Long-term readers may start thinking I'm obsessed with sunscreen but, darlings, you must wear sunscreen. You must also wear sunglasses and hats. I recommend sleeves in summer and also T-shirts with a very shallow scoop. I read somewhere that the only outdoor light that must ever fall upon your decolletage (i.e. chest) is moonbeams.
As you know, I don't believe there is much point chasing after men hoping that they will marry us. Uh-uh. But I do believe in doing those things that we can do to improve our lives, and one of those things is taking care of our skin when we are children, teens and younger adults so that we don't look like old boots or, worse, get skin cancer when we are middle-aged.
My letter-writers can attest that when they write in saying, "Auntie, I am turning 25, I'm Single, and I feel so old" I tell them to go look in the mirror and admire their 24 year old skin. My skin is not so bad because I have worn sunblock and hats and sleeves, but it cannot compare to the pearl-like glow of protected 24 year old skin. No way.
By the way, it is a myth that black girls don't need sunblock and can't get sunburnt. Simply everybody has to take responsibility for the health of her skin. You must resist peer pressure and mockery. Our church organist basks in the sun turning a sort of brick colour while making rude remarks about my "Goth make-up." I'll pray for him. No, seriously.
I know this is still true for India, Japan and the Caribbean and there the implications are disturbing, but once upon a time even white people prized pale, pale skin. If you look at Pre-Raphaelite paintings, for example, you will see a lot of red- or chestnut-haired ladies with enormous blue eyes and milk-coloured skin faintly stained with strawberry juice. Well, that's a lousy ideal if you're African, Indian, Sicilian or Japanese, but if you're a Celt or an Anglo-Saxon, you might consider rockin' that look. Otherwise old boot for you.
Do you know what is disturbing? Seeing women you haven't seen since they were 17 who are now 30-something. The implications of aging sock you right in the eyes, particularly since what goes first is the skin around your eyes. Lines shooting off from high school pals' eyes are enough to make you rush to the nearest mirror to see how your eyes are doing and---eek!
So, people: sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, sleeves and only moonbeams on your front. I wear an SPF 15 tinted moisturizer year round and slather on SPF 30 from the first hot day which, in Scotland, was April 10 this year.
I dream of mass appeal, so I craftily tried to find out if you-all are Extraordinary Form groupies like me, or mostly George Weigelian neo-cons, or devotees of America magazine, and if there were a good helping of Other People of Good Will and even a troll or two.
At the last moment, though, I thought of Berenike, who resists all attempts to shove her into any box that says anything more than "Catholic". So I gave her preferred option. And, wouldn't you know, 47 of the 99 public voters picked that one, fiercely resisting being called either a Mad Trad, a Cranky Conservative or a Looney Liberal.
I am edified that almost half my readers refuse to separate themselves from other Catholics by taking on a modifier, but on the other hand I am grateful to the 19 Mad Trads and 27 Cranky Conservatives who, with self-deprecating good humour, fell into my schemes. I was surprised and sad that I had no Looney Liberal voters, but then I emailed a certain reader and she enthusiastically embraced the title, which brings my voters up to 100. There were 6 non-Catholic People of Good Will, and no anti-Catholic trolls. I had an anti-Catholic troll, but that vote disappeared before the tally. So to recap, of 100 voting readers:
Solemn JUST Catholics are 47%
Cranky Conservatives are 27%
Mad Trads are 19%
Non-Catholic People of Good Will are 6%
Looney Liberals make up just 1%
And there are 0% Spying Anti-Catholic Trolls, which is just as well.
I don't know what this all means. For the sake of Catholic unity, I wish I had more tambourine bangers. However, to quote from the blurb on the back of the Canadian version of my book, Seraphic's "perspective is old-school Catholic..."
Kicking it old school, peeps!