Monday, January 10, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors aka Aging Gracefully

“Women are most fascinating between the ages of 35 and 40 after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass 40, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.” Christian Dior

Lately I have been acutely aware of the unpleasant effects that go along with the natural aging process. I often feel like the face looking back in the mirror at me can't possibly be mine- I was supposed to be forever 30, right? Now at 40, I fear becoming a Blanche Dubios perpetually consumed with the effects of the lighting on her appearance...or worse yet, a Norma Desmond with little frownies pasted all over her face.

I was watching an old AMC documentary on the old-hollywood makeup dynasty, the Westmores, and they actually showed one of the sons giving a woman a facelift with tape and string through her hair. Yikes! Makes you wonder how the stars made due with the presurgical methods they had. Now everyone in Hollywood goes under the knife. Back then, the Westmores created and knew all the stars secrets for their ageless appearance and signature looks. Its was all smoke and mirrors and it seems to have been so through the ages.

So why should I feel so badly about my own aging since women have gone through this struggle since the dawn of time (or was it just since the dawn of the modern beauty industry as people typically used to die before 40?) Maybe its a loss of control, a recognition of your own mortality- you are not indestructable. I think part of the dilemma is deciding HOW do I want to handle this?

Do I want to fight it tooth and nail? I'm not sure I could handle someone injection botulinum toxin into my wrinkles, so I guess I'm gonna have to face this stoically yet gracefully. So that means investing in stock in Olay's Regenerist cream. But what about the hair, makeup and clothing? At some point will I look odd going about town in vintage? At what point are you too old to be funky? God help me if I end up like The Bravo housewives. They have cured me of the dillusion that you can pull off looking 30 at 50. So if we skip that approach, I guess that leaves us with the "personal style" method of aging gracefully.

Yes, I said Personal Style. My mother oozes it and she is well known by sight at our church. She is the only one in her choir of middle aged to elderly that can boast having fuschia hair. She wears whatever she damn well pleases including her studded black leather boots. She dutifully brings me about 5 fashion magazines a week to help me stay on top of the trends for my business. At the same time she can identify the manufacture year of just about any piece that comes through my shop. She can also singlehandedly whip up the most fabulous 5 minute bouffant ponytail on my long haired model. "I wore it this way for years, " she'll say with the rat comb in her teeth. I hope I'm half as cool as my mom when I'm her age (she just turned 70 last month.) I'd much rather look like her than wear the boring taupe Eileen Fisher knit sets that seem to creep into your closet after 40. Somehow I dont think they would go with all my ink.

After considering my limited options, I guess I will follow in the footsteps of my mom and all the other great beauties who did their best with smoke and mirrors and slathered on the night cream.... cheers to you all, ladies. At least I'm in good company!


  1. Girl, I totally feel you.I turned 30 today and was up at 1 am thinking about growing older, getting married and having crows feet. When i finally drug myself off the couch and into the bathroom to create a miracle, I too realized"F*ck it." Im gonna grow old, Im gonna get wrinkles Im gonna die.But before I die?Im gonna have as much damn fun as I want and really EARN those wrinkles! Never fear, you will never be Norma.She was bat shiz crazy girl.You are a wonderfully intelligent, lovely, 40 year old biddy and I cant WAIT to see how you progress in your later years.Im positive you will age as you want.With grace, dignity,and a FANTASTIC wardrobe.