50 Is the New Crappy

French actress Catherine Deneuve has been quoted as saying, "After a certain age, you have to choose between your fanny and your face."

That is:

Many of the things you do in the name of staying in shape—counting calories, tallying fat grams, following a uber-healthy nutrition plan, logging hours at the gym—begin to do a number on your face as you close in on 40. You start to lose facial volume, which can cause eyes to look slightly sunken, cheeks to hollow out, and skin to lose its firmness and elasticity. Maintaining a low body mass index (BMI) exacerbates the problem because fat is the very thing that helps plump out lines and wrinkles.

Like most plain women, I'm terribly vain, and not willing to choose between one and the other.

My face and figure may be more "burnt-orange shag" than "red carpet," but there's no point in deteriorating further, if I can help it.

I've worn a 40 SPF or higher sunscreen every day since my lupus diagnosis almost 25 years ago. Between that and my Paula's Choice-or-nothing philosophy, my skin is fairly wrinkle- and age-spot free, although not as trampoline-tight as I'd like.

Having come of age with Siouxsie Sioux, Soo Catwoman and Nina Hagen as my chalk-faced, crimson-lipped style icons, it took a nice lady named Charla Krupp to finally talk me down from the roof of the Goth Beauty Building.

Tragically, Krupp up and dropped dead just as I was getting into her book which was – you guess it – another excuse for me to feel bummed.