Aging Grayfully

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 27th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3jl4x_4f/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Wellness

Much has been said about aging gracefully. I don't think grace needs to have anything to do with it. I propose aging grayfully instead.

Dear Women, and those who love us

Why is it that we are never happy as we are? We spent the first 16 to 21 years of our lives dressing up, trying to act older, wearing makeup and doing our hair in ways to hide our little kiddie faces. When we are young, we want to be princesses, anchor women, astronauts, and presidents. We want to be tall enough to ride the big rides, old enough to attend the dance, drive, or drink. We can't wait to be successful, married, or mothers. However, then those milestones come and leave again all too quickly. Then we do everything we can to turn back the clock.

We apply makeup. We dye our hair. We try to lose weight and get back into shape. We wear less yellow -- more black. We want to be taken seriously, but we still want to be fun. And in doing all these opposing things, we are doomed to unhappiness as a result of our failure. Why do we punish ourselves?

Make-ups Makers Hate Me -- and it's kind of mutual

And I can write these things as a person who tries to be above it all. Clairol, CoverGirl, L'Oreal, Mac, and Maybelline – they all hate women like me. I don't wear makeup unless I'm going to be on stage or have my picture taken. Even then I might not. I wish I could say it's because I'm above it all, but in reality it has more to do with not wanting to look like a clown, which surely happens when the unpracticed tries to do her own face. I don't dye my hair, but I have a growing collection of kerchiefs to wear when a comb-over just won't cover it. As much as I want to be cool, as much as I want to be above it, I'm not.

I used to think that girls dressed up and applied makeup to look good for men. And likely there is some truth to that. Men see the same commercials we don't want to. They are exposed to the same ads and the same messages. A girl is naked without her mascara. She simply shouldn't be seen without at least her foundation and some minimal blush. Dresses and cute outfits look much better than a sloppy appearance.

Male Views Weigh In

Then I think about other messages women receive from men. Messages like "That dress does not make your butt look too big. I promise, anything you put on is FINE – because we should have left a half hour ago. I don't really care what that lingerie looks like on, as long as I can take it OFF." In addition, I've heard some interesting complaints from men. Mascara, for example, is very difficult to remove from a bachelor's pillowcase. Bright red lipstick, for another, is a tell tale sign most cheaters wish would not find its way to errant shirt collars. Makeup tastes terrible. Clothing (that makes a woman look skinnier than she is) is difficult to get OFF. Beer is cheaper than makeup, doesn't take as long, and also makes women look better – especially as the evening progresses.

I jest, but only a little. I've also seen evidence that women wearing no makeup, having become filthy from working on a car or playing baseball or working with farm animals are equally attractive to their potential mates as women with well-made faces and perfectly coiffed hair. In fact, men seem to be easy to please, enjoying both sides of women.

Van Morrison

So perhaps Van Morrison is right, and the girls only "dress up for each other." This doesn't make any sense, though; unless we are lesbians, we shouldn't be trying to attract other women. We disparage those who appear to be trying too hard, which is certainly a subjective judgment. We disparage those who don't try at all. We disparage those who try and fall flat of our expectations. Despite the caring, loving, heart-filled characteristics that make women good friends, sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, and lovers, we can be a lot of cold-hearted bitches in constant competition with each other. What do we gain?

Parting Shots

Maybe we cannot stop ourselves from setting impossible dreams as goals. On the other hand, we can, perhaps, redeem some of our grace by choosing to age grayfully instead. If we stopped dyeing our hair with toxic chemicals, if we stopped paying thousands of dollars to battle the bulge, cover our age spots, our wrinkles, and our crow's feet, perhaps we could look to Hollywood (and beyond) to celebrate aging women the way we still celebrate our aging leading men!

When will we learn to celebrate wisdom over beauty? And I mean wisdom – experience being the greatest teacher, and innovation being her close cousin – over the ever-subjective and ever-changing ideal created in front of some department store makeup mirror? When will we stop sabotaging ourselves? (Without women's beauty and fashion lines, what would happen to our GDP?) As a nation, can we even afford to risk aging grayfully?

Tags

Aging, Attraction, Dyeing, Feminism, Goals, Goals Reduce Weight Improve, Gray, Makeup, Seeking Perfection, Sexy

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Thought provoking and written with wit and humor, thanks Phyl. For men like me, being presentable is more than enough though I know few who make extra effort to look smart. Everywhere women take more care to look beautiful and I think that is in their makeup - mental that is! siva

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
27th Sep 2013 (#)

The make up and fashion industry really have a hold on a lot of women.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, gentlemen!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Great post Phyl. I like to dress up when I go out somewhere nice it just feels right. And I like aftershave and polished shoes and my clothes are designer clothes.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Morning, Phyl. Thanks for the article. I recently wrote one about officially and publicly getting old - not a promotion, just a comment. I too have gone through multiple styles and fashion statements in my 66 years. Many of them, I now regret. It is unfortunate that we do not pay more attention to what is inside a person, but can stay focused on external trappings. Again, thanks for Aging Grayfully. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Terry, your comments makes me smile.
Marilyn, I bow to your expertise! Had I known you had a similar article (or remembered may be a better term), I'd have linked to it. I am all about sharing the WikiLove.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
27th Sep 2013 (#)

A very thought provoking article. Personally I preferred the natural look in a woman. There's nothing more attractive than a woman's natural beauty. My wife, who is fifteen years younger than my seventy, uses very little in the way of makeup and she doesn't need makeup to look beautiful and sexy. She does like her clothes and changes three or four times a day. shopping for clothes and wearing three or four different outfits everyday makes her happy and I'm all for whatever makes her happy. My opinion is that all the makeup in the world will not make a woman feel beautiful unless the man she is with makes her feel loved and beautiful.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Your wife must find you quite a charming catch, Jerry! Thanks for treating her well and having a great relationship that truly inspires.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing another thought-provoking subject, Phyl. It reminds me of the old cliche: beauty is only skin deep.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Connie!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
28th Sep 2013 (#)

beauty shines from within illuminating the outer but still nice to take care of the outer...at least i think so....thank you Phyl

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks Carolina!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
30th Sep 2013 (#)

Great article...much enjoyed...:0)!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks Delicia! I love your smiley!

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author avatar LOVERME
7th Nov 2013 (#)

lovely article I had read it before

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