Sunday, November 2, 2008

Venus Girls/Boomer Beauty

Two of my close friends and I are Venus Girls. This refers to the signs Taurus and Libra, ruled by the planet Venus—goddess of love, relationship, beauty, peace, and justice. Venus’s love of justice is why the Scales of Balance symbolize the astrological sign.

When an individual has an abundance of these planets in her chart or has Taurus or Libra Rising, she is influenced or “ruled” by Venus. This is the case for the Venus Girls Trio. When we go to lunch, you could recognize us by overhearing these kinds of conversations:

Wendy: So, would it be so awful if we had just a little work done sometime? A little nip ‘n’ tuck?

Lucy: I’d be for that. Nothing too unnatural; after all, we’re all into natural …

Me: Maybe we could get a package deal with a local plastic surgeon and do it together. Maybe he’d consider a quantity discount! Take a few crinkles from around the eyes. Nothing drastic or too artificial …

Wendy: A trio facelift! We could play soft music, have a massage therapist come, do aromatherapy, recover together …

Lucy: Yeah! Sip herb tea and hold each other’s hands.

If you know even the slightest bit about these signs, you’re laughing out loud at how typical we are, creating ambience by the yard, worried about our good looks and being beautiful—so into relationship, we can’t even have our faces fixed without each other.

Boomer Beauty
Whatever your astrological or bare minerals make-up, turning the corner on 50 or 60 leads you smack into the issue of how you will handle aging from a cosmetic perspective. To one degree or another, we all bow—or refuse to bow—to the Goddess Venus.

Genes and self-care both play a role in how “well” we age. I’m lucky to have great skin, but my bottled auburn hair has very gray roots, nearly every one of them. I have friends my age and older without a single gray strand in their entire heads, but some of them show visible signs of aging in other ways such as wrinkles or liver spots.

How each of us handles the transition to a more seasoned look is a personal choice. I’m not willing to have my face drawn and quartered, the kind of work that ultimately looks fake and more unattractive than au naturel … but if I could afford it, I might go for a mini-lift, just because looking youngish and vital is more uplifting than my Maidenform bra. And believe me, at this stage of the game, I need all the uplift I can get!

I am in no way ready to see myself in a head full of gray hair, although I often wonder, as I risk potential brain cancer every time I use those chemicals on my head, if I don’t have a hole in it. Then there is the practical consideration. If I ever wanted to grow it out, how would I do that without looking like I took an ugly pill? A gorgeous gray highlighted wig, I’ve decided, as a transitional stage, “when the time comes.” (Around 95?) Meanwhile, Lucy told me just tonight that she knows of a holistic plastic surgeon.

Beauty is important to me. When I look as good as I can, I feel like I’m doing my part to help keep America beautiful. I don’t deny that I’m vain, but Venus types honestly resonate to beauty and harmony so much, we are miserable without it. Almost nauseous.

More Fundamental Questions
The bigger issue, of course, is our inability to see the inherent beauty in every age and stage of life. If we worship Venus, the Goddess of Beauty, it’s only because we worship Youth like a god even more. Granted, so much of our obsession with this false idol stems from advertising, Hollywood, and our belief that men are only drawn to nubile creatures. (I bet
Demi is glad no one told Ashton.)

As women, we buy into these stereotypes, too, and the sexism perpetuated in aging men who have “character” while aging women “need work.” We buy into it by our desire to maintain a maiden appearance when we’re long into the crone stage of life.

Yet baby boomers are expected to redefine aging itself.

How Will We Do It?
It is a big job. Appearance is just one issue. To redefine aging is more than skin deep, because our skin will again never look like the ads we see in
Glamour, if it ever did.

I don’t have all the answers. I think a lot of them are individual. Just like some girls go through a tomboy stage, others, like me, never had one and preferred dresses to pants from little girlhood. Some never got out of their tomboy stage, never were much for make-up and frills or high heels. That’s who they are—as natural to them as primping, preening, and color coordinating are to me.

Part of me thinks that looking as youthful as possible is OK, at least until we evolve more in our group-think about beauty in all stages of life. Looking young and feeling young and vital seem to be linked somehow, and no one would fault us for a second for wanting as much vitality as we can hold all the way to the finish line.

Yet, another part of me feels like a traitor. I am part of the community of boomer women, and our mindset toward aging and beauty won’t change unless or until I, too, change my mind. That sort of change creates a divine domino effect.

Hints from a Pro on Stretching Appearance
I’m fond of the movie, The Birdcage, especially its anthem of self-expression, the song, “I Am What I Am.” In this 1996 comedy Robin Williams stars as Armand, a gay cabaret owner. He and his drag queen companion, Albert (Nathan Lane), agree to put up a false straight front when their son wants to introduce them to his fiancĂ©'s conservative parents. Her father is a U.S. Senator (Gene Hackman). As with all comedies, things go horribly awry. While I always thought Albert’s attempts to look womanly fell a little short, he manages to charm and convince the Senator, who is quite taken with him as “her.” But when the paparazzi threaten to storm the house conjoined to the cabaret and splash the Senator’s presence at it in the tabloids, it’s time for drastic measures. All bets are off; all secrets must be revealed. Albert rips off his wig and sings “I Am What I Am.” It’s a tune of the ultimate freedom—of self-acceptance. I hope I can sing it proudly, someday, when it comes to being what I am as a woman of a certain age.

This is a “think post.” No answers, just questions to ask yourself.

The question I keep asking is
why the statue of Venus is depicted with no arms. Like Venus, many of us have no arms to wrap around true beauty just yet … and when we acquire them because of a change of heart, Beauty herself will be What She Really Is.

Photo Credit: Venus deMilo Statue, (c) Maninblack/


Lady Lynn's Boutique said...

Hummm, something to think about. I am sure most have at least thought about a nip and tuck when we notice things changing through out the years. But the reality of it for me is that, while I want to look my best, I would rather spend my time and money on something that will improve the inner me, both inward beauty and health. My two Grandmas’s lived to be 107 and the other 104. The 107 looked much younger from having cosmetic surgery; but the 104 looked more beautiful to me. Her inner beauty shinned through and I remember her as always caring more about “us” than herself. I would like to be remembered this way too.

carol stanley said...

It is always about how we look..stay skinny, perfect and all that...SOmetimes when we age ..we can look pretty good but it sure takes a long time

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Lynn and Carol:

Thanks for your great comments! While I muse about nip 'n' tuck, it's mostly all talk and no action. I'm with you, Lynn, about time and money better spent elsewhere, and inner beauty is actually where I've spent them--on my spiritual journey. Many seminars, many books, etc. You can't buy inner glow--you glow, girl!

I relate to what you say, Carol, about how long it takes to look good. I notice that self-care seems to take up at least 30% of my time these days. However, I do note that I'm wearing less make-up. If I have to get really gussied up to go somewhere, including things like eye shadow and eye liner, make it a good 50% that day!

The Muse said...

I often ponder....
Look into the mirror and ponder...
Then I just determine if I can steal my hubbies eyes glasses...all will be right with the world!

Beverly Mahone said...

I have to admit I didn't read this entire post because it was WAY TOO LONG for my eyesight but I do want to same Boomer beatuy starts from the inside out.

Eileen Williams said...

You pose some very important questions that a lot of of us boomer women are asking ourselves. Since we were the ones to virtually start the youth culture with our "don't trust anyone over thirty" line in the sixties, it's rather difficult to find ourselves slipping past sixty--sags, wrinkles, rolls, and all.
Nevertheless, we're such an amazing generation of women with so many accomplishments to our name that we might want to flaunt these signs of age. Yes, we do belong to a very special group of gals and, despite, a pucker or two, we remain as feisty and fabulous as ever!

PopArtDiva said...

What beauty secrets are there for an old goat with a fish's tail???? LOL.

Us poor Capricorns! Jeez, even your post catpcha has the word "bag" in it!

Joyce Mason said...

Now, Ms. Pop Art Diva, I am going to tell you a wonderful secret about Capricorns. They are old when they're young and young when they're old. It's the one sign that is known to get younger in spirit as time goes on. You Goats often maintain your looks into "advanced maturity." Ruled by Saturn the planet of the latter years of life, Caps come into their prime the older they get. Now I suppose I have given you an excuse never to act your age... LOL!

Pam Archer said...

My dad used to say "Every old barn needs a coat of paint.", referring to how women need make-up.

I have to admit that it is getting harder and harder to look in the mirror and not see my mother.

I would do nip and tuck if I had the money to do so. I just don't know where I would start. LOL

Karen O'Bannon said...

I do prefer a natural look, but must admit I'd submit to a nip and tuck if I thought I needed it.

Lisamarie said...

Hmm, as a fellow, Libra, all I can say is, very interesting!


Joyce Mason said...

Marie Alice was having technical difficulties posting her comment on Blogger, so she gave me permission to do it for her:

I thoroughly enjoyed your post (trying to answer through that other blog, but can't seem to get through. I am 44 and struggling with a total loss of libido (gets a little better when I get off my contraception but it is not what it used to be), which makes me feel like I am much older. However, I thoroughly enjoy my grey hair. I quit dyeing it 2 years ago after 20 years of faithfully going through this every 8 weeks and am very happy with the result. As a freelancer, and a fairly free spirit, I always felt that I wasn't being taken very seriously, and was being hit on, on the job (always by much older men too!), and that was uncomfortable. With the grey hair, I get less of it (it wasn't that many but just the ones I really wanted to avoid:-), I get more respect, and when someone pays attention, I find them to usually be of a much higher quality than before. I don't know why that is. But I like my grey hair. And I find that more and more high power women are daring it, in France where I am from especially. We also see grey haired, and over 60 models being used, and sought by agencies. I think it is also a way to make a statement. I have grey hair and I feel beautiful. That is not what makes me feel old. The lack of desire does. But it doesn't do that in a very bad way either. Sometimes I am sad about it, but mostly I am appeased. So, overall, I am not afraid of the next decade, as I feel that I am getting training right now :-)

Kind regards,
Marie Alice