During the same week, I saw a photo of Charlotte Rampling published in The Guardian, along with a forthright interview.
I was drawn to the frank display of lines and freckles, the deep-set, uncarved eyes (she has always had hooded eyes, used to devastating effect), the strength in the face. Her attitude was a refreshing refutation to the Age of Concealment.
At 68, Rampling continues to resist shots and scalpels, saying, on The Talks "... we’re all vain, we’re all narcissistic, we don’t like to grow old. Who wants to grow old? Who wants to get lines? Who wants to not be young? But we can’t be. We’re going on."
In another interview, she said, "You've got to wait. You've got not to panic, not to be frightened, and not to change your face. You need your face to grow with you..."
She is, however, but one example. I know many women who project such singular character and I'll bet you do, too. I'm not against making efforts to look pretty, but I'm disgusted when told that hiding my age must be my primary goal.
Age-averse books and posts (which seem to multiply by the month), usually use three linked tactics:
1. Ratchet the realization of physical changes into full-blown fear.
You will, they insist, not look your best, but if you tend every inch of yourself, disguising time's effects, you can then feel confident. Is confidence really conferred by a cream?
A woman is celebrated for looking "years younger than..." (whatever age she is). We need self-esteem of steel to resist this cultural meme. If we bite, we're hooked, and easy pickings for the next two tactics.
2. Present high maintenance as a just war. It's no longer enough to look after health and grooming, now we must be Sun Tzu in an LBD, arming ourselves with "weapons" specifically for aging and enlisting experts in "the fight". (Military metaphors abound; words like combat, defy, vanquish, and defend are favourites.)
Clothes must be neither too young nor too old, unless they are classics, which are fine except when they are too classic, and therefore aging. (The charge that a given item "ages you": kiss of death.)
3. Endorse pursuit of a futile quest. Consume an ever-changing array of products and procedures. Spend as much as you can, or more. Try anything tenders or friends recommend. (The saddest refrain in one book was "I think I see a difference.") The cycle: Buy, Enjoy Brief Respite, Feel Vulnerable, Repeat.
I truly care about my 3 Ms: mind, mobility, and mojo*. The rest is icing on a cake that isn't so fresh anymore, but so what?
*Operational definition:"Girls hit your hallelujah!"
Uptown Funk, flute of rosé bubbly, a spritz of favourite fragrance—a gift from Le Duc—and lots of hugs: so far I'm in the Charlotte Camp, and thank her for such succor.