June 24

I was talking with some friends at work today when one of them (a guy) asked me why women trash talk other women. Apparently, at his wife’s place of employment, someone got upset that the younger, attractive women were dressed to impress. He said he thought most women dress up more to impress each other than they do to attract guys anyway. While I don’t disagree with his thought process, my immediate response was that the woman in question was jealous. It’s hard for a woman to realize that maybe her peak has passed. I imagine it’s hard for guys too, but let’s face it, the importance of physical attractiveness weighs much heavier on women. Do a Google search on “aging gracefully” and 98% of the images are women. Most of the quotes are geared toward women, as are a lot of the comics. And I say this not just from what our culture dictates, but what I’ve experienced personally. I dated a guy who once told me he didn’t care whether or not I found him attractive. He felt it was something he didn’t need to worry about. Of course this was after he told me I was “average” and had no qualms about pointing out the women he did think were beautiful. Which only encouraged the trap that most women fall into…constant comparison. For women, worrying about how we measure up to the next girl is almost instinctive and subconscious. Although, I do believe it has been actively bred in our society. It’s no secret that most magazine pictures are airbrushed and most celebrities have had a team of experts putting them together. Yet even though we all know this, so many of us still hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards. We are supposed to age gracefully, which means not aging at all or at the very least not looking our age. But that completely discounts every other measure of what makes a person beautiful. The heart. The soul. The wisdom, kindness, intelligence, empathy. The way they laugh, they way they smile, their acceptance, forgiveness, grace, strength…A beautiful person is so much more than a beautiful face. Of course most of us want to be physically attractive, but gravity is hard to fight. Sun damage is hard to reverse. The act of living means our bodies take a bit of a beating. Do I look at twenty year old girls and feel jealous sometimes? Yes. But then I remember that they’ll look something like me when they’re my age, if they are lucky enough. If their bodies go through childbirth and years of yard work and house remodels and exercise. Winters skiing and summers swimming. I’m thankful my body has held up as well as it has. I’m thankful I haven’t lost a limb or gotten skin cancer or any number of horrible maladies that bodies can go through. And you know what, I’m going to age because that’s what bodies do. I’ll try to hold off as much as I can for as long as I can because, well, I guess I’m just vain enough. I’m maybe not quite at the point of dressing only for comfort. But I also want my body to last as long as it can. After all, I hope I have a whole lot of years left to live in it.

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