October 26, 2006

Max, I'm Ready For My Close-Up

It looks like Alex Kuczynski, New York Times writer, is trying to start a new trend. Aging authentically. She saw the light when a Restylane treatment to her lip had gone bad. The most unfortunate part of the story is the fact that she was conflicted over whether to go to the "skin-rejuvenating session" with her plastic surgeon or to the funeral of a close friend. See the story here.

People, women in particular, have been capitvated by beauty for centuries. Mascara was once composed of metal and ore in ancient Egypt. Lipsticks were made from crushed beetles. Ground semi-precious stones were used as eye shadow. While technology has progressed, the notion that a painted face is beautiful remains the same.

Make-up is just the beginning when it comes to beauty. We dye our hair, bleach our teeth, wax our brows, paint our nails, sandblast our skin, and extract and inject fat into our bodies. In addition, what began as an attempt to look beautiful has mutated into the attitude that looking beautiful is looking young. Apparently wrinkles and grey hair are not beautiful, because they make us look old. Here's a newsflash: you are old.

I'm not what I would call a beautiful person, but I'm certainly not a dog by any means. I weigh within the healthy guidelines for my height, even though my thighs are starting to have the appearance of cottage cheese. My hair is thick and full of curls, but has been steadily turning grey since I was sixteen years old. I have crow's feet by my eyes and surprise lines on my forehead. When I tell people my age, they believe me.

As sad as it is to see 85-year-old women at the beauty shop getting their very thin hair dyed jet black, I think it's even sadder that women more than half their age are falling into the expensive obsession of cosmetic surgery.

The thing of it is, all the trouble and expense people go through to maintain, recapture, or create youth and beauty will probably bite them in the ass someday, just like it did Alex Kuczynski. If I can just emphasize - all this fuss doesn't stop you from aging. Pinned back facial skin and botoxed lips just look freakish. Reminds me of Nora Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Sunset Boulevard and the hell she went through trying to turn back the hands of time.

Old can be beautiful too. Or it can look like this if you have enough money and priorities that are completely out of whack:

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