine myself for so long that I have to pee again.  That long.

So my new eyebrow question is: where the heck did that eyebrow hair come from? It wasn’t there yesterday. It wasn’t just sprouting out. No. It was big enough to start to curl.

And speaking of curling. How come my eyebrow hairs are now curling? My head hair won’t curl and never would – no matter how much Dippity-Do I added. And my eyelashes. If I had just TWO eyelashes (one for each eye – I don’t want to look unbalanced) as long and curly as my eyebrows, I’d be ecstatic.

And in the same general vicinity: What is up with my eyelids?

I have extremely dry skin. I slather on the moisturizer like turkey basting. I’m wearing so much argon, aloe – and something that seems a lot like Crisco – why, the last time I had to have an EKG, the technician couldn’t get the leads to stick to me. All those little suction cups kept sliding off.

But if I skip the oil treatment – even for a day – my skin starts to resemble sandpaper. And I leave sandpaper dust in a cloud behind me as I walk.

But I never ever put moisturizer on my eyelids. So if my skin is as dry as the kale chips I tried to make this summer – then WHY are my eyelids as greasy as a Krispy Kreme donut? I wear eyeshadow for twenty minutes tops.

And about my skin: It is just plan wrong that I have a currently have a pimple on my cheek –  right near an age spot.

And as long as I am bitching  commenting on my puzzling body, let me talk about toenails for a minute.

When I was in my twenties, I worked for a program that provided assistance to the elderly. One of my responsibilities was to make podiatrist appointments for old people. Old toenails get so thick that a professional is needed to saw through.

And now I’m THERE.

What the heck???

Do I really need to go down to the basement to use my husband’s bench grinder for a trim?

But what’s even more frustrating is my fingernails.

If my toenails are as hard as nails (so to speak), why are my fingernails exactly the opposite? Aren’t they made out of the same stuff? My fingernails are brittle and broken. So fragile they break off when I type. And except for right now, I am not an angry typist.

I figure I can learn to type with my toes.

If I could only train my eyebrow hairs to migrate a little further down and join my few remaining eyelashes. Maybe give them curling lessons.

Maybe they could be wiper blades for my eyelids.



  1. Deb

    You are not alone, and then some. Various hair disappears from various places and then shows up un-announced in others. I can commiserate fully with just about everything in your post. One thing I learned recently-if the eyebrows are thinning noticeably, especially from the outer edge, and you have other symptoms (just Google for all of them) check your thyroid, it could be hypothyroidism.

    • I have thin spots at random, but I’ll keep an eye on that outer area.

  2. This would be extremely funny if it wasn’t happening to me as well. Please advise if you get any answers to the questions.

    • I am prepared to pay big bucks, if that will incent anyone to solve my eyelid grease.

  3. Re Deb’s coment above: I read the same thing about the outer 1/3 of the brow missing. If it is, it’s a symptom of hypothyroidism, with which I was recently diagnosed (I’m also missing my outer brows, but since they’re blonde, you can only tell with a microscope). I’ve also been trying to figure out if I have fungus toenails; now I know that I just have old-people’s toenails (at 53!). Thanks for the heads-up. And, apparently, I have old-people’s brittle/chipped/split fingernails. My days of getting a mani/pedi are over.

    • What happens to toenails anyway????

  4. Vote number three for low thyroid function and the missing eyebrows. I also have long curling eyebrows now, that’s heredity. My nails are healthy, but I don’t consume wheat/grains and it has helped my skin and nails…and gotten rid of my joint pain.

    • This may be a clue. I’m going to find out whether thyroid problems make your eyelids oily and your fingernails brittle.

  5. I have this one black whisker in the middle of my chin… and it would seem that it grows under the surface for a couple of weeks then pops out overnight….because I look for it every single morning, and it’s not there at all, then one day it is like an inch long! As for the other stuff … yeah. Growing old is not cool, my friend.

    • Those stray hairs are sneaky bastards

  6. Ah: Dippity Do (can still remember the way it smelled!)
    Years ago, my ex and I owned the dime store in town. One of the things we sold (behind the counter) was pocketknives. I had an old gentleman come in and buy a new pocketknife every once in awhile to trim his toenails. Yech…. and yikes.
    “Maturing” does bring its challenges, doesn’t it??

    • A pocketknife won’t do it for me. Maybe a band saw.

  7. Yep, I have the old people toenails on my big toes and my fingernails peel like onions. I too used to have the Brooke Shields eyebrows but mine have just thinned a bit so they look normal now. My thing is, I just noticed the nose hair! I have actually had to trim it!! I’m “just” 53 and now I wonder if I’ll look like I have a moustache in 10 years if I don’t keep it trimmed….

    • I had one rogue nose hair (so far). Yikes.

  8. Welcome to the club!

    • I just don’t want to be president of that club!

  9. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Sigh. Cold weather? All my fingernails break.
    Seriously, the thyroid tip is something worth checking into – much better since mine was identified. Very common unknown problem for women these days – if you get checked make sure the doc is familiar with all the tests for thyroid function and it helps if he/she has treated patients before

    • That seems to be the consensus. And I think that would be okay with me. Better thyroid disease than have the doctor diagnose ‘old age.’

  10. My eyebrows are disappearing on the edges, getting smaller. I hate this. I hate all of this. In my mind, I still wear a bikini

    • I actually wear a bikini in more than my mind. But in my mind, I look GOOD in it!

  11. cherry angiomas – the blood red mole like spots,, started off with one and now they are all over my belly (don’t start on the belly) and chest. The medical sites I spend my life on say they are nothing to worry about just a function of old age….still don’t think I am really old and then you realize that medically you are. (first time was when I had my son and they called me a geriatric mother at 35!)

    • Spider veins for me. And it seems like one morning, they just appeared.

  12. Al

    I have no comment, other than to say I haven’t laughed this hard in a good long while. Funny, funny post!

    • Yeah, well, you’re a man. You don’t need hair, and you can always go with suspenders.

  13. Michelle

    I can’t remember if it’s from Erma Bombeck or not, but someone once told me menopause is when your leg hair migrates up to your face. Mine’s made it to my chin so far.

    • I never heard that! But I can see that it’s true. Maybe that weird eyebrow hair wasn’t from my eyebrow after all…. maybe came the long way.

      • My girlfriend and I have also discussed staging fights similar to cock fighting with our creepy toenails.

  14. I could have written all of this! Stray eyebrow hairs and some are as long as the hair on my head. Not to mention the gray ones. Chin Hairs, mustache, brittle nails.
    I just finished trimming my husbands toenails….. his large toenail on his left foot is black (from dropping a heavy pipe on it months ago) Gross. Must be true love.

    • I dislike this feet. I will send him to the podiatrist.

  15. I laughed so hard at this post. scary thing is I’m there on some of this stuff an I’m *only* in my 40’s.

  16. The only plus I’ve found so far is that there is less hair on my legs so I have to shave less often. At my ripe old age (57 until tomorrow), I’ve finally discovered eyebrow powder. It will help until I have nothing left to fill in.

    • I always thought eyebrow pencil looked weird. Now I wouldn’t leave the house without it.

  17. sunshinebright

    Ha ha ha! I have to stop laughing out loud. Give me a minute. OMG. Thank you so much for giving me the best laugh of the day. BTW, here’s a solution for your thinning eyebrows: permanent makeup.

    • I like the kind you can wash off. I am positive that the second I go permanent, the style will change.

  18. This was the funniest thing I’ve read on WordPress! Thanks for the best laugh of the day….make that week! :) :) :)

    • Thanks. I love to make someone laugh.

  19. this is toooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny! My only hope is that my toenail ageing is not hereditary, because if it is and my toes end up like my Dad’s, I swear I’ll go off my rocker. His are so thick and strong you could break open a safe with them!

    • I agree 100%. The toenail thing sort of freaks me out. :) Pedi’s are important part of my life and a couple of years ago, I got the dreaded “FuNgUs” from a salon I went to on vacation, which caused me to become borderline suicidal. I went immediately to doctor and demanded a prescription even though according to the doctor it wasn’t “that bad.” Needless to say, the piggies are back in top form, but I now deal with P.T.S.D. of the fungal kind.

      Moral of the story: I have pretty toenails and I want to keep them. (even though I have never seen an older person with good toenails. Haha!)

    • Great safecracking idea! But watch out for fingerprints – or toe prints, that is.

  20. Haha – really enjoying your blog! The three things that ended up working wonders for my brows/nails/skin were green smoothies (raw veg/fruits), ditching table sugar, and also the anti-ageing / repair serums from Anne Gianni natural lotions/potions – I’m a big fan now!

    • I’m sugar-free, but not sure about the green smoothies. I’m always willing, though, to spend money on anti-aging products – I’ll check it out.

  21. Tell me about eyebrows. I only have one and it’s sparse. I used to have great eyebrows but in the seventies it became popular to be very thin so I plucked them to death. They did grow back but were never as good.
    In order for them to look natural, I first dot where they are supposed to be with brown eyeliner then fluff that into shape with grey eye shadow. My hair is grey streaked (natural and I love it) so I use the grey to get the colour right. I won’t go out without putting my eyebrows on. I wouldn’t get them permanently tattooed because they just jump out at you as un-natural.
    Aging’s a bitch! Staying healthy is the answer to most of the problems. If you see a good looking older person, it’s because they are healthy, not because they are puffed up and tattooed.

    • My mother still looks great at 90. To me, anyway.

  22. I love this post!!!!! Dippety Doo… oh I remember that stuff. I had two pimples suddenly appear on my chin, now I look like the old shriveled witch you see on the silver screen… approaching the last year of my 50’s and my chin looks like it is in adolescence! this is great, thanks for the smile.

    • What is it with pimples at my age? I never remember my Grandma with a pimple!

  23. I turn 50 this year and all this… and more! I’m not sure I’m up for the challenge

  24. I had a Great-Aunt that was an elegant, stylish women who up until the day she died kept herself groomed and well dressed. Her favorite line was, “Old Age Ain’t for Sissies!” I never knew that she meant that for all the reasons you described until I told her about my first chin hair! Who Knew? Well, at least we can feel like we are all in this together – the thinning, drooping, nubs club!

    • My mother at 90 still won’t leave the house without drawing on some eyebrows.

      • She must have a steadier hand than me, haven’t attempted that yet!

  25. Your post is hilarious, Nancy. I fixed all those problems so I wouldn’t need to deal with them anymore. I broke all the mirrors in my house. Now I have a memory of what I used to look like when I looked good. ;-) :-D :-D

  26. great stuff

  27. Ray G

    Why no comments/observations about we guys’ nemesis? Namely, ear hair! When younger, I poked fun at older guys whose ears began sporting bushes of locks. Now, I must trim my own!

    • Oh dear god, I believe in gender equality, but please don’t let that happen to me!

  28. Ha ha ha. I’m not brave enough to specify my new bodily malfunctions, but I appreciate commiserating with those who are. Aging is not for the weak. :)

  29. You’re a blond, feel blessed. My waxer and I are best friends – eye brows, lip, chin and then I have one of those magnifying mirrors for the strays that do indeed stay under the skin until they are at least an inch long and can pop out at the most inappropriate time.

    Toenails? Buy a Dremmel at Home Depot, they work wonders. This way you can stil do mani/pedi and you don’t have to worry.

    I did laugh aloud at all of this, there is no solution. We age and it only gets better. Hot Flashes and Pimples, who knew.

  30. How about the long black hair that suddenly appears from the side of your neck and not only do you wonder how long that single hair has been there but how many other people have seen it and not said anything! PS…try solid coconut oil at night – trader joe’s and maybe whole foods sells it. Works wonders and its all natural. you can even cook with it although I’d get a separate jar for cooking.

  31. How I wished for dry skin when I was a greasy skinned, spotty teenager all those years ago. Now I practically have to smother my face with lard to stop it feeling as taut as a drum. Well, they do say be careful what you wish for.

    I hope you find a solution to the wayward eyebrow issue.

  32. Toenails also yellow as they thicken, especially the ones on the big toes. Looks perfectly awful in sandals come summer. But that’s what nail polish is for! :) Speaking more seriously, dryness as you age can come as much from what’s inside you (or what’s not) as from what’s outside. Have you looked into the vitamin-mineral-omega 3 approach to the problem?

  33. My neck is a little sore from bobbing my head up and down as I read this post. I have never been a hairy person, so to speak. The fine, thin hair on my head was once referred to as Frog fur by a hair stylist. The seven or so hairs on my legs have migrated south and now I find myself shaving the tops of my big toes every two weeks or so. Oh the glamour. Thanks for making me laugh today.

    • It’s comforting to know that I am not alone – but also scary to think I may soon be shaving my toes!


  1. Never Mind | notquiteold

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