• Thu, Jul 18 2013

Scary Things About Losing Your Looks

mirror

A woman wrote to The Awl, pushing thirty, and terrified that she will lose her looks.

The advice columnist replies, in part:

In the meantime, though, you really need to find something else to occupy your mind. You don’t sound stupid, but you do sound extremely bored, and very depressed. The world is so much more engaging and incredible than you’re making it seem. What’s kept you in this two-dimensional realm of the mirror? Who trapped you there? What’s at stake? Are you lonely? Do you feel like you’re running out of time to find love? There’s something else to this picture that you’re not addressing, and without knowing more I can’t tell you that much. You should definitely find a therapist who’s interested in delving into this question with you, who seems determined to dig through all of the dimensions of what your experiencing.

I think it’s pretty easy  to kind of roll your eyes at women who worry about losing their looks, because most people are not so beautiful that they’re gazing lovingly into the mirror everyday. Still, there are some pretty scary things about getting older, namely:

  1. Strangers will be less nice to you for no reason (there is a great point in Chuck Klosterman’s new book I Am The Black Hat where he notes that if Kate Upton suddenly pulled a gun on him he’d exclaim, “Oh, you’re threatening to shoot me. That’s so empowered of you!”)
  2. You will have slightly fewer romantic options
  3. You will lose whatever magical powers the evil queen had. I’m not sure what they were, but I bet they were great.

Let’s take them one by one. First, yes, strangers will be less nice to you for no reason. That’s irritating. A good way to compensate for that is to make sure that you are working hard on things you love, so that by the time you look like a gargoyle (you’re going to live to be 200, congratulations) you’ll be so successful that people will have to suck up to you. Whether strangers are nice to you because they want to fuck you or nice to you because they’re afraid of your power, it will work out the same. It’s not as though either one was being nice to you because they loved you for you.

As for 2 – well, not a lot of people want to look like they’re out on a date with their daughter, so you’re still going to be able to date a ton of people from your age range. You’re essentially going to be dating the same people you always have, because they’ll be growing old along with you. You’ll still take time on your appearance and likely remain fit, just as they will. You’ll just be the best put together couple in the nursing home, and all the normal, frumpy people will still be jealous of you. So will young people, because they’re nothing cooler than attractive elderly couples.

3. I don’t know. You have to kill Snow White. I’d do it yourself because the huntsman seems useless.

Share This Post:
  • Sean

    I’m just terrified of the moment I start enjoying Matlock.

  • Eileen

    But, probably, you’ll get harassed by fewer creepy guys at bars? That has to happen, right?

  • Aquagirl

    Hmmmm I’m also pushing 30 and I am happier with my physical appearance now than ever, since I’m objectively more attractive at 27 than I was at 22.

    I wonder how much lifestyle and ethnicity play into the timing of this particular identity crisis.

    And even culture! Are you REALLY losing your looks, or do you just think you are because in your mind, the relatively arbitrary number of 30 translates to “sexually unappealing?”

    Context, please.