Because I write romance novels with grown up characters over 40, today’s phobia holds a special place of bullshit in my heart. I’m not saying this phobia isn’t real and there aren’t people out there who genuinely suffer with this phobia. I’m saying it’s…well, bullshit, 98% manufactured bullshit. Rhytiphobia, Kids, it’s a cash cow. It’s the fear that keeps cosmetic companies in the money, and shames (mostly) women into being conned. It’s the fear that’s responsible for frozen faces. It’s the notion that says are men ‘distinguished,’ while for women it’s is a double-edged fear that screams how they are suddenly ugly and devalued because they’ve aged. It is the fear that says it’s fine for men, elephants, and Sharpeis, but a woman shouldn’t have the gall to have…wrinkles because wrinkles aren’t natural while a face injected full of Botox & Restylane is. In case you missed that, Rhytiphobia is the fear of wrinkles. The female leads in my rom coms A Basic Renovation, For Your Eyes Only and the upcoming Driving in Neutral, are aware of the bullshit associated with being a female who’s getting older, but I wanted to present them without the con. Yes, romance novels often have a certain ‘better than’ fantasy (or escapist if you prefer) presentation of the female lead– a better temper, a better friend, a better girlfriend. Yes, my heroines, Lesley, Willa, and Olivia look after themselves, keep fit, and maintain what they’ve got as best they can, but they don’t buy into the ‘ageing is something to fear’ con. To be honest, I’m rather frightened by Rhytiphobia. I don’t mean I’m Rhytiphobic. I mean I find that this bullshit fear is “brought to you by” multinational corporations that feed on the fear of getting wrinkles. It’s fear mongering and THAT is what scares the hell out of me. Listen, if you want to ‘freshen up’ your face because it makes you feel better and you prefer to look a certain way, by all means have at it and more power to you! I’ve considered it because, well, I think my deepening frown lines will one day make me look perpetually grumpy. So go on and do that little refresh. But don’t do it because you’ve been scared into thinking, to spin a well-known cosmetic company’s tag line, “I’m, worthless.” I don’t believe you’re worthless–and I write stories to dispel that myth and the bullshit of wrinkles.