Age and the mirror

A good haircut does wonders at any age - I only wish I had the face to go with it...

I had one of those uncomfortable epiphanies recently. In dire need of a haircut, as my long bob had grown out, I hightailed it to my hairdresser Tania and asked for something more radical. She obliged and I now have a gorgeous short bob with a wispy fringe and two big wings that cut across where my jawline would be, if I had one, almost identical to the bob I wore throughout my 20s.

It looks fantastic and I am gathering compliments (and apparently this cut is becoming known locally as 'A Trish'). The only problem is, my hair looks a hell of a lot better than I do.

Welcome to the late 40s.

I have never much liked my looks and quite how little came home to me one day many years ago - about 20 in fact - when a caricature was drawn of me. I was at a PR bash, with about 80 people in the room, and the caricaturist chose me as the second subject. His first was a skinny red-head with Crystal Tips frizzy hair and massive glasses, and it suddenly hit home to me - I was obviously the second-most ridiculous-looking person in the room.

I managed a weak smile when the artwork was presented to me, but I asked my (then) boyfriend (now husband) to put it away and I never looked at it again except by accident. I would never destroy it - after all, it's the fruit of someone's labour and talent - but it was then, and is now, terribly depressing to look at the bug eyes and miniscule chin and think: is this really what I look like?

A caricature is an exaggeration, of course, but there is more than a nugget of truth in there. And with age, I look increasingly like the incipient Spitting Image that the artist spotted all those years ago - the rosebud mouth, the eyebags, the slightly mad stare that I recognise from my mother.

Back then, I looked like Edina from The Incredibles with my black bob (I rather think, actually, that she was modelled on Edith Head). Now, the bob is slightly choppier and, of course, blonde, but the facial features are more exaggerated and where, five years ago I could see myself in the mirror and flash back to that younger self, when I see myself now, I can flash forward to how I will look in old age. It is not a pretty sight.

Oh la. What can one do? As my skin's relationship with my bones becomes increasingly distant, and wrinkles suddenly appear where there were none before (like wrists, elbows and ankles, good grief), my devotion to yoga and meditation become more necessary than ever.

And vanity-wise, my search for a decent lip pencil to draw back in a fake lipline becomes more urgent, along with finding a becoming shade of lipstick - perhaps something that matches my thread veins?

The search continues…

Comments (4)

Tags: caricature ageing

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Susi Hines
Posts: 3
Reply #4 on : Wed October 26, 2011, 07:25:05
My best advice is lots of water, aerobics and never, ever, stop smiling, not only lifts those downward mouth lines but it is the one thing that plastic surgery veterans can't do!!!!

Because you're..... gorgeous!
Posts: 3
A French perspective
Reply #3 on : Wed June 13, 2012, 13:57:39
I'm now in my late fifties, and to be honest, I don't feel less attractive than I did in my twenties. In fact, maybe the reverse because I have more self-assurance and a better understanding of what's right for me.

To be honest, I have never quite understood the Anglo-Saxon obsession about aging. I don't think we French change our basic style very much as we age. Rather, we adapt it. Perhaps it's because we learn from our mothers that in fashion, as in make-up 'less is more'. We know from an early age that a neutral colour palette and the best quality clothing we can afford will always pay dividends, and look far more elegant than a wardrobe full of high, but fast-forgotten fashion. I suppose I'm trying to say style is more important to us than following the latest trend, even if it doesn't suit us. This also means that I dress in a very similar way to my daughter, in fact we sometimes borrow from each other. BUT we do accessorize these basics differently in order to put our personal stamp on them. My daughter is far more likely than I am to wear scarlet nail polish, or accessorize MY little black dress with incredibly high red patent Louboutins, while I will wear the sheerest black stockings and classic patent pumps, choosing a gold leather clutch for MY touch of panache. But that's almost the only difference.

We share the same golden rules that my mother taught me, and I've passed on to Marie. NEVER, EVER, even at 6.00am, go out in sweatpants and trainers (it takes no longer to pull on a pair of jeans, and a breton top, with a black blazer if necessary, and a pair of ballet flats) or without a touch of make-up. This can be a beautiful Chanel-red lipstick and a touch of mascara, or smokey eye make-up (but NEVER both!!) and never forget a soupçon of perfume. It's a matter of self-respect, and also respect for those whom we meet in the street. So our take on clothes might be a bit different, our way of personalizing them, but basically we are the same: at 28 and 59 respectively. Why do British women get so hung up on this 'never look like mutton dressed as lamb' thing??
Posts: 3
Beauty and Age
Reply #2 on : Tue August 21, 2012, 03:12:00
I've never been happy with how I look, always felt rather homely (in the American usage, plain, almost ugly). Then I look at photos of me in my 20s and 30s and even 40s. I was almost pretty and didn't realise. Age does no one (aside from Bill who is defintely better looking at 60-something than ever get to look distinguished...) any favours. I frequently run into the name Diana Vreeland and I read a bit about her. I think it helped me stop worrying so much about how I look, at least about the parts I can't do much about.
Posts: 1
Reply #1 on : Wed August 22, 2012, 05:08:43
Diana Vreeland was SUCH a style icon - I love her to bits. Ugly as sin and glamorous as hell. Maybe that's the thing to aim for.