I won’t speculate why my facebook page is showing me so many ads for cosmetic neck creams except to point out that there is a camera on my laptop, and who knows where it goes at night? One of the ads promises to give you a “neck that turns heads.” It’s called Système 41. The Système makes it Frenchy, and the 41 makes it sciencey.

You’d think turning a head would be the bare minimum we should expect out of a neck, but there’s no guarantee of it, and I know that first-hand. The family still remembers that camping trip during which my sister had to extract me from my own sleeping bag like string cheese from a wrapper because my neck had completely locked up. That was the most acute episode of the story, but the problem persisted for a number of years that can be measured in chiropractic bills. I did finally fix my neck, but not in a way anyone else would notice.
This particular ad was for a product that could make my neck lovely enough to attract favorable attention. My head would float like a wine goblet on a delicate stem, and heads would, presumably, turn.
Heck, they turn anyway. My neck is an anatomical wonder. My head bobs around on it like a cherry on a bowl of tapioca. Over time, it has developed interesting topographical features including crevasses and pillow lava and, dead center in the throat region, an awesome sinkhole. Under magnification, face mites can be seen fleeing its vortex. (This is visible with the naked eye during a Zoom meeting.)
All of this was easily predicted. Whatever my finer physical attributes may have been, my neck was never among them. It’s as if God wanted me to have a tiny but dense head and gave me a handy cushion to rest it on. At this stage my neck is merely fulfilling its destiny.
The particular cream that promises to turn heads is made, it says here, of four different manufactured peptides, or protein fragments, plus a bonus ingredient made of stem cells from a grape. They excitedly note it costs far less than $150 neck creams, but, I contend, it costs a whole lot more than a homemade protein patch of Spam stem cells derived from the goo layer at the bottom of the can.
There really is something to be said for plant stem cells in cosmetics. Plant stem cells are good at regeneration; if you cut a stem, you’ll get new buds. Liberally applied to the neck, they might produce a crop of energetic skin tags waving like sea anemone fingers at low tide. Stem cells in general are capable of turning into almost any kind of cell. Grape stem cells do not have to worry about turning into livers or hearts or urinary tracts but can concentrate on becoming miles and miles of grapevine. I hesitate to apply grape stem cells to my neck in case I fall asleep in my recliner and my neck puddles up, crawls over the chair, and vaults onto the computer desk.
Human stem cells would probably work even better, but the industry has focused on plant cell technology because an economically significant percentage of consumers balk at using embryo bits, even for such a desirable result as turkey-neck improvement, although market studies show that resistance is largely overcome if we throw in the possibility of thicker, more luxuriant hair.
In any case, the development of an effective neck cream is a laudable use of resources now that we’ve got world hunger, disease, and environmental degradation under control. As for me, I have my own beauty regime for my neck. I discovered it last year.