Letting go of your Looks, happily

I’m in my early 40s and have done my bit – mated, bred and reproduced. It’s time to relax, not so much that I scare small children, but a gray hair or two, a stomach that’s not flat, a butt that’s pretty comfy to sit on – I can live happily with that. I’d like to enjoy food and wine, read instead of run, and squint into the sun now and again.

I had lunch with a girlfriend yesterday and we were joined by another women in her mid to late 40s. Attractive, friendly, a veneer of confidence about her. She’s single, hadn’t had kids and was saving for a tummy tuck. Everything about her looked good but no one in their mid 40s is going to look 20 again. And why should we want to? Time to pass on that mantle of insecurity, excitement and abundant oestrogen to a new generation.

When my mom and her friends were 40 it simply never occurred the them to compete with 20 year olds. They just moved into middle-age and got on with raising kids, working or not, gardening and pottery. Looking for men was something they tried to control in their teenage daughters.

Now, middle-age is an impolite descriptive term, we are supposed to fight the natural process of aging with any means necessary, even risky elective surgery. The thing about the tummy tuck luncher is that she’s no wealthy Hollywood babe or trophy wife. She works hard for a living and money is not abundant. Putting money into property or a share portfolio would make for a more contented old age than (temporarily) having a flat stomach.

And if a man is what she wants, what’s the bet he would be happier with a good cook, a good eater, someone who can belly laugh without worrying about stitches.


4 Responses to “Letting go of your Looks, happily”

  1. 1 shoreacres June 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    This one left me with more questions than answers. When does old age begin? Should I stop visiting cemetery plots and start looking for one to buy? Is there a difference between confidence and a veneer of confidence? (There’s a big difference between solid wood and veneer. When veneer gets damaged, the only solution is to replace it. Damaged solid wood can be brought back to life, to glowing warmth.)

    I just went over and took a look at my most current photo, posted on Headin’ Down to the Crossroads. Not bad for an old broad. I think maybe 62’s the new 40!

    This post bothered me after I wrote it and I thought of taking it down. It’s judgemental, who am I to say a tummy tuck is a less valid way to spend money than buying shares?
    As for the veneer, no mistake there, I didn’t buy the confidence, there was an underlying anxiety. We did argue the tummy tuck issue and she said, ‘it’s ok for you, you have the husband and the kids. I still want to find someone to love.’
    Bottom line, I don’t think we need to act old and decrepit (keep looking at graveyards, no shopping!), buy cool clothes and moisturiser – but surgery, botox. . . . maybe not.

  2. 2 shoreacres June 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I didn’t read it as judgemental at all. It’s just part of life these days. And maybe I need to be better at adding little smilies 😉 When you get right down to it, my response was just another way of saying, “Gosh, I’m glad I don’t worry about those things!”

  3. 3 Lisa June 5, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Last year’s Coen brothers film, Burn After Reading, featured a protagonist (played by Francis McDormand; I forget the character’s name) whose primary motivation throughout the film was to raise money for her cheek/eye/chin lift, liposuction and tummy tuck. The character had plenty of charm and charisma, but she was also horrendously, comically stupid and misguided. Part of the comedy – but also the pathos – of the film is the obvious fact (to the audience, anyway)that no amount of zipping, snipping, sucking, nipping or tucking is going to make an iota of difference to anything about her life. She’s constructed an aspiration based on imagined notions about what she should or could look like. If anything, acting to attain it diminishes her rather than augmenting her in any meaningful way.

    Yip, Lisa. A few weeks ago the tabloids were full of pics of Julia Robert on the beach with her kids in a bikini. The outrage? Her stomach was a bit flabby. This after giving birth to three kids in the last few years, two of them twins. The concensus seemed to be that because she had the money, she had a duty to remove the ‘offending’ bits from the public eye using surgery. In this story from The Sun it’s interesting to note that the piece in favour of her great looks is by a man, and the one critical is by a woman. My experience too – overall women are far more critical of their bodies, and other women’s bodies, than men are. Men are far more forgiving of themselves too!

  4. 4 oh June 6, 2009 at 4:51 am

    great last line: laugh without worrying about stitches.

    I wonder if some of us are comfortable with who we are because we are surrounded by positive people, had strong mothers who raised us, or, just “aren’t that into it” in terms of lifting, tucking, worrying, etc. Aging means getting wiser, not getting smoother…hey, if you can do both, great. I guess.

    Smoother would be good, oh, but I think the upkeep is too much for me. Like an old car, you fix one thing and it just draws attention to something else that needs work!

    I’m going to go with Catherine Deneuve’s tip – “When you get older, you have to be ready to trade your ass for your face.” She reckons that being thinner makes women over 40 look older. I’m all for that – the pizza and glass of wine for Saturday lunch is really for anti-ageing purposes.

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