Don’t Try to Look Young!


April 29, 2014 by lucieromarin

It is true that women in their thirties or forties do not look like women in their twenties or teens. It is also true that a small percentage of men are only ever attracted to women in their twenties or to – horrible to have to say – girls in their teens. Both of these things are true – the trouble is that, somehow, an entire industry has grown out of them, an industry with the aim of convincing you that those truths are the whole truth, and that, therefore, if you do not look young, you do not look beautiful, and no real man will ever want you.

This is in itself bad enough, because it is a lie. It’s worse if you’re any kind of roadkill, because you’re going to be particularly susceptible to this message. Why? If part of you is mourning lost time or a missed vocation, you’re going to be open to temptations to despair, and that means being vulnerable to messages about Needing to Have that Time Again and Therefore Needing to Look Young. And if your roadkill experience includes being the casualty of one of the abovementioned men, you’re going to be more vulnerable still. (Believe me, there is nothing like being tossed aside by an old guy for a young woman to make you hate what you see in the mirror every day.)

There are two usual responses to these tragedies. One is to give up altogether; that way lies tracksuit pants, unhealthy weight-gain, straggly hair, and slouching. The other is to succumb to the marketing – that way lies spaghetti-straps, unhealthy weight-loss, too much makeup, and far, far, far too much money spent on products that, no matter what they say, will never, ever, make your skin look young.

Both responses do you a disservice. It is much better to bear these thoughts in mind, and to act accordingly:

1) First, most important, is this: fornication is a mortal sin. Therefore, a fornicating and/or cheating man is not a message from the universe that you are old and ugly and need to become more like the object of his lust. The only message from the universe at all is that a) you may need to call the police, and b) if you can’t call the police because he’s waited till she was old enough to be legal, then he may not be a criminal in the eyes of the state, but he is a criminal in the eyes of God. Grooming someone for mortal sin is in itself a mortal sin. Whatever lesson you take from this, don’t let it be a lesson about your appearance, and do not derive your self-esteem from the degree to which you are attractive to this kind of man!

2)The saddest thing about trying to look young is that no one is deceived by it. Everyone around you can tell if you’re wearing too much makeup or age-inappropriate clothing; in a tragic paradox, it makes you look older and more desperate than you would if you’d dressed beautifully for your age and left your skin as nature made it. It inspires contempt from people who don’t know what you’ve suffered, and pity from those who do, but it doesn’t make anyone think you’re young – or, for that matter, happy. So, not only have you wasted your time on a scientific impossibility; you’ve also convinced the people around you that you’re desperate and unhappy, as well as old.

Everyone deserves better than that, man and woman alike. You know what makes wrinkles go away? Happiness makes them go away, because, in happiness, you no longer see them.

3) When you’re healed – or closer to healing – you’ll discover the joy of presenting yourself with self-respect, and you won’t need my pontificating about youth and beauty to feel good about anything. In the meantime, though, here’s a thought for that interim period when you no longer want to waste your time trying to achieve the impossible (i.e looking twenty) but can’t help feeling that twenty-year-olds are your rivals. It is this: stop trying to fight on someone else’s turf. Thank about it; if you’re an alto, and your rival is a soprano, you don’t try to sing soprano; rather, you give the most amazing performance possible in your own range, so that, while no one doubts that the soprano hit higher notes, they can’t help thinking, “But that other singer…well, she sent chills up and down my spine.” The same goes with beauty. The idea that youth is the only kind of beauty is a lie invented by an industry that wants to sell you skincare products and makeup. No!

4) There is something that age can do that youth cannot, and that is class. It is true that youth can be tasteful, which is like the younger sister of class, but real class is the prerogative of age, and that is your turf. Believe me – be outstanding on your own turf, and not will the subsequent self-respect soon help you to see the small percentage of ooky persons for what they are, it will spill over into the ability to appreciate the rest of the world’s men as they deserve.

5) Having said all that – it is possible to artificially age yourself, whether by unhealthy living or general dagginess. If you do want to look ten years younger, forget the rosehip eyelid ointment, and get a decent haircut. I’m neither a scientist nor an artist, so I can’t tell you why it is so; I can only assert that it is so. A good haircut or well-dressed hair (if your hair is long) will do more for you than a tonne of skin-cream.

Furthermore, your skin might reveal your age to the world, but your hair, like your clothing, reveals how much you care – and that includes how much you care about yourself, in the right way as well as the wrong way. (Why should anyone care about you if you yourself don’t care?).

6) Smile. The most attractive couple I ever saw my entire life both had faces like wrinkled apples, hunched shoulders, and feet that shuffled down the street at a pace of about one metre a minute. But they shuffled hand-in-hand, both smiling; both were suffused with an indescribable light, as though they were warming each other with their happiness, and neither youth nor vigour turned their heads.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Try to Look Young!

  1. I agree with you about a good haircut! And that smile….it’s worth a million bucks in skin cream!

  2. Amanda says:

    Hear hear. The western (global?) economy allied with latter-day patriarchy depend heavily on making women of every age feel bad about themselves, and deploys age-specific strategies. Young girls need to diet, be fashionable, coat themselves in foundation and mascara, and definitely consider plastic surgery if they want to be happy. Young women more or less ditto, but they also need to be focusing more specifically on being sexually attractive to the whole of the opposite sex at once (rather than just the one guy that they like). Thirties: start buying anti-aging products, dye grey hair, spend more on clothes, and if you haven’t got a man to have kids with, thou shalt do penance by reading daily articles about fertility and how selfish and career-focused you must certainly be while also being labelled ‘desperate’ and ‘needy’ for wanting to have them, but if you DO have kids, you have to be perfectly groomed, ‘lean in’ to your career while also being a stay-at-home ‘mom’ and remembering that you can’t ‘have it all’. Forties: well, no one is going to pay any attention to you, but you’d better step up the ‘beauty’ spending, and if you didn’t have plastic surgery at 17, make sure you have by the end of the decade. I’m not sure what happens after that. Do they let us get on with being invisible while buying creams to conceal our wrinkles?

    Put in this intentionally comic mode, it all seems so farcical that we ought to be able to ignore it completely… but it’s horrible how it gets into your head, even if you can see through the more overt bits like the plastic surgery.

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