In which I whistle while I smirk



I discovered a horrifying thing the other day. I was watching 10 Years Younger on Really, which the quippier among you will probably point out is a horrifying thing in itself, and the eerily smooth plastic surgeon was talking about wrinkles.

Now, normally these segments are relatively low-anxiety viewing for me. I don’t smoke; I don’t use sunbeds; I slather factor 50 on my face all summer like butter on a freckle-prone crumpet. I’ll admit it, I even felt a little ripple of smugness as the surgeon told the makeover victim that years of dragging on cigarettes had given her deep-set lines around her lips that even terrifying lasers couldn’t fix.

But then, THEN, the awful bit came. “Smoking or frequent whistling can create these lines,” said the voiceover. Sorry, what the what? Frequent whistling? WHISTLING? The clean-living cheery person’s indulgence of choice? WHISTLING will make me wrinkly? WHISTLING?

I am nothing if not a frequent whistler. Being devoid of all genuine musical talent, whistling is my only outlet – so it’s just as well that I am terrific at it. Not to show off or anything, but I can whistle whilst inhaling and exhaling, meaning that (with an IV drip to keep me going) I could technically whistle forever. I have a whole whistling playlist on Spotify. I’ve considered starting a whistling band.

So now I have a choice – either I keep on doing something I love and accept that in 20 years I will have a mouth that looks permanently like an origami cat’s bum, or I wean myself off whistling and live a quieter, less jolly, less creased life. Apart from the hope that repeating the word often enough in a column might somehow win me a free skiing trip to Whistler, there’s not much consolation either way in this scenario.

Having arrived on the steeper side of 25, I’ve been amazed by how quickly anti-aging has become something I’m supposed to care about. No sooner had I blown out my birthday candles (which was probably pretty aging, now I come to think about it) than I started noticing the fine lines under my eyes, and the aisles full of goo promising to get rid of them.

Then it’s a continual inner battle between my moral compass, which says “age gracefully! Pay no heed to our youth-obsessed society and its shallow conceptions of beauty. Besides, you’re 25 – don’t be annoying and ridiculous”, and the part of me with eyes and a mirror, who wants to throw £20 at Boots every month in the hope it’ll keep me peachy-skinned forever.

Besides, if I wait until I’m 40 to use wrinkle cream, like a normal person, will I wish I’d started at 25? The whole business is depressing. I’d put on a sad song like Mr Bojangles to help ease me through the pain, except it has ruddy whistling in it.