Pimples, Pauly and Pippi! / by Dana Bergstrom

Perimenopause has offered an unexpected surprise in midlife:

Pimples! Hooray!

I somehow escaped the horrors of adolescent acne but thanks to the latest and greatest hormonal changes, I’ve got it in full force now.

My superpower-like ability to grow zits produces specimens that are nothing less than monumental. They’re not only impressive in height, but the depth, width and even their length of stay on my chin and nose feel like they could be record breakers. Who knew that being a middle aged female would be so interesting facially?!

Occasionally I’ll get a few at once but the usual routine is to grow one giant blemish at a time.

Pauly loves to address my monstrous pimple with a cutesy name instead of speaking to me. He'll say, “Good Morning, Pimpie. How did you sleep?” or “Hey, Pimpie! Are you having a good day?”

I respond for Pimpie the Pimple, telling him what it thinks about this or that. I often like to tell him what it’s hungry for since my carbuncle and I absolutely LOVE it when he cooks for us!

One day I was listening to my Inner Bully and feeling all kinds of bad, ugly and depressed about my latest facial protrusion. It was brand spankin' new and nobody had spoken cheerfully to this one yet.

Then I noticed Pauly's furrowed brow, he was peering through squinty eyes, staring directly at my chin.

"Are you looking at my pimple?" I asked feeling irritated and self-conscious.

"Well, it's not like it isn't looking at me!" he said defensively while quickly averting his eyes.

I laughed and released my angst. Of course! The pimple was totally looking at him. How could he not return the gaze?

Another acne-ridden morning I was marching around, hyper-vigilant about accomplishing a big house project. I wanted Pauly's help to finish it and was loudly insisting that he cooperate with me. 

"The windows have to be scraped and painted this year. We ignored them last year and we need them all done before winter!" I continued on and on, obsessing and hollering about the windows for quite while before Pauly suddenly stopped making his coffee and shouted,


I laughed so hard, I nearly threw green tea all over the living room. We spent the next 20 minutes doubled over and snorting. I declared that this was his best insult comic joke yet and completely forgot all about the windows.

Moral of the story: No matter what strange and unsightly things it does that ruffles our egos, the human body is a total wonder. And simply enjoying it is so much more fun than being embarrassed by it.

Sometimes when I'm jammed up about things, I even ask myself, "What would Pippi Longstocking do?" Works every time.

My pimple and I having fun on the ferry ride to Madeline Island!

My pimple and I having fun on the ferry ride to Madeline Island!