What the Neck?

What the Neck?!

Acknowledging the turkey neck doesn’t necessarily mean we have to accept it.   

By Andrea Goto

In my mid-20s, I bought my mom the book “I Feel Bad About my Neck”—a collection of essays about growing older as a woman by the late (and great) Nora Ephron.

I didn’t yet feel bad about my neck. In fact, at the height of collagen production, I didn’t even think about it, beyond what necklace I wanted to adorn it with. But I knew Mom did. Sometimes she’d stand before the mirror, grabbing the flesh of her nape with one hand, pulling the skin at the front taught. Other times she’d lift her chin high into the air, making her look somewhat reptilian. Then she’d sigh in resignation as she let nature settle her skin back into its gravity-laden place, accompanied by a shrill “gobble-gobble!”

Mom felt bad about her neck.

And I’m sure when I gave her the book, Mom felt even worse. She probably even muttered Just you wait, under her breath. Not out of spite, but out of truth and wisdom. Because she knew then what I couldn’t yet know.

At 40, I’m starting to notice my neck, too—and I ain’t feeling so good about what I’m seeing. There are suddenly ring-like wrinkles not unlike those that indicate a tree’s age and ropey chords running along each side of my throat. Once I thought I spied an Adam’s apple and Google’d it to make certain its presence was physiologically impossible. Alas, it’s not. Awesome.

It’s easy to think that aging is no big deal when you’re not even old enough to sprout a legitimate mole-mounted chin hair. I’m embarrassed to admit that once as my mother was lamenting about her post-40 folds and flaps, I said, “Stop worrying about it. It’s not as if anyone is looking.”

Yeah, sorry about that Mom. Like, really, really sorry.

I said it in the spirit of “just embrace who you are,” which was an easy position for someone without a single liver spot. But the thing is, the fold-y neck was never who my mom was. It was who she was becoming. And while she appreciated the inner wisdom that accompanied it, she did not appreciate how it changed her exterior, belying the spirited woman she’d always been.  

This past summer while I was visiting my mom, I pulled the Ephron book from the shelf and leafed through it and I saw myself in the pages. I saw my sudden struggle with growing older. I saw my neck.

Ephron is one of the few women writers to examine the very personal and oftentimes painful struggle of aging head-on with wit, wisdom, honesty and courage. It’s a refreshing conversation and one we should have more often with our mothers, our friends—and yes—our daughters.


Have questions about getting rid of unwanted neck flap? Request a consultation with Dr. Minton.