Aging is not an illness. Although the cosmetics industry would certainly have you believe otherwise. They want you to believe that it’s a disease, an affliction that needs to be combated—warred against. There’s an advertisement in bold black lettering that appears regularly in my local paper that asks, “Why Age?”
Now, I’m a mellow woman, moreso now than years ago, specifically because of age, and I don’t hate easily or often, but I absolutely hate this advisement. I’m offended by it. There is no antidote to aging. It’s a natural process. Everyone does it every day. The alternative is death.
What they’re trying to do is have you spend hundreds of dollars, continually, to keep your face young looking. Statistics show that 9.2 million cosmetic procedures were done in 2011 with injections of Botox® and Dysport® being the most popular nonsurgical procedures. This number is growing, especially among young women in their twenties and thirties who are having procedures as preventative measures. These same women, when they get to be my age, will look back and realize they were naturally beautiful, they just didn’t believe it.
It’s a rare and lucky woman who doesn’t think about aging in this youth and beauty-oriented culture. I’m always on guard against those sly, stealthy wrinkles that threaten to creep onto my face, having trained myself to not lay directly on the side of my face when I sleep and slathering the best creams I can afford onto it during the day. And, all I have to do is mention aging, and my women friends either admit to having work done, or of wanting to. One misguided woman even confessed to stealing a jar of wrinkle cream. My vibrant, active, seventy-two year old mother spends some of her fixed income on drug store wrinkle creams. And these aren’t even the extreme examples of life-threatening, body-disfiguring, botched procedures, or abhorrent practices by child beauty-pageant mothers.
Unfortunately, we women have been set up to compete with each other for men’s attention and survival. In prehistoric times, we needed them for protection and to provide food by hunting. Later, as we were evolving and working toward independence, many women needed them for financial survival. I experienced this first-hand competition when I was an exotic dancer, usually the oldest in the club, and I had to sell my appearance. During that time I felt the sting of the Botox® needle. It hurt. A lot! Years after I’d stopped, someone told me that during that time I hadn’t looked well. My face had looked strained and unnatural.
But I don’t need to compete directly with younger women today, and more than ever, our culture is turning out successful, educated woman who support themselves and who don’t need to compete either. I do realize that for so many that are out of work, job competition is real and ageism is a fact, but a smile, enthusiasm and confidence also help take years off your face.
I’m not writing anything new. What is new, perhaps, is that I have first-hand experience of speaking with thousands of men. And the truth is that men don’t care. If you’re in an age-appropriate relationship or are looking for one with someone you have commonality and camaraderie with, they’ll have their own wrinkles too! People in an honest intimate relationship with you care only about and react to how you see them. Do you see them? Do you value them for who they are? If you can’t see and value yourself realistically for who you are, you can’t see and value others.
Besides, everyone has wrinkles, even the people who look windblown, plastic, and without expression. You just can’t see theirs because with each needle sting, each cut made into their flesh from a knife’s incision, each fat cell sucked out, they’ve buried their wrinkles deeper inside.