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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: The future is so … wrinkly?

Julia Ditto, left, visited a Turkish bath with friends while in Budapest, Hungary, in 1998.  (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
Julia Ditto, left, visited a Turkish bath with friends while in Budapest, Hungary, in 1998. (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

My husband and I were doing yardwork the other day when out of the blue, he said, “You look cute. Turn around so I can take a picture.”

For reference, please note that he also had said I looked “cute” when I was nine months pregnant and resembled Winnie the Pooh, so his judgment is questionable at best. But regardless, I looked over my shoulder and flashed him a quick I-hate-yardwork smile.

“Here, let me look at it,” I said as he started putting his phone back in his pocket. “I want to see what all the fuss is about.” He handed it over. I was instantly horrified.

“Is that what I look like?!” I screeched. “I’ve never seen so many wrinkles! I look like Mother Gothel!”

Logan grabbed the phone back, taking a look for himself. “No, you don’t; you look great,” he reassured me. “But let’s take another picture just for fun, and maybe don’t raise your eyebrows so high this time. Your forehead does kind of look like a map of the Ganges.”

I’ve always had a bit of a baby face, looking like I was 20 when I was 25, 35 when I was 40 and so on. But over the past few years, nature has really been getting the last laugh. And seeing that yardwork picture was my wake-up call that it’s time to start paying a little more attention to my skincare regimen, which is as follows:

Every morning, I wash my face with a bar of Irish Spring soap while I’m in the shower. Once dry, it’s moisturized with whichever lotion was on sale at Target when I was last there to buy a 12 pack of underwear for one of my boys.

My dry, claw-like hands get a generous slathering of Huggies Extra Sensitive baby lotion, which I recently found in an old box in my linen closet and figured I might as well use even though it was purchased when my now-5-year-old was an infant.

This combination of expired baby lotion and heavily scented men’s body soap gives my skin that dewy, glowing look that all middle-aged women crave.

In the evening, my routine is a little more serious. Right before bed, I wash my face with whichever skin cleanser was on sale at Target and gently dab it dry with a hand towel that at least three of my children have used after washing their hands in a dubious fashion.

I then apply some legitimately expensive “Youth Recovery Cream” that I got for free when I purchased fancy eye makeup remover at a department store because apparently eye makeup remover is the one beauty product I’m willing to splurge on.

This half-hearted skincare routine is not cutting it anymore. I really should have known better than to leave my youthful appearance to chance.

When I was in my 20s, I traveled around Europe for a couple weeks with some friends. One of our many stops was in Budapest, the “City of Spas” in Hungary, where one of my friends and I took the opportunity to go to a Turkish bath.

We timidly walked into the women-only section of the ornate and ancient bathhouse, two naïve American college students about to get a real education in European modesty, which was: being naked is fine. Stop staring and making it weird. Just take off your clothes and be done with it.

So we did. We stripped down and soaked in the baths for an hour, avoiding eye contact with each other and everyone else in the crowded pool. I’m pretty sure we were the youngest people there by at least 50 years, surrounded on all sides by blissfully naked Hungarian women who were remarkably secure in their bodies.

After we left, I turned to my friend and said, “I didn’t know skin could do that!” Well, now I know. I have seen the future, and it is very, very wrinkly.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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