I was 11 years old when I learnt the true meaning of ‘moley’. In my world – a world of innocence, mint chocolate chip ice cream and Blue Peter – the only proper use for the word moley was to describe the mole-infested golf course near our house. These weren’t moles; they were sunkisses; beauty spots; freckles handed down from grandmother to father, father to daughter. They were the marks of Scottish heritage. “Ewwwww, those aren’t freckles!” squealed Katie Dinger. “Those are MOLES. You’re moooleeey.”
I’ve come a long way since then; since blushing beetroot and muttering something about sunshine bringing them, and them disappearing in winter (newsflash: they don’t.) I’ve learnt to love them, rather than pick at them, embrace them rather than hate them. But it takes a mole to know a mole, be it spy, skin pigment or woodland creature – and if that’s you, you’ll know the following things.
They don’t come from the sunshine
And they don’t disappear in winter. They aren’t birds, or freckles: they’re small patches on the skin that form due to cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment, growing together rather than individually.
But they do get darker in the sunshine
Depending on how you see them – it enhances their beauty (or not).
Foundation is not the way forward
Ditto concealer, blusher, bleach (it’s been done before) and digging it out with your nails. The first are harmless folly; the latter downright dangerous, and risk turning an innocent mole into something far worse.
Playing join-the-mole is way, way more fun than it should be
And it will continue to be well into adulthood. I’ve heard people express genuine envy at my having such an easy and accessible form of entertainment in hand during maths lessons, lectures and boring meetings. One pen (non-permanent, please. Biro works well) and a pair of bare legs and distraction is yours.
Suncream is life
No babes, it really is. At the risk of sucking the joy from the screen, the NHS warns us that UV light from the sun can increase the chance of a mole becoming cancerous – so if you have lots of moles, you need to be extra careful. Slap on the SPF (15 at least, higher if you can) and keep those little moles covered up where possible.
They’re kind of comical
Their shape, their size, their positioning: there’s a reason one of the memorable scenes in comic classic Austin Powers is borne of a mole joke. My cousin has one that looks like a bear on her bum. Enough said.
They grow on you
On your skin, yes – but also on your affections. Though it might not seem so now, with each time you laugh, cry, pick at, draw on or cover up the little buggers, you’ll like them just a little more – until one day, you’ll find yourself so damn proud of these patches of skin, your skin, that make you, you – you’ll be writing about them for betty. Case Closed.
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Image: Katie Edmunds