Thursday, August 19, 2010
A little while ago I was basking in the glow of a compliment about my complexion when my sister brought me down to earth by commenting, "There are no wrinkles on a balloon!" wiping the smile off my face,popping my balloon and bringing me down to earth with a bump!
There is a theory that when you get over 40 you have to choose between your 'arse' and your face. In other words to look good in your jeans you have to be skinny but a skinny derrier will give you a drawn and wrinkled face. A Catch-22 situation indeed! My youthful bloom,I think, is a combination of good genes, healthy living and my size 16 bottom! I have become a sitting beauty!
This knowledge has also made me question my role models, Judi Dench, Nigella - the Domestic Goddess and Oprah are all women who have obviously chosen their face too!
I can’t help thinking that any 40-plusser who strives for exactly the same body she had in her twenties, before babies and a thousand delicious meals left their mark, is destined for a solitary life spent in the gym and the salon or under the knife. But such is the pressure nowadays to be not just slim, but super-slim, that it often seems that what women want isn’t simply the perfectly reasonable package of a niceish bum and face, but eternal teenage-dom. If 50 is the new 30, then 30 is the new erm... 10. Some of those faces in cosmetic adverts persuading us to buy the latest miracle are only a little older that that.
Perhaps the real crux is not which to nurture, but how to make them both feel loved. Once your fifties arrive, tending to both is almost as time-consuming and challenging as dealing with two demanding, illogical toddlers. Although all the science devoted to keeping us young ought to mean that one can keep both in firm and youthful condition, the hard facts suggest that this is the case only for a fortunate few.
I am not suggesting that being obese is the price you have to pay for supple skin – fat women might have lovely, plump skin, but an out-of-shape body can be just as ageing as a lined face. This, it seems to me, is much more about not trying to emulate the body of a teenager. It’s about eating and exercising right, good posture, wearing fashionable, flattering clothes – and challenging the theory that if slim is good, skinny is better.
I have spent this week looking around - with my own slightly wrinkled eyes - conducting my own research and have come to the conclusion that the best beauty accessory that you can have is a genuine smile - one that comes from your heart which is beating strongly because you love life. One of the most beautiful and vibrant women that I know and admire is in her seventies and doesn't look as if she denies herself anything - who eats cake by the slice and not by the sliver. "Life is too short to live on lettuce", she quipped beaming from ear to ear. Hear! Hear!
So I will continue to live a balanced life hoping my cheeks don't get any bigger and on the assumption that no one’s looking at your bottom when you’re sitting down, I will be a sitting beauty. Sitting down is what I'm quite good at and, at this time of year what I like doing best!