In the end, there’s no fighting it. I’m not as young as I look and I’m older than I feel, but I ain’t no Dorian Gray. It’s all wrinkling, sagging, deflating, shadowing, and just generally deteriorating.
As Bill Engvall likes to state so annoyingly, here’s your sign, or signs in my case:
1. Shadows under the eyes. They are pronounced. Also, less than 7 hours of sleep and it’s marshmallow face.
2. The nose, which was only petite from about age zero until eleven, seems bigger probably because it IS BIGGER. It’s actually a fact that people’s nose size increases with age.
3. Le Sag. Gravity is inevitable. It’s all still looking fairly decent, but it’s not as high and tight as it used to be.
4. The weight. It’s slightly harder to keep the weight off with every passing year.
Mind you, all insecurities aside, I am happier, saner, and healthier than I was in my twenties (don’t you fret, I have enough leftover anger from that era to write until I’m a hundred and fifty). If you enjoyed being a free-wheeling teenager/twenty-something with zero responsibility while you partied your little ass off, good for you. I was never you. High school was awful and my experiences there nearly made me lose faith in the entire human race. Had I been raised in a worse home environment I would have become a serial killer 25 years pre-Dexter. I hated parties and the drunk and high people that populated them. College was a place I commuted to and thought would never end because it was HELL. Getting my degree was like being freed from a Siberian gulag.
When I was better looking, my life was not better. Maybe that’s why I don’t cling to my younger, better-looking self. Every good-looking person (street translation: former hottie) goes through a weird crisis. She has to admit the fact that she is not as attractive as she used to be and that she will never be as attractive as she is now. Perhaps she was not even as attractive as she assumed herself to be–that’s the one that really hurts.
Nevertheless, one simply has to let go of being physically attractive at some point–no matter how valued you once were for your beauty it will inevitably fade and you will have to find something else in life to do. It’s amazing the lengths that certain people (usually celebrities) will go to in order NOT to let go of their youthful attractiveness. This is all tied up in the way we see ourselves sexually, more on that mess of yarn later, but back to the subject at hand. The aging celebrity sees two roads before her at age thirty-five: keep going and look twenty-eight for as long as possible or just let it happen like Lauren Bacall or Betty White. Courtney Love and J.Lo look pretty good, but give them about twenty years and observe what happens.
Tick, tock. By the time the surgery-afficionado is sixty, she doesn’t end up looking younger at all, but instead looks ghoulish, as if she were wearing the skin-mask harvested from the blood-drained corpse of a twin brother or sister. Human taxidermy is not the look I’d like to sport at age sixty-five, provided I make it that far. Even if plastic surgery did what it was supposed to and didn’t turn you into a undead-Madame cheek-implanted wax figure-looking freak, if you’re the only person getting carded at the bar at your AARP meeting, you might feel a tad out of place.
At some point, no matter how gorgeous you thought you were, it is time to let go and let someone else carry the burden of being beautiful. The only alternative is the road to Madameville.