my mom's fears about using concealer
You can compliment her on her looks in the present, to a degree, with no problems. You can say, "You look great in that tunic, Mom" and she'll be like "Do I??" with this tone like she's been WAITING for someone to mention it. But, if the compliment is too big, it taps into that fear, so it'll be like, "You look SO beautiful with that scarf on, really ravishing" and this will have crossed the line past good news, and she'll get serious and say, "I don't want to be too beautiful."
This has gone on for years. But day before yesterday we're talking about my upcoming wedding, and how she's going to do her makeup. Lipstick, foundation, a little blush. No powder. Her skin's too dry. She brings up concealer. Maybe she should use some. I offer forth the idea that maybe liquid concealer is the way to go. And I extol the virtues of concealer for a few seconds, ending with, "It'll make you look ten years younger." And my mom gets that serious look on her face and says, "I don't want to look too--" and I cut her off, "MOM." Like, Mom. It's concealer. You're 70. I think you're safe. She got it, right away. We started laughing and really, really busted a gut.
See, she used to be a real looker when she was young. She was, she was gorgeous. She talks about how she thought that all she really needed to bring to the show was just looking pretty, that that was enough. But something about her beauty has stuck with her, and I love it. You have to love a 70 year old woman who's afraid to wear the wrong concealer for fear that the superegos of every man in the room would self-destruct and she'd find herself at the center of a raping, pillaging festival of id.