Men and Women: Another Difference, Part 2

Back in high school, a good friend said after meeting my family, “Your mother is so beautiful. What happened to you?!” I laughed. Good question. Part of Mom’s looks have been their enviable resilience to time, which she never took for granted. Korean women are vigilant against the insistence of gravity on their face, and here I am without the aid of benevolent genes. All the more I really should groom. Mom saw the family photos I sent and called me with an opening commentary on my husband. “He looks so good. He looks better every year. But…you! Take care of yourself!” she urged. She meant the face.

I came across a group shot of friends from five years back and was shocked to see how young we were. One guy is not yet 40 and has since gone gray. But he doesn’t look bad. Somehow his wife doesn’t wear the wrinkles so well. My mother still had to maintain her attractiveness with the diligent day-and-night regimen in a way Dad was free not to have to worry about. My husband is aging like wine. Me? I’m the milk on the counter.

You men. Just how do you turn the card with the salt and pepper hair and crow’s feet? Dignified. They say you look dignified. Ugh. Not only are you spared the angst over a biological clock that measures the worth of your manhood but you have a longer visual expiration date. To add insult to injury, all you have to do is shave and get a buzz and you regain three young, handsome years. As a statistic, you die before we do. Your eye candy loses its sweetness and you’re gone. You leave us to our chores just when we could really use your muscle.

Several readers have asked to get together off the blog. I’ve taken a rain check for circumstances that keep me busy and close to home but I’m tempted to reconsider. God knows what I’ll look like in a year.

Here’s Part 1.

112 thoughts on “Men and Women: Another Difference, Part 2

  1. Yes, I suppose the worst thing about aging, is getting old! What surprises me, is that you women have the arsenal of face creams and body grooming tools, yet do seem to shrivel up faster. Extended life seems more like a curse than a blessing. Have you tried thin cucumber slices under the eyes yet? Cucumber has collagen in it which tightens the skin and restores its elasticity. Left to the ravages of time or not, us men just don’t know what we’d do without you! Probably get drunk! lol!

    • You don’t have to tell me about cucumber.

      LOL.

      My stock of arsenal has proved helpless against the assault of gravity.

      SNARL!

      Speaking of getting drunk, I don’t know what your (plural) excuse for doing that is. You don’t have the troubles I just described.

  2. I’ve thought of this before. It’s going to sound calloused, but I have thought of this. In High school I thought the balance very unfairly tipped in Women’s favor. They controlled every aspect of possible relationships and they had a lot of power in deciding. It was like men (or boys at the time) were ready to go and all a woman (or young woman at the time) had to do was choose the one she liked best, place whatever limit (or no limit) she wanted on the experience and he would be there willing to explore whatever frontier she decided she was comfortable with. I think this changes with time, at least on the surface, because our culture is so preoccupied with youth, especially pertaining to “feminine beauty.” But if you look at Hollywood, female actresses tend to start disappearing at a certain age. I couldn’t tell you what age, but it’s true. They disappears, and their male peers remain. This is because we perceive “male-beauty” much less critically than we do “female beauty.” It’s a messed up double standard really, but any woman can tell you that better than I can. But going back to the High School thing and the original observation. In our society, as we age, the balance of power shifts to the male. We perceive the male as “looking better longer,” and suddenly men are in the position of picking and choosing, and allowing what relationship to develop with who, and they are the ones setting the boundaries. It’s an interesting dichotomy, and an interesting shift that I’ve seen in my own life.

    Anyway, thank you for your post. Got the wheels turning, and that is always nice.

    -David

    PS- def. afraid to send this because it delves into territory where it’s hard to be P.C., but at the risk of sounding sexist, backwards, and fro magnon I’ll share a few observations with you that hopefully run parallel with your own and add to the conversation.

    • Hey David, you are right on. I agree! Thanks for sharing your keen, interesting observations. And I hAVE thought about Hollywood and – with the exception of “classic” older actresses like Streep – it’s all about turnover, the search for the next young ‘un.

      Diana

  3. You have some interesting points. I believe you are what you eat and is as young based on how effective your exercise regime is along with how well you respond to stress and emotional combat. Otherwise you make a great point. Now we are all seriously thinking about how to remain young. Thanks my friend!

  4. I have to laugh b/c I had a make-over recently, done by one of those glamazons. She said she needed to use green shaded make-up under my eyes and on my nose b/c of my bags and broken blood vessels. She guessed my age exactly by how my skin was beginning to turn sallow. She meant well, trying to hock her products, but all I wanted to do was hide, not buy products to showcase my aging face. With every wrinkle, think how much wiser you are. If that doesn’t work, wear sunglasses and a low hat. You could start a fad…you trend-setter, you!

    Love,
    E

  5. I don’t think all women age before men. In fact sometimes it’s e exact opposite. Once a girlfriend and I noticed how much older men older than us looked. We came o the concluston that some of them stay in the streets partying late and we didn’t. Rest and eating healthy has a lot to do for aging. However everybody in my family was always praised about how young they looked including me.

  6. Great article and I agree. For me personally, it’s not a topic I can usually discuss with other women because of the belief that somehow I am genetically gifted in terms of aging. There is an Australian TV presenter, Tracey Spicer who is the same age as me, and she has recently done a few inspiring talks and articles on a similar topic. Here’s a link if you’re interested. http://m.dailylife.com.au/dl-beauty/tracey-spicer-this-is-what-i-look-like-without-makeup-20141115-3kfbl.html

    • Robyn, it was good to see you back this week. =) Big hug. Welcome!

      Powerful article you shared! I’m passing it on to Diahann right now:

      http://storiesfromthebelly.com/

      Feel free to drop her a hello. Let her know I sent you. =) AND I do wish I had your supergenes when it comes to skin. Of course I long since observed that black people on the whole have an advantage in this area. It’s wonderful!

      Xxxxx
      Diana

      • Thanks for the welcome Diana, it’s good to be back and see what everyone’s up to.

        You know, I’ve never worn makeup every day, only for special occasions – maybe a few times a year, as such I am quite hopeless at applying – takes me forever. Also, if my face gets wet I have to apply moisturiser or my skin will hurt. So while I do have a 50% genetic advantage (being mixed race), my skin has also been exposed to a few less harmful chemicals than most women I know over the years and that may be a contributing factor. I tell people it’s because I still haven’t grown up. πŸ™‚

        We have a TV presenter who is also raising a bit of a storm here, Karl Stefanovic. I think it was last year that he wore the same blue suit every day on his show and no-one noticed. He did it to prove the double-standard between men and women. What I love is how the same general idea pops up all over the world at similar times. It’s a great thing to reassess our attitudes on gender standards.

      • Ha ha that’s great, the experiment he pulled off. I’ve been thinking about the link you shared. I don’t equivocally champion what she did or has come to believe. I believe part of grooming ties in with what’s appropriate, that we close the door with good reason and there’s something called privacy (and so something called Too Much Info). I’m glad she feels liberated she lets her arm pit hair grow like a man’s but I don’t need to know that and I have a hunch many others of both gender would agree with me on that one.

        I believe in mystery
        and the beauty of it.
        Not falseness, but discretion.

        =)

      • Fair enough too, I’m neither for or against what she is saying, to each their own. My reasons for not wearing makeup have nothing to do with hers and personally I pay careful attention to grooming since I have nowhere to hide. I’m just glad she is standing up to say something of value, ie. highlighting the need to question the double-standard for ourselves.

      • LOL! whoops, I hope you know I wasn’t launching arrows, it was a totally subjective comment that could have been worded much better, now that I think about it. Perhaps…. “to show proper respect for custom given that I don’t wear make up.”

  7. So true about the biological clock! But reading the comments here I agree with you on the High School thing then further into adulthood, where the balance seems to shift. Perhaps it all balances? Maybe not? And each of us is different, my Mum seems to have less wrinkles than me!

  8. Being a woman definitely sounds like the short end of the stick. How a person looks and ages is somewhat under the control of the person, like diet and excercise, but so much is the luck of the genes you are born with. This, to a certain extent, is unfair in its randomness.

  9. Okay, I am going to sound like a jerk, but I don’t care. With each year, I am thankful that I am healthy, upright, walking around and getting a kick out of life. My looks? Well, when I was very young, I was considered very pretty. Now I’m older. On good days, I am still considered quite pretty, but the truth is I look my age. But such is life. I am a happy woman. I have had one heck of a blessed life and I’m darned grateful for it. Would I like to have the prettiness of youth still? Darned straight I would. But, frankly, I don’t miss it all that much. I look pretty healthy, have days when I looked pretty amazing and other days when I look every year of my age. In the end, does it matter? Trust me: it doesn’t. I smile a lot. I treasure my friends and family. I treasure my life. I laugh a lot.

    It’s what is in my heart that matters. And it’s what is in your heart (everyone’s, not just yours) that is what matters.

    Sounds Pollyanna, doesn’t it? But you know what? Look as nice as you can, and then say, the heck with it. It is only window dressing.

    The prettiest woman I can think of is Eleanor Roosevelt. Give me heart over beauty any day.

    • *Smile* You had to rain on my joke parade, didn’t you, K? I treasure every bit of this, not only for the wisdom reminder everyone needs but for the wonderful, personal picture I have of you. And Eleanor was the bomb. (Too bad, in keeping with this post, her husband didn’t find her beauty sufficient.)

      • Yes, a shame about FDR’s treatment of Eleanor as a wife. In his way, however, he did treasure her – as helpmeet and advisor. He credited her with being his legs, going to the places he couldn’t get to. Alas, he had an eye for pretty women and light conversation – something Eleanor did not excel at.

        I wonder if Eleanor would have been the dynamic woman she became if her domestic life had been a happier one?

  10. I am 53, wrinkles and all, I have a 37 year old husband. Age is nothing. Aging is a natural process, you can protect your skin by moisturising and eating well, exercise helps and staying out of the sun. We place so much importance on a youthful appearance, but what about our heart, our soul, who we are inside? I have seen some stunningly beautiful women in their 40’s,50’s, 60’s etc and they haven’t resorted to plastic surgery. And I have seen men who were once quite the looker, not age very well. It is about taking care of yourself. I think wrinkles and grey hair add character and that is to both men and women. It proves you have lived and you have experienced.

    • As I said to Kate, of course I agree. I actually don’t place a premium on appearance (I did say I don’t groom). But I had to spin the humor of a vague observation that gen’lly men seem at an advantage in this area. I have studied holistic nutrition for 12+ years. =)

      Thanks. Appreciate your input.

      Diana

  11. I have a good friend who has the most beautiful long white hair. She refuses to call it white or grey or silver. She calls herself ‘platinum’ because it sounds better. yeah, she has issues with aging…..Me? I’m not 20 any more. Thank God. Moving right along…..

  12. Diana, I suspect that you are quite attractive. If you feel that you are not aging well then you are pushing yourself too hard. Not enough rest and not eating the proper foods. Slow down on the blogging. It will always be here but you will not if you do not take care of your body. Lots of rest will help keep the face from sagging. Also facial exercises are very good. Make healthy protein shakes and minimize sugar or eliminate it completely. Too much sugar and caffeine will age you really fast.

    • Need to deflate your suspicions, Yvonne. =) And yes, I do not rest enough. With 12+ yrs of holistic nutrition study under this belt, I (finally) know how to eat. I cut sugar years ago, coffee even farther back. Could really use Mom’s genes, still. LOL. I feel the love. =)

      Xxxxx
      me

  13. Hmmmm, there is this strange second-life that men seem to have after the age of 40 ~ with the signs of aging some how meaning we have become dignified with great experience. But then I see women these days the same age, and they have abandoned make-up and have gone the natural route ~ and they are stunning. Yes, there is a physiological changes that can not be altered ~ but there is a beauty in aging.

    It is funny though, and I do agree that there is this weird thought that older men are admired while older women should be pushed in the background… Perhaps still some truth to that, but it sure seems to be changing quickly. It is kind of hilarious to find out how much vanity men have ~ I read where “we” are one of the fasting growing segments of aging cream.

    Sigh…aging gracefully is our only hope these days πŸ™‚

    • Randall, in which part of the world have you seen more of these beautiful women free of the mask of make-up? A reader a bit higher up in this thread sent me an awesome link to a public speaker (journalist, etc) who has done such a thing even to the point of getting up on the TED stage the way she looks at home (when she’s alone, practically fresh out of bed). The writer reported how empowering and real it was to shed the Barbie layers (my paraphrase). How much vanity men do have…that is funny. My husband grew his hair last year – as I cut it shorter and shorter LOL. Let’s just say he is quite fond it.

  14. I keep saying that I need to put more effort into my still somewhat youthful appearance. Then I get lazy. And I get mad, it’s just not fair that women have to work so hard to remain young looking while men that are fully gray and have a few wrinkles are considered to be aging more gracefully. Ack! Not fair!

    • Mom had always warned that women need to take care of themselves from their 20s on. After all the studies on holistic health and nutrition, I now know the seed ground is really the teens for girls (for optimal health in the child-bearing years and healthier children). AUGH! I didn’t even talk about the impact of birthing. Ack is right!!

  15. “You men. Just how do you turn the card with the salt and pepper hair and crow’s feet? Dignified”

    Lol! I totally agree. Why are greying men described as regal, and women….old?

  16. I don’t know the answer to any of this. I just know that the happiest guy on TV is the guy with erectile dysfunction. He has the hot chick, the cool toys, the great job, and can afford two bath tubs. He gets to go without shaving, go around looking reesty and scruffy with no kick back from the girl, no whining about whisker burn. My life sucks, sucks, sucks because I don’t have ED. . . . Well, that’s the message I’m getting anyway.

  17. I find that men are more forgiving of women’s signs of aging than we give them credit for. A lot of women give up basic maintenance for a short butch haircut and stretch pants–and then spend a lot of time obsessing over aging. It’s like women who blame corsets on men when women are the ones who obsess over their waists. πŸ™‚

    • You’ve established a classic Adrienne response on this blog. =) Yep, I think esp with the women they are already committed to, they are more forgiving than we are. But it is something to note that they are the more visual creatures – esp in the “hunting” years lol. So yes, it is women who are our own worst critic. I have to add that I am pathetically not visual, and so am not as bothered at my gifted aging as my mother would be in my shoes (or as she is watching me). But I couldn’t resist the fun on this one. *wink*

    • Middlemay, there is truth in this….only if a woman looks after her own health as she ages. A lot of men prefer women to at least look after their health regularily.

      My partner doesn’t like long hair on me…he likes my short haircut. He doesn’t buy me perfume nor scented lotions: he’s allergic to it. Same for make-up. Doesn’t want to kiss a make-up face. His allergies causes headaches, ear ringing…

      • I wasn’t saying all women look bad in short hair cuts I was just thinking of women who just give up. πŸ™‚

        My husband doesn’t like make up or strong perfume either.

    • It’s a neat summary I’m able to draw up from all the comments: we seem to have an advantage of sorts up through our 20s. We have blossomed, they want us. We get married — and it’s downhill from there.

  18. I didn’t know Korean women that vigilant about face aging. My mother thankfully never pointed out aging in her daughters….she herself looking so worn-out (some of it is self-imposed stress) after raising 6 kids. I think she would more point out about our health…which is more appropriate as a parent.

    I’m actually shocked to see some guys around my age..they look a lot older than their years. But I have a VERY skewed sense of aging because I hang around folks who cycle as part of their lifestyle and it does keep them young looking in the face….fresh air pinkness, and alertness in their eyes.

    I should add my partner …is 72 yrs. I was actually attracted to his gaunt face…over 23 yrs. ago. LOL. Ok, get over it. πŸ˜€ A gal of 55 is entitled to her long time love.

    • HA ha ha. See, Jean, the gauntness made him look DIGNIFIED. GEE WIZ!!!! Try flipping the table, a guy in his 20s swooning over gauntness.

      Yeah, we run around and do all that work (while they nap) and age like
      milk.

  19. When we are a lot younger, our bodies can withstand injuries and all the physical pains in order to learn and get through each life experience. In time our bodies become a little bit brittle as we get older, but our minds by then are more equipped to find better ways in order to do things with ease and comfort. Being less reliant on the physical all the time.

    setting aside the usual back pains, I think both men and women’s beauty are more pronounced as they get wiser. πŸ™‚

    • “I think both men and women’s beauty are more pronounced as they get wiser. :)” Gracious of you to include us in this, Chris. =)

      I love the dichotomy you present on the strength and flexibility our minds develop with the years! Wow.

  20. Haha. If you really do have lines they probably are worry lines from worrying what you may look like to others. Don’t worry, and you will have smooth skin like your mother. We men spend a lot of time in our “nothing box” and the remaining time is spent attempting to earn a living and trying to keep our wife happy. rotfl.

  21. This post sure got a lot of attention and it made me smile! I will be 47 next month and my son turns 20! But the funny thing is I only feel ‘age’ when I look at my son and with a start realise that I am the mother of a young man! Apart from external appearance – I think was born old and now am inching towards a second childhood mentally! Am less serious, more able to enjoy life and happy to be where I am – I certainly don’t want to be 20 again! πŸ™‚

    • Ha ha ha that’s wonderful, Anjali. Love what you’re inching toward mentally. Seriously — it is astonishing what we notice in ourself and our kids as we catch them growing — and grown!

      Thanks for sharing. Glad to know you that much better.

      Xxx
      Diana

  22. Hey Diana, I just figured out how to find my notifications , comments and likes after wordpress changed the format! It must be “age”

    You are quite hilarious actually! We have as a culture been quite confused as we shove our “elderly” in homes never to be seen again. What happened to the wisdom of our elders being past down to the generations and honoring ageing.

    You may find this funny, yet I LOVE getting older, having the benefit of senior day on Tues at Ross and many other perks. I am 58 and I say to people I am only 2 years away from 60, then I will have respect HA! I have always felt young (young at heart I guess you would say). I have been asked by my daughter if I have ANY age appropriate clothes, I guess I do not even know what that means.

    I would be lying if I have not noticed the burrow between my eyes (years of deep thinking) or as my daughter so eloquently would push (the flab under my arms), when she was young. These are just areas I could live off of if I had to go without food.

    Seriously though creating our dignified aging brings me to a place where it just does not matter how old I am anymore! I am planning to live over 100 and I may not even brush my hair, yet there will be light in my eyes and I will know that i have lived fully, without the cares of what another may think.
    Besides when I shed this form God and all our Angels will have no care how many wrinkles I have!

    Wishing you wonderful Holidays and plenty of laughs even if they cause one more wrinkle! TEHE
    P.S. my husband is ageless as well, yet he has way more aches and pains than I do because of HIS believes about what his body has gone through! Much love Heart to Heart Robyn

  23. Genes,only genes. My mother was ageing very slowly and looked 35 at the age of 50. Also, I know one lady whose face never changed in 12 years. It is scary, to be honest. Her husband is ageing as everybody else, and he is some ten years younger than her… Looks very weird.

    • That IS scary! Reminds me not only of the Twilight (vampire) series that has been so popular in the States, but this one incredible book Tuck Everlasting for middle grade students that speaks to adults as well. A family finds itself frozen in time from having drunk of some special water and they have to keep moving – the rest of their tireless (and tiring) life to stave off suspicion that they are witches. I’m going to bookmark these thoughts for a possible post!

  24. Alas not all men grey gently into silver helmeted knights. My genes tend toward chrome domes, and as my hair recedes the women in my family remind me of the same. I typically respond with a nap.

  25. “You leave us to our chores just when we could really use your muscle.” LOL.

    I do think that women are upheld to stricter, more unrealistic standards- hence the imbalanced observations by others. Based on your photo that I’ve seen, I think you look wonderful.

  26. Your well considered and intimate post is appreciated. It’s a reminder of thoughts I’ve had wandering my own mind in times past. Yet, since I lost my sight, I’ve discovered that being disconnected with the visual world has heightened the awareness of my other senses and so my love of deeper parts of others and myself. If anyone has discouraging thoughts about what they see in the mirror in the morning, simply close your eyes and try life with your eyes closed for a day. There is so much more beauty inside us.

    Namaste’

  27. Oh my…the face!
    I’m so guilty of not taking care of my face. I’m a sun-lover and live outside year round. Not sun bathe…I can’t sit still for that long πŸ˜‰
    Even with sunscreen, the brown spots are abound…you can imagine what it looks like after being by the equator for a week! And, don’t get me started on the grey hair.
    And the hubs? Grey and weathered in all of the right places.
    As for you? I’ve seen glimpses of what you share…you’re gorgeous! Then again, that’s probably your beautiful insides setting up camp on the outsides, too. xoxo

    • The FACE…!

      *bawww. gimme some tissue*

      “And the hubs? Grey and weathered in all of the right places.”

      I swear they got the shweet, sneaky end of the deal.

      Wow, that’d be wonderful if people turned a blind eye to these lines and the black and white that’s my hair saying “Oh, your insides are beautiful, Diana.”

      BLLeaH….!

      Generous of you, M.

      Xxx

  28. I haven’t read all the 80-something comments before mine but what is it with Korean women and their strict beauty regimen? Every Korean woman I’ve ever met had flawless skin. A friend of mine, Fiipina just splurged on a ton of cleansers, toners and creams from a chain called The Face Shop. I’m white so I hesitate to purchase “Brightening” creams a.k.a bleaching cream. Also there’s an ingredient, the name escapes me, that “in large quantities” has been shown to be a neurotoxin in mice. So maybe you’ll have bags and crows feet but you won’t get alzheimers or cancer πŸ™‚ Saludos, La Panzona {Pahn.So.Nuh}

    • What is it with them? I don’t say “us” because as I wrote, I don’t groom as they do. Koreans are very image-conscious. It isn’t all vanity, I should say. Given women’s faster visual expiration date, we really should take care of ourselves. And there is a certain self-respect to that, isn’t there? I can’t for the life of me read the Korean ingredients and as a health-conscious hoLiStic consumer, therefore don’t use Korean products. I’m with you on learning from the lab mice. Thanks for the follow and for the engagement. Welcome to A Holistic Journey. =)

      Diana

  29. I think I already looked like I was 50 or 55 when I was about 10 years old, and now in a couple days when I turn 58 my age and my face will finally match. I don’t know what’s going to happen after that.

  30. And by the way, just so you know, you’ll always look just like the Holistic Wayfarer to me… and that’s a good thing, because you’re one-of-a-kind in the absolutely best way possible.

  31. Pingback: Readers’ Choice | A Holistic Journey

  32. Ha! I try, really try, to embrace the effects of advancing years and usually feel OK about myself, but sometime the hard truth catches me off guard. Jjust yesterday, was in a cab with my much-younger-looking husband, after 24 hours on airplanes, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Ack! Who is that??? It was pretty funny. All my well-intentioned embracing went out the open window. You look lovely, by the way. Do not listen to your mother.

  33. Good article. Women are known for how they look, but men for what they do or accomplish. It seems so ridiculous but unfortunately true. Turn on any TV newsy program and they talk about who or what a woman was wearing and her overall appearance. I was glad to hear that Sandra Bullock is using her status as People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman in the World as a platform to tackle this issue. My mother once told me that I should never leave the house without makeup on lol. Once I got over my hurt feelings I disregarded her opinion, although there are days when I’m downright scary looking lol.

  34. Among all the other things that are unfair, the aging thing seems to be the worst… so many male movie stars I can think of only get more handsome as the years pile on. I just get more interesting!!!!!

  35. I do in fact appreciate not being expected to make myself look ten years younger than I am. I’m also really glad no one expects me to shave my legs and armpits.

  36. Oh boy.

    Who would have guessed? Youth and beauty fading, like clothing which has been washed one too many times.

    Now on top of worrying about things like men, menstruation, menopause, mental health and… mentorship, I have to worry about looking worse as each day passes…

    Be right back, just going to be crying in the corner. Think I need to go get a drink…

    Maybe two.

  37. The negative part about looking young is that folks don’t take me seriously sometimes cuz they think I’m in my 20s, although I’m in my 40s. More an annoyance, than a benefit, so far. :oS

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