What am I referring to? It’s that moment that Vivian Diller and Jill Muir-Sukenick describe in their new book, Face It, as the time a woman realizes something ain’t right with the world. After digging in deeper, she realizes she’s been struck by the fact that she’s aging and her looks will never be the same again.
When my 36 year birthday came around I was kinda depressed and seeking approval from guys I barely knew or cared about. After kvetching to my friend Melanie, I realized what was going on. My early 30’s were over and I feared this birthday marked the beginning of the end of my abilities to attract male attention. While I’m no beauty queen and expend 99% of my energy on work and raising a family, I still rely on my looks a bit. I’ve always appreciated the leg up it can give me.
“What happens when it goes?,” I panicked. “Will I be attractive to people?” “Will my husband still find me hot?”
After sharing my fears with my friend, Melanie, I felt better. Maybe not totally at ease, but better.
The authors, both former models turned PhDs in psychology, see this experience as steps 1 and 2 of their process to come to terms with and embrace one’s aging beauty. While the book is primarily geared to Baby Boomers, thy say these moments can strike at any age.
What I found really interesting about the book, which taps into years of Diller and Muir-Sukenick’s personal and professional experience, was less its application to me and more its revelation that ALL women (and probably all men for that matter) go through this fear of losing their looks. You’d think only the 60 year-old women with the overly-plumped lips or excessively toned biceps, hell-bent on looking like 30 year-olds, are the ones living in fear.
Even those women who never took beauty seriously or thought they were never beautiful to begin with, and thus wouldn’t seem to fear aging’s effect on their appearance, also experienced those ”oh shit ” moments. After deep probing, these types realized that they DID care about their increasingly sagging bodies and wrinkled faces and wanted to come to terms with their feelings.
What this tells me is that beauty matters to us all, no matter who we are. Face It helps us reconcile our feelings about our own changing beauty and teaches us to embrace it.
Now that I’ve had my “oh shit” moment, does it mean I’m immune when I turn the big 4-0? I guess I can always crack open Face It again!