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Youth revisited

(Author’s note: this entry has been revised due to the offense taken at its initial publication. It was not intended to make fun of anyone in particular. This article is about the strange cultural pressure for women to look unnaturally young. Woman have always sought to look youthful, but modern medicine now allows them to try for bloomin’ youth, except of course around the edges. We need to dissuade women from this folly because plastic surgery has yet to sculpt a feature that can age with you.)
 
Tissue wrapped in a corn fieldNicole Richie. What is she selling with this dress? I’m asking because I just attended a society function and this look was everywhere. I don’t mean the unwrap- me-my-body-is-a-gift-to-you look. More the faded- beauty-but-I-feel-fresh-as-a-pop-tart- popped-tart look. What is that?
 
I can imagine these women think that they have to compete with teen porn on the internet. So how’re they doing?

Do they resemble anything in nature? Nicole’s not the gaudiest example, but she’s already flirting with recreating something she is not: in this picture, ripe corn. With her hairline and sallow eye sockets, indian corn would be more like it, and the dress would be the loosely affixed branches and twigs which frame it on your door. A welcoming semblance of bounty, pretty but plainly inedible.

Can any amount of skin cream, Botox and muscle sculpting refashion a woman to her teenage bloom? Surely their mirrors do not deceive them. Do they think that an ersatz bloom-of-youth is anything but monstrous, especially in the spookiness of twilight?

I shouldn’t begrudge Nicole the half-peeled banana look. She’s put a great deal into her physical appearance and she can maximize its exposure. I ran into the same phenomenon at the society fundraiser. A woman there, who it’s said is quite self-effacing about what she’s spent on her boobs, wore a dress which half revealed them. I don’t know if she meant to upstage herself with her breasts, but that was the effect. Very nice to look at certainly, but quite an effort to talk to her.

Perhaps these youth costumes are not intended for men anyway. The creams and oils and aromas and salts may be all about a virtual reality more sensual than a man’s imaginary visual-based surreality. If a woman can wear something that makes her feel like a spring chicken’s bare bottom delivered on a silver platter, who am I to complain? Outside of the privacy of their baths however, I wonder if both men and women are rather more interested in people who inhabit their age.

Revision 11/25
Why do I hold so tenaciously to this argument? Because when I beheld those many augmented women, I could not image what it was like for their husbands. I defy anyone to tell me, as years pass, they look at their spouse and say “my goodness she’s getting old!” She’s the only one thinking that and God Dammit where is that coming from?

A mate can exercise and recover his or her health, to perhaps some notice, but otherwise our eyes grow only fond and familiar. On the other hand, the person you love coming home from a clinic in bandages, to be unveiled as looking like a strange somebody else, could only be shocking, as welcome as a disfiguring accident I think, sad.

No matter how much a surgeon is an artiste, facial reconstruction is at best face-saving. It is no match for what nature gave us, and as we wither, it takes away. We may not all start as beautiful, but of all the physical traits that define beauty, two come with age: kindliness and grace. If you weren’t born with those you can get them.

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Comments

Comment from Tony   (IP: 68.64.12.187)
Time: November 17, 2006, 9:13 pm

I can imgaine you though, Eric, holding a very thoughtful conversation with ‘her delightful breasts’ and ‘her popped tart look’. Difficult, yet achieved! So will you be harvesting yet more Indian corn ancd half peeled bananas for us in the days ahead? You’re a braver man than I! lol. And just what is a ‘society function’ anyway? I thought it was a PPJPC meeting.

Comment from Marie   (IP: 70.33.44.251)
Time: November 18, 2006, 12:09 am

Eric, it is hard for us to give up easily on our youth and beauty and age gracefully since women are judged much more strictly on appearance than you men are. There were 800 women in the room and about 10 men so I doubt if any of us were dressing to impress you, although I will pass on your compliment to A’s delightful breasts.

I do apologize if we made fools of ourselves in our ridiculous getups.

Comment from Eric   (IP: 71.219.201.15)
Time: November 20, 2006, 1:19 pm

Boy was that the wrong choice of words. I’m sorry.

I didn’t intend to say Faded Beauty as much as Faded Bloom, which was my argument about what beauty seems to mistake itself for. Why do we perseverate about looking like we’re in our child-bearing prime when it’s perfectly beautiful to be older than that?

From where do we get such perverse fashion ideals that dictate that women look like girls? From gay clothing designers who aren’t interested in either.

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