In a perfect world, *sentence construction *would matter more.

And the latest beauty formula would rely upon *metaphor* maybe, instead of math and made-up words like* "plantscription." *Please. Who is getting paid to write this stuff?

But of course, that is not the world we live in.

So when the people at Origins fill my inbox with promises to make me look "4x younger in just 4 weeks," my vanity-encrusted heart wants to believe, but the part of me that struggles with middle school algebra says wait, what?

Because to me, the math looks like this: 4x less than 48 = 12. But that would be ridiculous. Also, I never got past algebra 2, so I am clearly *not qualified *to make $55 beauty decisions.

This is where having a math geek on your advisory board can be useful.

*"Don't you already look 12?" *she says, in a crack that is clearly aimed at the fact that I am wearing my 13-year-old daughter's hand-me-down Aeropostale t-shirt.

She wore it for *about a week *before Hollister became the only acceptable t-shirt for seventh graders in the Greater Chicago Area. The fact that I am now wearing it ought to confer on me a little *Econ 101 *cred, at the very least.

But that is not the point. The point is, what will $55 worth of *plantscription* get me? The answer is, apparently, *a raging crush on David Cassidy and a horse obsession*.

Here's why, according to the Suburban Executive, who was so lacking in imagination at the age of 18 that she thought college would be a good place to study economics and math:

*"Here's how I'd do it," she says, by which she means, "it is obvious to anyone who can balance a checkbook."*

*"First you need to know your age-to-appearance ratio, or the AG/AP. If the AG/AP = 1, you're doing just OK. You actually look your age, which we all know means failure, but at least you're not looking like granny yet. Anything less than 1 obviously is a complete failure. Botox needed immediately.*

*So an AG/AP of, say, 1.3 is great because you are 45 but look 35. I'd put myself in this category.*

*Here's the tricky part: You don't want to let the AG/AP get too high, because that means you're just trying too hard. The calculus level class on this throws in a wave function that adjusts this ratio for plastic surgery -- this would take into account the fact that some women, say, the real housewives of Miami types, have had so much plastic surgery that it makes them look younger but in a way that everyone really knows they're old.*

*But I'm not going to go there with you, because (and here she insults my ability to solve algebraic equations that do not involve wine servings).*

*Once you have your AG/AP ratio calculated, you complete this equation:*

*|(ratio - 1)| /4 -- that's how much younger this product will make you look.*

*If you are, say, 48, but look 40, your AG/AP is 1.2 So you look 20 percent younger. This stuff is going to make you look 80 percent younger; 80 percent of 48 is 38.4, but hey, let's round off. So you will look 38 years younger, which is 10."*

All of which I am willing to accept except for the part where she assigns herself an AG/AP of 1.3 and gives me a 1.2 How is that even fair? I am the one sitting here in the Aeropostale t-shirt.

But we both know that her breezy reference to *throwing in a wave function blah blah whatever *leaves me badly positioned to argue.

This is a little like Schrödinger's equation of quantum mechanics, in that it makes *no sense whatsoever *- least of all to the cat - but you can't question the premise without at least one year of calculus.

And that is one year you will never get back.

*More from the beauty archives:* The Underachiever's Guide to Beauty, Motherhood is the new black

And I would like to point out that the difference between looking 12 and looking 10 is HUNORMOUS when you are actually those ages and nearly NOTHING when you started at 48 and are trying to figure out how much younger this face cream will make you look. All of which means that your calculation, using a simple bottle of wine (and maybe basic algebra) was just as accurate as her more complex curvature of the earth one. There. Doesn't that make you feel better? Also, aren't you glad you no longer have to be a pre-teen? For reasons not only limited to having to go through algebra again. I thought so.

Posted by: MommyTime | March 13, 2011 at 05:59 PM

It makes perfect sense to me. Either way, I'm up $55. More if you count all the money I would have blown on Partridge Family albums.

SK

Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | March 13, 2011 at 07:22 PM

Okay, your nostrils are tidy, but your earlobes are perfect.The answer to the equation on your face is 6. Only 6 more bottles of wine from the Côtes du Rhône region and now - time warp, you're French. How does that feel? Mathematically, I bet you never thought the probabilities would be such that you'd be French.

Quantum, I'd say.

Posted by: Audubon Ron | March 13, 2011 at 08:30 PM

...48 and French makes you almost as sexy as Nancy Pelosi. Nancy makes my Yoda all festivy. Srsly.

Posted by: Audubon Ron | March 13, 2011 at 08:35 PM

Merci,

SK

Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | March 14, 2011 at 06:59 AM

I think the fundamental flaw is that you were not supposed to think about it, but click on and then buy it. So what if they said the number four twice - that's, like, rhyming or something. (Like, totally.) And besides, thinking causes forehead wrinkles. :)

Posted by: Kana | March 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Now you tell me.

SK

Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | March 14, 2011 at 07:57 PM