This week I saw the film ‘American Hustle’ – I didn’t much like the story but what I did like were the recognisable characters and evocative settings from my heyday, the seventies. It comes to something doesn’t it, when you are watching a film set in a completely different, long ago era and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and familiarity sweeps over you?
As the characters played by Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper arrive all dressed up and glam at a nightclub I suddenly picture me and Micky on one of our dates in our twenties. He was a gold bullion dealer in the City and actually wore sharp suits and red braces and I was a film and tv lawyer.
We had a fantastic time. We went to all the best restaurants and clubs, enjoyed weekends in overblown country hotels driven there in Micky’s ridiculous golden sports car and spent quite a lot of time roaming up and down Bond Street sampling the delights that all those expensive shops had to offer. I won’t lie, it was a lot of fun. We were young, free and successful and could do whatever we wanted.
Those intense feelings of excitement and euphoria came rushing back as I sat in the darkness in the Electric Cinema in Portobello, Notting Hill where we eventually settled and raised our family. It’s amazing how you can be a pretty, young bride on her honeymoon in Paris one minute and the next on the wrong side of fifty-five and wondering whether your hot flushes are going to be any better in bed that night.
Would I turn the clock back? Of course not – a life has to be lived according to the present moment and each moment is in my view fascinating. I like being 56, and although my face and body are showing my age, I know there is nothing I can do about it except try to look as good as I can as naturally as I can.
Of course there are some people who would disagree – they would vehemently argue there is much I can do to change the way I look, to recapture my youth.
They say they can pump strange fillers in my lips to make them soft and pillow-like and inject toxic chemicals in my forehead to smooth my wrinkles.
They say they can cut off the flab from my stomach to hide evidence of my three babies, skim the droopy skin from my arms (and other more intimate places) to make them taut.
They say they can cut open my breasts, insert artificial substances (which perhaps may leak although apparently they can address that problem now) in order to make them perky.
They say they can paint fierce acids on my face so that the top layer will peel off to reveal the pink, virgin skin beneath.
They say they can cut my face open, lift up my skin, drape it higher up my face, attach it behind my ears and trim the excess.
In their integrity they warn all these procedures can be painful, even very painful but the results they promise will be amazing (not of course that they guarantee any particular results).
Apparently they are willing to do these things over and over again until the way I look is so changed I will have no idea what nature intended me to look like. And they would like me to give them lots of money for the privilege of confusing and changing me so.
To my astonishment these people call themselves doctors and cosmetic surgeons and technicians and other fancy names; and we, in the year 2014, continue to allow them to do all this to vulnerable women who want to believe they are still the young girls who swept in to night clubs with beautiful, young men and had all their lives in front of them.
But that is just an illusion – you can’t turn the clock back, you can’t beat nature. By all means go to the movies, indulge yourself in nostalgia and memories. Then go home, look in the mirror and celebrate the way you look now, celebrate the amazing, experienced OUT LOUD woman you are. And then tell those exploitative doctors to stuff their knives and chemicals in a place where the disco glitter ball really don’t shine.
What do you think? Would you consider a facelift, have you done botox, do you believe there’s nothing wrong in giving nature a little helping hand?
Or like me, are you sickened by the very idea of cosmetic surgery and ‘enhancement’. All views welcome, we are OUT LOUD after all and we say what we think.
And if you are a middle aged woman secretly toying with the idea that life could be better if only your face had less wrinkles and your stomach were flatter but you also suspect that life could be so much better than that if you learnt to love the life in your face, body, mind and spirit even more, please contact me at and we can start the conversation.
Here’s to more of us speaking out and normalising the ageing process.
And as you say so beautifully,
“celebrate the amazing, experienced OUT LOUD woman you are”.
Three cheers from this wrinkly to that!