My good friend Susan Lucci, having suffered an awe-inducing number of losses in the Daytime Emmys (okay, so she won once…just enough to keep her contract-renewal negotiations interesting) is multi-talented. Or perhaps she’s greedy. All I know is that, in recent years, she’s resorted to hawking a variety of beauty products to supplement her household’s soap-operatic coffers. Without her line of QVC hair products, I fear her children would never have been able to attend college. But still, despite her healthy cash flow, does she ever call and invite me to Tavern on the Green?

The bitch.

No matter what she’s pushing, though, Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Roy Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery does it with great panache. She may be diminutive, but her passion–along with her big melon–fill the television screen and make viewers want to buy, buy, buy.

Indeed, whatever she’s selling, it is always






So you can imagine my goosebumps some weeks back when I was a privileged late-night viewer of her new infomercial for Youthful Essence, a ground-breaking micro-derm abrasion system, available to me, if I ordered within the next 20 minutes, for a single-installment payment of $39.95.

I sat, rapt, on the futon couch in front of my television. The children slept. My groom slept. But Susan, she is the star that twinkles through the night. If not for her ’round-the-clock efforts, I might never have known that there is layer-upon-layer of dead skin on my face, each deposit of misbegotten skin cells holding me back from greater life achievements. If only I would take the plunge and purchase the emminently-affordable and completely-painless system, my pores…and my soul…could undergo an envigorating sloughing that would open them to a wondrous new world, a brighter future.

In case I had my doubts, Susan also had a roundtable discussion with several of her closest friends (I’m pretty sure she left me a message, asking me to participate, too, but our answering machine went on the blink a few months ago, so I must have missed it). Former All My Children colleagues, themselves devotees of the the miraculous opportunities afforded by home microderm abrasion, were more than happy to sit with La Lucci and attest to the heretofore-unbeheld powers of small crystals (mined by intrepid elves) which, when applied to the face and decolletage no more than twice a week, can restore the skin to adolescent dewiness. I only wondered momentarily, therefore, why–if their skin looks so good–the camera lens for the infomercial had been rubbed with Vaseline, the lighting was gently and purposefully “atmospheric,” and they all had been Botoxed to the point that their foreheads could express no emotion. Could it be…might it have been..that the Youthful Essence didn’t completely change their outer (and therefore inner) selves?

Banish the thought. They all wore their spaghetti-strapped blouses with confidence and held their lacquered faces high. And of course their visible essences of youth were entirely attributable to this astonishing product, brought to them only through their association with the Size Zero bobblehead that is Ms. Lucci.

I was lucky that night, and not just because I stumbled across their enthusiastic testimonials. Nae, I was lucky because I got off without making a frantic phone call to 1-800-ROUGHUPMYSKINSOITLOOKSPERTY and tossing 40 bucks towards a new birkhin for Susan. Because I am fundamentally pragmatic, I took a moment to gaze into the mirror, as I headed towards the telephone, to check my need for exfoliation. Fortunately, doing this helped me remember that all the ice-coating salt that is poured onto the streets during the wintery months has, of late, been airborne in the gusty spring breezes, and so my skin has been sufficiently pelted and invigorated. I don’t look a day over 27 (+ 13).

The phone stayed in its cradle.

However, to imply that Susan’s vigorous endorsement of concerted renewal left me untouched would be misleading. All of Susan’s best work, from the time her character drove a forklift to her acceptance of her soap daughter’s sexual orientation as a lesbian, is inspirational (I work weekends in a warehouse now, moving pallets, and my seven-year-old Girl must grow up and love a woman, for I am spilling over with anticipatory tolerance).

Specifically, the inspiration I took from Youthful Essence was had nothing to do with my skin. Rather, it was this: it is time to peel back the layers of our 95-year-old house and return it to its original glow. To that end, last weekend saw several layers of linoleum lifted off the kitchen floor, a process that put our feet back on the very hardwood boards treaded by the house’s first pre-influenza, pre-World War I inhabitants:

And, in a slightly-more-toxic abrasion (but beauty is so worth the risk), we have started the laborious process of restoring the original woodwork. Check back with us in ten years to see how it has turned out:

So thank you, you Best Actress in a Daytime Drama winner, for reminding me of one of life’s greatest lessons: everything shines a little brighter once those pesky superficial layers are scrubbed into oblivion.

Just don’t tell the writers of your show, okay? Because then they might start aiming for genuine depth, and I just couldn’t bear it if I had to believe your next marriage might endure.






34 responses to “”

  1. Jeannie Avatar

    Yes, I’ll just bet all those wonderful people use the product religiously.

    And I’ll bet you’re thrilled with the hardwood floors = or will be after they are sanded and refinished if you go there. Funny how our grandparents (maybe your great grandparents) couldn’t wait to cover up the wood and we’re all gaga when we see actual real wood instead of mdf

  2. my4kids Avatar

    I totally didn’t know you were going that way at the begining of this post. haha. There were a lot of layers of linoleum the pic shows it well! 95 yr old house, huh. just think of how many have walked those floors

  3. furiousBall Avatar

    You know anytime I see one of these informercials, especially one featuring a dried up celeb, I can’t decide if the sensation is more like going to the bathroom on my brain or like being mentally raped.

    Whatever it is, I’m usually crying in the fetal position at the end asking for it to please stop. Which is the way I like to end most activities, you know like softball, love making, etc.

  4. BeachMama Avatar

    You are so hilarious. What a way to describe La Lucci and all her fluff.

    As for your floors and wood, how awesome. Hubby has always wanted to live in a century old house, it is I who keeps him back. Somedays I do wonder if we would love it as much as he thinks we would.

  5. Shari Avatar

    Here I thought you were going to say something like “beauty is only skin deep” and of course, she can afford plastic surgery. And getting married was like another party-here today, gone tomorrow. No wonder her daughter’s gay.

    Those informercials! Don’t you think these stars make enough money?

    Yes, hardwood floors are a gem. My niece just took out some carpeting and linoliem (sp?) from her house. It’s been shined up and looks great.

  6. frannie Avatar

    those floors are gorgeous! lucky you for finding them under there!

  7. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I am too lazy to peel away either the layers of my dermis or my litte Victorian house – twenty-first century girl, me.


  8. lime Avatar

    i think the only thing that really gets abraded is the wallet.

    oh, and when you finish in ten years, my floors will be about ready to be stripped again…..

  9. WanderingGirl Avatar

    Oh lordy, good luck with that. My folks have made it through 38 years and 5 house renovations (including hardwoods). Deep breathing, ear plugs, and wine help.

  10. Hammer Avatar

    The cosmetic abrasion stuff did a great job on those floors. I would be afraid after seeing that to put it on my face. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Lee Avatar

    That lady does have an enormous melon doesn’t she?

  12. Claire Avatar

    Good luck with all the woodwork! Hope there are no ghosts afoot (or would that be afloat?) in your ancient house ๐Ÿ™‚ Where do you find the time to do all that work?

  13. Emma in Canada Avatar
    Emma in Canada

    How lucky to have a home with history. Mine has none, absolutely zero.

    Judging by Susan Lucci’s daughter’s acting talents on Passions, I am doubting her mother didn’t spring for drama classes, never mind college.

  14. susan Avatar

    What a treasure hiding under there. I don’t envy you the joy of digging for it though…wouldn’t it just be easier to shell out the $40 bucks if you wanted to peel back something????

  15. Logophile Avatar

    I prefer to do my abrading with an electric sander.
    On the House!
    On the HOUSE!
    Geez, that thing will rip your nose clean off.

  16. Theresa Avatar

    Now wouldn’t it be nice to find one of those miracle creams for your house? Scrub, scrub, scrub, and you have a new house. Now, that would be worth $40.

  17. Spider Girl Avatar
    Spider Girl

    Heh, Ms. Lucci gives me flashbacks to when I used to run home at lunch-time from school to my grandma’s house at age thirteen and watch soap operas.

    Dermabrasion…my skin votes no. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is also against anything that plucks little hairs out painfully.

  18. Tracey Avatar

    Ah, Jocelyn, thank you so much for the smile today! I may just have to hire you to write my next advertising campaign. First I’ll have to develop the product, though, which is always the hard part.

    I’ll be sitting here the next ten years axiously awaiting your homesteading facelift!

  19. Lainey-Paney Avatar

    Who knew she could be so inspiring???

    …and I cannot believe that you were able to recite every one of her last names!

  20. CS Avatar

    I for one am glad to see Susan Lucci is finally a positive influence on someone!

  21. Mother of Invention Avatar
    Mother of Invention

    Well, I must be practically dead with all the sadly departed skin cells I have on my whole body, having never lufaed any body parts!

    Been there and done that with our kitchen floor…layers upon layers down to the 1921 original narrow maple…was worth it!

    With an old house, there is always a list on the fridge of what you have to do! But they have character!

  22. Dorky Dad Avatar
    Dorky Dad

    So, I take it you have problems with insomnia?

    I am jealous of your floor. Since our house only dates back to the 1970’s, peeling back our ugly carpet just reveals ugly plywood subfloor. Boo.

  23. yerdoingitwrong Avatar

    Wine will definitely help!

    Your posts rule, girl!!

  24. choochoo Avatar

    I’m multitalented and greedy as hell. When am I gonna get rich?

  25. lushgurl Avatar

    HAHAHAHA…Gawd I love visiting you!
    You are so lucky to have an old home, yeah I know, it’s a lot of work, but a diamond in the rough!

    Gotta go, I bought this fantastic new product last night on t.v. …

  26. Jill Avatar

    Jeez, why is every new skin care system “revolutionary”? I swear there’s a revolution every ten minutes and I just can’t keep up. Maybe one day the new revolutionary system will be to do nothing. Then I’ll be revolutionary. I can’t wait.

  27. urban-urchin Avatar

    my comment has vanished in the blogger bog (or perhaps I am just inept, hmm.) what i said wuz-your floors are gorgeous under the lino. Adding that I loved the pre-influenza reference.

    Susan Lucci is about 4 ft. tall, with an enormous head. She’s kinda like a balloon, huh?

  28. Top cat Avatar
    Top cat

    You are a brave and courageous woman jocelyn to resist the temptation of ms lucci’s doe eyed infomercial.
    I myself would not be able to, especially when spaghetti strapped blouses worn by 45 year old women with soft filter camera lenses are involved.
    But then I remember you live in Minnesota, your skin has been frozen my months of subzero temperatures so once the temperature goes over 50, dead skin cells fall quite naturally.
    It’s kinda like polar bears when their fur molts.

    I don’t envy the work you have ahead of you after looking at the paint on the window but it will look awesome when you’re done….in 2010.
    Who in the hell would cover up that beautiful hardwood floor with…..gasp linoleum?

    I have to go, there’s a commercial for the treadmill, ab builder, bicep stretcher, male enhancer workout machine.
    I’m gonna be a hunk in just 60 days just like the As Seen On Tv guys.:)

  29. jen Avatar

    who’s susan lucci? oh, kidding.

    but wouldn’t it be terrific if we really didn’t know who she was? now that is living.

  30. Diesel Avatar

    Isn’t she like a hundred now? They must shoot her through a damp sock these days.

  31. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I love this post!! The way you segue’d from dermabrasion to home abrasion is brilliant.

    We renovated a house for seven years, floors, walls, electrical, plumbing, and did everything but the new roof ourselves. It was beautiful, and then we sold it.

    I still miss my brand new Craftsman 28HP tractor. So whatever you do, don’t throw in your tractor for whoever buys your house, ok?

  32. Stepping Over the Junk Avatar
    Stepping Over the Junk

    how old is she now? 85?

    Ah hardwood floors. I have them. Fortunately my place was renovated when I moved in (old house, newly done stuff) and all I have to do is vaccuum and mop them!

  33. Wizened Wizard Avatar
    Wizened Wizard

    Well, that was a wonderful read, and I was delighted when I reached “the point” of it!

    The hardwood floor will be beautiful (again). I don’t envy you the woodwork stripping, though. Have you tried a heat gun?

    Now I must go do my daily facial… hahahahahaha… (Let’s see… sweat + dirt = mud mask…)

  34. Anne Avatar

    Size Zero bobblehead
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You’re too much! ๐Ÿ™‚

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