Growing Old Disgracefully

I'M not that fussed about getting old.

Really I'm not.


I don't live in some image-obsessed city where a wrinkle has to be sand-blasted to oblivion lest anyone thinks you are over 30 but in rural England where we are, on the whole, very much more laid back about looks. I don't worry that where I live designer clothes mean a waxed jacket and wellies with a jaunty design rather than Victoria Beckham and Versace.

But the thing I really hate about getting old is the time it takes to try to show a vaguely presentable face to the world.

I know it's a vanity thing but I don't yet want grey hair. Further down the line I will no doubt decide to grow grey gracefully but for now I cover up those stray grey strands. Being a cheapskate I don't go to some expensive salon to be pampered, I do it myself at home. Do you young whippersnappers out there know how long it takes to colour your hair? By the time I've wet hair, towel dried it, lathered up colour solution, left it on the hair to "take", rinsed it off, conditioned it and dried it, it's another time of day. The sun has already risen over the yard arm and I haven't yet had time to pour myself a whiskey.

Every morning I put on my make-up. It's no longer possible to put a tiny whisper of foundation on dewy skin with a slick of eye shadow and a pout of lipstick. Oh no. I now need "equipment", including a large trowel and repointing tool (not quite, but nearly!), and industrial-strength foundation that doesn't creep insidiously into cracks and stick there like cement in crazy paving. I can spend an age trying to get myself looking half way presentable - and still end up looking like an old bat.

Then there's shopping. You can't just waltz into Top Shop you know, whisk a tiny little top off the rail and buy it. No, you have to approach shopping like a military campaign. Line up all the tops in front of you and bark questions at them. Would you make me look like mutton dressed as lamb or, worse, a member of the Boring Old Duffers Club? Are you too bright, too dull, too young, too old, too "out there" by half? I need clothes that feel comfortable but, like the harvest, make sure all is safely gathered in. By the time I've whittled the contenders down to a manageable number, I've lost interest and have to sit down with a nice cup of tea and a currant bun.

Then there are your beauty routines, set up in a vain attempt to stop everything from expanding, collapsing and plummeting south. I use the word "beauty" loosely, resembling as I do Black Beauty more than Beautiful Girl but, anyway, there are cleansers, toners, face creams, face exercises (oh yes, I have a book about "facercise" and when once in a blue moon I attempt to do them I do a passable impression of Miss England Gurning Champion 1945), body lotion….. deep breath ….. eye cream, hand cream, foot cream, skin tightening cream and cuticle cream when the only cream I'm really interested in is clotted cream and Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

If I did everything I was supposed to I'd start getting ready for bed at lunchtime, aiming to get my head on the pillow by midnight.

So, as I told the dearly beloved, I have made a decision. I have decided to cut my beauty routines to a bare minimum. He stared at me for a full minute before saying, "Is that wise?"

Serve him right when I start to look like Margaret Rutherford on a bad day.

Actress Margaret Rutherford

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  1. "Is that wise?" A perfect line for a comedy routine.

    I've never really colored my hair but when it got mostly grey I tried getting the professional low lights. I quit after a year and a half. It's hard to keep up!

    Love your shopping description. So true! Dressing age appropriate isn't easy.

  2. I too got a giggle out of "Is that wise?"
    At least you still have something to work with. I have passed that stage and while not thrilled, my white hair makes sure I never again have to lift anything heavy as long as I am in public. Men flock to help the white haired lady.

  3. Interestingly enough,as I age, older women get more attractive.

  4. As someone who lives adjacent to one of those "young" cities, I can say that the young are such a small subset. If we stopped trying to emulate them, we could take them.

  5. oh how you made me laugh and I can so relate!!! I decided to let my hair go natural about a year ago (I am still adjusting). I am 63 but I think I look 75 lol. My REAL hair color (which is white hair) happens to be on my blog.

  6. I plan to color my hair until I die ( pardon the pun). :)

  7. My "beauty" routine, (ha ha) has been at minimum my entire life. I wash with soap and water, apply moisturiser and sunscreen and that's it. I gave up dyeing my hair soon after I turned fifty. Clothes? I wear what fits and feels comfortable. Fashion doesn't interest me at all. Cool and comfortable in t-shirts and shorts for summers, warm and comfortable in jeans and t-shirts plus a fleecy top for winters. I haven't worn a dress since my daughter's wedding 22 years ago.

  8. This made me smile. I have all the lotions and potions under the sun but rarely apply them. 'No time,' I tell myself, a patent lie. I suggested to my husband that I should let my hair revert to (or become) my natural colour and he surprised me by saying I shouldn't! I think he probably considers it would be the next step on a rapidly descending slope.

  9. Oh, you are a treasure. ~grin~ My husband wants me to let my hair go natural because of the cost, even though my hairdresser works from home and charges a fair price. Heh... Sorry, honey. Not happening.