Older and Not Seeking Your Approval

Why are people disliking my aging face? I’ve just had another slap upside the head (metaphorically speaking) about having a countenance that is not exactly youthful and it’s really starting to tick me off.

Truth be told I’m still peeved that a couple of months ago I was told that I needed a face lift and not just any facelift mind you but a deep plane facelift with “SMAS.” I’m not really sure what that means because I was too busy fighting the urge to throw up as I was being informed that my face required the talents of a surgeon to burrow under my “musculoaponeurotic system” which sounds terrifying.

 (For those of you who remember that blog post and are thinking, “Oh lord, not this again.” To that I say you’re on a journey with me so there’s going to be some flashbacks.)

I’ve valiantly moved on but I’m still making jokes about it. Partially because I want friends, neighbors, the checkout lady at the grocery store, (Yes, I’ve entered the “telling random strangers stories of my life” phase.) to express outrage about how ridiculous it is that anyone would say that to me – a woman who was born when less than 10 percent of Americans owned a color television.

Okay, I just outed myself. I’m old-ish and I have no objections, right at this moment, to the current state of my face. It’s not young but, you know it’s familiar even with its wrinkles and sagging nasolabial folds. I honestly don’t think I look bad looking my age.

Which brings me to the question of why do so many other people have a problem with this? The latest incident that prompted this deep thought happened with a photographer. I was getting my picture taken to be on the cover of a magazine. Don’t get too excited for me. It was a magazine with a circulation of 500.

But a professional photographer was sent out to take some pictures and I emphatically told the photographer, a woman who seemed to be close to me in age, that I wanted to steer clear of going crazy with the photoshopping. I was happy looking like myself.

Let’s just say that didn’t exactly happen. When the magazine came out my face was photoshopped so vigorously that I looked fuzzy. The howls this elicited from my family were legendary. My daughter shared that it looked as if a Kleenex had been put over the camera lens and my son said it was a great pic if I was in the witness protection program.

I was peeved. Why would an advanced middle-aged photographer want to render me, another advanced middle-aged woman basically unrecognizable by going into overtime using the blur feature on Photoshop?

I’m almost certain that if this photographer was taking a picture of my husband she wouldn’t have blurred him to infinity and beyond. And this man hasn’t religiously used moisturizer since he was 12 so let’s just say as far as wrinkles goes – he wins.

Aging if you’re a woman invites a festival of contempt and comments. Even if a woman chooses to get cosmetic surgery she’s ruthlessly picked apart. Take Madonna whose surgically enhanced appearance at the Grammy’s last month was savagely attacked. If she had never gone under the knife I imagine the comments would have been just as ferocious about how old she looked. 

This kind of audacity bothers me the most. How dare people assume that I, or any aging female, with or without cosmetic surgery, isn’t happy or is embarrassed about how we look.

It’s the thought process of fools. Because one of the best parts about being an older woman is no longer seeking approval from, pretty much, anyone. Some might call that delusional thinking. I call it power.


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