As I rapidly careen towards my “golden years”, I’ve noticed as of late that there are far too many people out there that seem to have forgotten that growing older is a very natural process. And in saying this, I must remark, here and now, on the word “natural”. For instance, there are elixirs that promise to go to war on old age ranging from vitamins, creams, clinical procedures, what have you.
There is hardly anything natural about the way some people handle ageing.
Now, I must take into account that the most famous examples, all Americans, I might add, are living in a world that demands youth from their idols. However, with that being said, where does the line, clearly delineated in pretty much anyone’s common sense rulebook, get crossed.
Well, we could look at a home-grown example. Celine Dion. Woman is over 40 now, a mother of three charming science lab procedures, and still going strong. And she looks good. Doesn’t seem to have played Russian Roulette with Botox. Yet, she bumps and grinds across the stage in a mini-skirt. This confuses me, because I’ve seen this woman do the same thing in elegant clothing in her youth, yet, for some inexplicable reason, when she crossed over that magic “don’t” age, she did.
Lotta people might question what I’m about to write here.
See, the point is, she still looks good (for being Celine, that is), so why should she lower the hem? Well, there’s a few fashion faux pas out there that were written to prevent train wrecks from occurring. One such rule is, and it’s a big one, “No mini-skirts after 36.” The logic behind this is largely due to the shifting of sands as one gets older.
Legs, even great ones, are attached to bodies that have a lot of parts being pulled south. That, and the idea that with age comes sophistication and worldliness. It’s hard to exude an air of class and elegance when your cooter is yet mere inches from saying “Hi” to your audience. What works for a 21-year-old should never become a fashion accessory for anyone heading towards middle age.
Yet, by anyone’s standards, Celine is harmless. She might have gotten things backwards, but she’s still got an air of respectability surrounding her. In writing that, I feel I need to scrub myself clean with a brillo pad for paying her any sort of tribute. Bad Taz…BAD BAD TAZ!
Now, those of you who’ve followed my writing over the years know I’ve touched on these subjects before. And you’d be perfectly right in asking why I’m repeating old news. Well, truthfully, it has a lot to do with a recent exchange I had on Facebook with a Madonna fan. I posted an “inspirational” poster to my timeline, and got into a friendly argument over the reasons I’m less than charitable about her wardrobe and surgical choices. While admitting that I absolutely despise Madonna, due to hypocritical comments, failure to age with grace as well as insulting people of size in a magazine article during her “Hard Candy” pre-release promotion, I also look at her objectively, despite evidence to the contrary.
OK, so she’s making money. Great. I don’t begrudge her, or anyone else their income. But, there comes a point when we all have to grow up and mature. And, for a while, Madonna did. The whole “Ray of Light”/”Music” era is proof of that. She let her music, rather than controversy, speak for itself. But one flop release changed all that. And it didn’t take long for her to have a tourniquet installed in the back of her head. Nor did it take long for Madam M to start flashing her gristly old bag wares in costumes best suited to a woman half her age. Through all this, I lost complete respect for a woman I hoped would turn on the class, and age like an American version of Sophia Loren.
I can still hear the soundtrack from “Sunset Boulevard” playing through my mind’s inner ear: “why do they still write me fan letters every day? Why do they beg me for my photographs? Why? Because they want to see me, ME, Norma Desmond.” Fast-forward a few decades and bear witness to what is on stage across the world featuring Madame M. Clearly, unlike Norma, she has fans, one that forgive her just about anything. But with that being said, we creatures that regard ageing as a reward and not a punishment just shudder at the thought of a fifty-three year old hooter being brought out for some air one steamy night on stage in Istanbul.
But I don’t want to spend all my time here harping about the ladies. Male celebs are also guilty of a few crimes themselves, although not as readily obvious to the world sometimes.
A rapper we all know by the name of Snoop Dogg has his own crimes to answer to. He’s not guilty of showing off too much of the carnal goodies, however. What he is guilty of is failing to recognize that it’s no longer 1998. His evolution as an artist is not in question here. Nor is his talent. What is in question is his choice of threads.
You see, at this stage in the game, his hip-hop image might benefit as one etched out in deadly, kick-assed threads. Yet, he’s still dollied-up like a stretched version of Skee-Lo.
Things that make you go Hmmm.
While I admit, freely, that I don’t understand why a lot of rappers run around covering up clearly decent bodies in layer upon layer of jersey, thus effectively disguising their herculean efforts at the gym, I understand even less why I’d want to see some 40-year-old man’s underwear while his pants are halfway down the crack of his skinny black ass! Now, you know you can do “Gansta” with style. It’s so simple. Dressing “fly” for your evolving image simply takes throwing your nineties hip-hop leavings into the charity box. Or better yet, giving them to your kids.
That mess is right up there with pathetic ageing white men driving around in convertible sports cars with their comb-overs whipping in the wind.
And then there is Kenny! Mr. Rogers, heart-throb to millions of housewives, destroyer of traditional Country music and fried fowl entrepreneur. And now, apparently, a man of, shall we say, Asian persuasion?
It’s odd how one little thing can lead to such a travesty. For, back in the eighties, Kenny packed on a few. Not enough to put off his fans, but obviously enough to bother him. So, he partook in gastric bypass, and with that, he slid down a very slippery slope.
He should have kept the teddy bear thing going. But, like so many others in the same boat, he opted for a drink at the fountain of youth. It’s too bad he also chose to swim in it, and then piss in it at the same time. Perhaps that Halloween mask that once was a face that many older men envied, in time, might again start to resemble his original race. Let’s hope so, otherwise, instead of singing “Lady“, he’ll be better suited crooning “Sukiyaki“. And, while we’re hoping for such miracles, let’s send out a prayer to Mickey Rourke as well. He certainly could use a little help with the mess those Ginsu knives made of his face. Makes me want to draw anime eyes over their pictures. At least it would stop making them both look so damned creepy!
So why do these celebrities go to such lengths to look so utterly ridiculous? Well, the easiest answer is so that they can stay relevant in a world that has otherwise written them off. Honestly, it’s disturbing just how far some will go to keep up with a market that has long since sped past them. But, what disturbs me more is that none of them seem to have ever considered stepping back from the spotlight, and maybe delving into other roles within their industry. Madonna, for a while did that, and the result was Alanis Morrisette. There was no reason she couldn’t have gotten involved in continuing to foster young talent. Yet, she decided to be that young talent, all the while, ignoring those that point and laugh at her pathetic death-grip on her long-departed youth.
Sometimes, you just have to wonder what makes a person tick. But, when it comes to outright shameful ridiculousness, the trophy has to be handed to the incomparable Cher! This woman is my mother’s age, and she is literally still running around in clothing that she outfitted herself during her original “cougar” phase. Now, people all regarded her nearly naked costumes in her forties as either brave or pathetic. Like her belly baring image in the seventies, Cher pioneered a reverence for the older woman. Not since “Mrs. Robinson” has a mature gal been so in-your-face. And the world just lapped it up.
Cher showed everyone that age was just a number. And, for a while, she had us all in the palm of her hand. But, like so many others, one procedure too many, one exposed bit of aged flesh too often reclassified her Jurassic-era tattooed ass. Where once she blazed trails, she now partook in the “dope” show. And by using the word dope, I don’t mean drugs. In saying this, I’ve often wondered what she is feeling as she graces the stage, a woman of 66, dressed up like she’s trolling the streets of Sunset after dusk. The fact that she’s pulled off the illusion does not make it so. Like Celine, Cher’s displayed her ability to truly put on the dog when she chooses to. Bob Mackie has seen to that on innumerable occasions. Yet, she still manages to convince herself that a Brazilian wax-essential garment is a good thing.
Um…it sorta worked when you were still MILF. But, and I say this with kindness (not), on your GILF encrusted self, it makes me long for the days of the Gibson Girl. From head to toe, grandmamma’s decked out in full length skirts, cameos on frilly blouses, soft, beautifully ageing women you inherently felt good about seeing.
I wonder what would have come of her has she been born in the days of the Salem witch hunts. All that silicone bubbling away on the pyre…..yeah.
In the final analysis, what frightens me is that these people are all held up on pedestals, continually worshipped by the blind, the weak and the crazed. Not to say that sane, seeing people don’t also worship them as well. But some
of their fan-base tend to have a lot of that “monkey see” mentality. So, does this mean that men grow more Asiatic while women chop themselves up to the point that they convince themselves they’re fetuses, long after they lose the ability to manufacture such miraculous things?
What we don’t need are baby-boomers (or post boomers) running around with “surprised” expressions on their non-moveable faces. And yet, that is precisely what is happening the world over.
Madonna was someone Kylie Minogue has openly admitted to deeply admiring. And while it’s yet to be proven that she’s had any surgery outside of breast reconstruction from her near-fatal brush with breast cancer, it’s odd that a woman of 44 can’t move her seemingly ageless face.
And there’s Britney Spears with her ever-changing cup sizes. And Xtina with her once near-perfect body mutilated with ginormous breast implants. And the list goes on and on.
Bottom line is, whatever happened to growing old? Better yet, what about growing old with grace? Whilst Barbara Streisand does a rare interview with so many filters on the camera lenses you can barely see the details in her face, the Judy Dench’s, Lauren Hutton’s and Sean Connery’s of the world all prove that being older does not mean having to look younger. Like so many others in past generations, they all chose to eschew objectification in favour of letting father time do his work by his own set of rules.
The results are beautiful. I could no more imaging Gena Rowlands or Jane Fonda (who did have some enhancements, but then chose to let nature take its course) with immovable faces then I could abide by Sir Ian McKellen suddenly smiling at the world with that whole “Joker” thing that too many have ended up emulating of late.
God meant for each and every one of us to love ourselves as his children. For those that don’t believe in God, we all still need to accept our minds and spirits as our greatest assets, while allowing the course of nature to traipse down it’s path of physical destruction. Now, I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their bodies. It’s not my place to do so. And, for some, a little clipping here, stitching there, well, it’s improved and revitalized. So sometimes, a bit of help with the natural is OK. But, when it comes to accepting your age, and doing the right thing for that period in one’s life, I’m up in arms (and legs). I want to see images of beautifully ageing women and men instead of a parade of filler and implants. I long for the days when glamour supplanted dewy newness. In short, I want to see people on my TV, movie screen, what have you.
It sure beats the Botox Zombie Apocalypse coming out of California in the here and now.
I’d hate to see the soil samples out there in forty years. I can’t imagine Restalyne and silicone is fabbo for the groundwater and rose bushes!