Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Photo Finish

What’s the difference between a 23 year old woman and one of us over-40-going-on-retirement? I’ll tell you what. They don’t know what they’ve got; we think we still got it.

It’s a pity. When I was young, I was so so insecure about my looks. Going to a club or on a date or, God forbid, on vacation, required extensive planning to overcome whatever deficits I was sure I suffered from. My hair was too curly/straight. My body was too skinny/fat. My boobs were too small (yes; even we realize – to men – they’re never too big). When I look at pictures of me in my 20s and 30s I am struck by how attractive I was. I could kick myself now because I lost the opportunity to simply enjoy myself, I was so busy beating myself up.

Probably lots of us feel that way. Oh, when we were young and beautiful! We could look in the mirror and never see what everyone else saw. And we didn’t believe people when they told us. (Oh, that guy just wants to get in my pants. . . ).

But I’ve lately noticed a very strange, somewhat scary phenomenon: when I look in the mirror now, I still think I look pretty good. But when I see photos of me – especially ones I take with my own iPhone – it’s downright scary how different the me in the photo¬† looks from the me in the mirror. And it’s not a better me. Oh no. the me in the mirror looks wonderful. The me in the photo? Who is that?

I’ll tell you who it is: it’s my alter ego. Because it is not the me who I see. No; that me looks pretty good. Sometimes even beautiful. So how the hell is it that the pictures of me look like. . . an old woman?

I thought it was just me (or the camera), but then Gary mentioned a portrait that he took of a similarly middle aged woman. She absolutely hates the photos he took. And he can’t understand it. Why can’t she see that she looks like those photos?

So, it isn’t just me. And I wonder, are there others out there who have been similarly replaced by some pod-woman who isn’t nearly as attractive?

Or maybe I just need a new camera. . .

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at 8:08 PM and is filed under My Pet Peeves. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Pat Wright says:

    Had I known when I first saw the original movie (cause the remake sucks!) “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” that it was not science fiction, but someone’s twisted way of warning me about life after 50, I would have paid a lot more attention.

  2. Chris Munson says:

    You suffer from the dialectic of the image, and the reaity of appearance. We capture moments within the borders of a digital framework, and think of the them as the real when in truth it is the mirror in which we view our faces and frames replete with the stories they relate of past. So, we stare at the whole in the mirror bespeaking triumphs, conflicts, birthings; that deepening cleft between the eyebrows artifact of the worries living a life imparts. There is the curious, sinuous scar on the forearm remembrance in the flesh of the time a restraining strap on a pallet of 8 inch cannon shells was snipped prematurely and lashed back at the foolish soldier in this early 20’s learning the rituals of questionable conflict. It is in the reflected flesh we read the subtle signatures of the lives we have lived in the decades past.

    • Ah, yes Chris. Very poetically put.

      If only women were judged by their experience. . .

    • linda kravetz says:

      100 percent with you Chris; even though your write so elliptically I got the drift. beauty after all is relative, i know it’s a cliche but somehow needs to be repeated.
      Beauty, youth, sex hormones are transient things Nature gave us to help keep the species going. real beauty is inside; of course you have to take care of your body to feel and look good, but you are not expected look 18 at age 50 or 60. Imagine an 18-year-old face, hair, eyes, on a 60+ body; it would be freakish. also we watch TV too much and read too many women’s mag with their surfeit of overly made-over faces of celebrities (without makeover they look horrid, believe me, especially if your notion of beauty is not Wasp.)
      So, accept old age and be grateful you have lived into your 40s 50s, 60s 70s, etc, longevity that is denied a good part of humanity.

  3. Terri says:

    Oh Lucille! You were beautiful then and you’re beautiful now. Always looked 10 years younger! But, I do know what you mean. I am suddenly not liking any photos of myself, but don’t think I look too bad when I am putting on makeup in the mirror. What is that phenomenon? Or is it that they always take my picture when I am not ready? LOL

    • linda kravetz says:

      Yes, Lucille, you’re beautiful = always will be so chill it. you can also use Photoshop if pictures are really important to you. celebrity pix are over-photoshopped – ask Gary, a fine photographer; it’s not the camera, my photo instructors like to say.
      Mirror, mirror on the wall – maybe you need new glasses, or need to remove cataracts.

  4. patti says:

    We are older but we are still beautiful, just in a more mature way. All of us are caught up in the youth hype but the truth is that beautiful women stay beautiful, it is just different at each stage. We just have to learn to believe it at any age (that said, I am not adverse to a little enhancement here and there though I have not seen the one defining photo that will bring me to it…)

  5. Judy Herring says:

    We see ourselves differently at various stages of our lives. I think all of us can look at pictures of ourselves when we were in our 20’s and 30’s NOW and say “wow – we looked great”, but back then we might not have thought so highly of the photos! My take on our appearance as we mature is that we feel better about outselves on the inside so as we see some wrinkles, and bady parts begin to move south, we can look in the mirror and say “I feel great today and I look pretty good, too”. Beauty really does come from the inside!!!

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