When I was a little kid I honestly thought they were yelling the beauty product brand name, “Olay!” during bullfights. I really had no idea why they would yell an anti-aging cream brand name at a charging bull, but oddly enough, I was completely okay with their choice. My young brain rationalized, “Maybe it’s because after fighting a bull you get a lot of wrinkles from worrying that participating in an activity this stupid…um, ‘dangerous’ will get you killed. I know I would get a lot of wrinkles, and I’m only 4.” (Yes, yes, later I realized it was “Ole!” and that it was Spanish, but Sesame Street hadn’t taught me that word yet, okay?!)
I can hear the question forming on your lips, “Why was ‘Olay’ on the tip of my tongue as a 4-year-old?” I will tell you: I was very ugly as a child. No, I kid! It’s because my grandmother used it exclusively. The classic bottle (I believe it was glass back in the 70’s if memory serves?) sat on her ornate mirrored tray on her bureau. In short: the bottle was GORGEOUS and the blush pink cream inside even more so. Also I I loved the ritual my grandmother had with it every morning and evening. (And PS – my grandmother was BEAUTIFUL. Me, I am more awkward and gawky and still waiting to grow out of that stage even though I’m 30-mumble-years-old. But I digress…)
When I started to use skin creams I went right for Olay. Other brands didn’t exist to me. I was so excited to be like my grandmother! I read the instructions and scoffed: “A dime size amount?! I need a huge, heaping dollop or else I’ll pout!” (I like to rhyme.) So instead of following the directions, I applied it willy-nilly like was cold cream. It took a few times before I realized, “This is going to cost a lot of money if I keep this up, and then I won’t be able to afford anything, not even a cup.” (I never said my rhymes were good.)
To say that I currently own just a few of Olay’s products is quite frankly a gross understatement. It’s like saying Angelina Jolie kinda has a soft spot for kids, or that lima beans are only mildly gross. True story: I have 3948345039 bottles and jars of Olay. Give or take.
When my grandmother passed away two years ago at the wonderfully old age of 89, I asked for a few of her belongings. Two of those items, her mirrored tray and her current bottle of Olay. The bottle is plastic but still in the classic Olay shape of the 70’s as I remember it. They both sit elegantly in my apartment and both make me smile (without causing smile lines).
I like that I will always have this bond with my grandmother even though she isn’t here anymore. It may sound ridiculous, but I feel like she helped teach me how to take care of myself as I got older without needing to say one word. I hope that I’m as beautiful as my grandmother was. And I hope that I can pass my love of Olay onto someone important in my life as I don’t have any kids, just dogs and man oh man, Olay and dog hair together is a hot mess. Just take my word for it…
By Jennifer Eolin