Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Aging Gracefully

I remember a girl who I grew up with: she was very popular. You know the type: a cheerleader, liked in public by all the girls and boys, and really pretty. She was four inches taller than me, and if she wore more adult clothes, she would be confused with the teachers. In high school, she looked like a woman among girls.

Yeah, I hated her privately.

I never told anyone because that was sort of like social suicide. I was pleasant with Karen, but we were not friends in middle school and high school. She was just out of my class. You know, the cheerleaders and the popular athletes.

Well, I saw Karen the other day, and she did not look so hot. I sort of felt bad for her. When she was in high school, she was one of the prettiest girls in school. Now that she is approaching middle age – okay, firmly in middle age – she is not the prettiest woman in the room. I guess I feel bad because that must be a change for her.

I have not attended any of the reunions, so I don't know if all of the popular girls have not aged as gracefully as I would have imagined.

I reminds me of some of the comments about Justine Bateman a few years ago – she was the middle child in the Keating household in the 80s television show Family Ties. I was looking for some images to prove this point, but I really don't think she has aged poorly. Perhaps someone has stooped up the really horrid images already. I was chatting with someone about this, and they suggested Erin Moran (Joanie from Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi).

Anyway, I don't have much to write about today, but I was wondering if there is some sense of karma in the world. Do really beautiful young adults age more quickly than others. I mean, I remember Karen always sunbathing (something we did back then, not sure if it is done as much anymore). That could have contributed to her looks. And there are many examples of people who have looked good for 50 years and more. Audrey Hepburn is one person – I remember seeing a picture of her with an Ethiopian child on her back and she looked so beautiful. She was a bit wrinkled but she must have been in her 60s.

I look at people on the street and assume that beautiful people have always been beautiful, but that may not be the case. I have run into some people I knew in high school, then later raced to their pictures. Oh, that is the person, someone who seemed so plain looking at the time. A late bloomer.

I always look for assumptions that can make my life easier – but perhaps there is no rule-of-thumb concerning beauty as people get older. Perhaps the world is a bit more complicated. For every Erin Moran, there is an Audrey Hepburn.


Under the Influence said...

A few years back, I went to my 20th HS reunion. It wasn't the women who were stunningly different - it was the MEN. It didn't matter what their status was in HS, most of them looked AWFUL. There were a few exceptions, but not many.

Xmichra said...

I know of a girl, very similar to your karen. of the one I know, she still has a very good body (you can tell she works out hardcore) but the looking older in highschool progressed through her life, and she looks like she is in her mid forties now, not early thirties.

I also keep hearing the whole, beautiful baby = averege adult ugly baby = beautiful adult thing. Kinda pisses me off, not sure why. Other than I have a baby right now, and she is cute. so is she not entitled to the beautiful life?? crazy.

LarryLilly said...

You know, my dad told me this, and while I heard it I did not really think about it. He told me that when you see a girl, to see what she will be when she gets older, look at her mom. Some girls that had really cute looks were women two burritos away from being linebackers when you saw their moms.

Guys are like that too, I guess.

Leesa said...

Under: I have not been to a reunion, but I have gone to one of the high school sites (where you can chat with old schoolmates). Well, I have seen only a few photos, and the women who post their pictures look like they are looking for husband #2 and the men look a bit sad. But they also look as if they think they are hot.

Xmichra: I don't know if it is hard living or what, but cute teenagers don't mean cute adults. As for kids, I think it is random. I have seen some hideous children turn out to be nice-looking adults. And I have seen some cute babies turn into cute adults as well (my hubbie was such a cutie then and now).

Larry: I hope it is not so. My Mom has unattractive arms. She is otherwise fine, but the Mom arms. Oh, no.

74WIXYgrad said...

Sometimes habits such as smoking and drinking do not bode too well with youthful good looks.

Of course having a full head of gray hair doesn't help if you don't drink or smoke.

Ian Lidster said...

Personally I always had kind of a thing for Justine Bateman. I thought she had a sort of hidden attractiveness that turned me on a little bit.

Your story about Karen reminds me of a girl I once taught. She was sort of pretty in HS, but quiet, and even a bit mousy.

She then attended a 10 year reunion that I attended as a former teacher. Well, my dear, this absolute babe walked into the room; long soft blonde hair, skirt slit to the waist and deliciously revealing top barely covering ample endowment. She certianly raised my temperature, and some of her former mail classmates were fawning all over her. That is, guys who had ignored her a decade earlier. I guess it's sometimes too early to tell in HS what a person will be like later -- in either direction, as you indicate.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there's no Karma in the areas WE want it.

I've seen hot girls from high school. Some still hot, physically, bankrupt morally.

Gary Baker said...

Never underestimate the genetic component in aging as in other things. A friend of mine in the Navy traveled extensively. One thing he commented on was Thai women. He remarked that few could match their beauty in late teens and twenties, and then everything seemed to go at once. As an American, I think of that as something of a tragedy, but I can't help but wonder what affect it has on their perception of beauty.

Malach the Merciless said...

It is all the drugs and booze they do.

btsea said...

In freshman high school history, I sat between two of the cutest girls in the glass. I was diagonally in between, one on either side of me. They would both pass me notes. Now you are probably thinking, "What a lucky guy." No. The notes were to each other. I wasn't supposed to even read them. They didn't even pay me postage! Wah!

A friend of my Mom was completely gray on graduating from college. But I don't think she ever thought of it. The few times I saw her, she always was a very cheerful, happy person and thoroughly enjoyed her life.

Some of it is probably your genes. Maybe some is what you eat. A lot is that you don't do meth. ;) But at any rate, I think at any age you can still bring happiness to others no matter your looks.

Leesa said...

WIXY: I had thought of that.

Ian: I was described as a bit mousy in HS.

Knot: Oh, that is good.

Gary: I had not thought of the genetic component.

Malach: At least Rock-and-Roll doesn't age one.

btsea: My great grandmother was white at 30 and she was so beautiful (black and white photos).

Advizor said...

A couple of years ago I went to my HS Class reunion, OK, it was my 20th reunion. As I introduced my wife to a couple of ex-girlfriends (20 years is enough of a buffer, right?), she turned to me and said, "You dated her?" clearly meaning that the ex wasn't looking so hot. I had to explain that 20 year ago, she was slimmer, nicer, less gray, smoother, and not the mother of 4.

Then we ran in to Denise and Kari, who, on the other end of the spectrum, looked utterly and totally fantastic. They had only been average in high school. Turns out both got hooked on fitness and being outdoors, and healthy by good husbands who loved them and brought out their confidence. It was very exciting to see.

As for celebrities, I don't envy them at all. When they are young and tight and pretty we idolize them, fantasize about them, and label them "The Most Beautiful Person of the Year. Then reality hits, they age, they have kids, they get wrinkles, they lose jobs, they get cast as the mom instead of the hot daughter, then, the grandmother, or the judge, and we start to see them differently.

We remember them as the "Girl in the red bikini" but have to watch them now as the middle-aged character actor. I don't think that it's the way they actually look, it's the difference between today's reality and yesterday's fantasy that makes them look old.

They start off looking so very, very good, but they end up just looking like us.

kathi said...

Sorry, I disagree regarding Justine Bateman. She was on a show I use to watch, I thought maybe she's gone through some bad times.

I recently saw some pictures of my high school reunion (I didn't make it) and I couldn't get over how so many people looked the same! Well, the women did, the men...not so much. But the gorgeous girls were still gorgeous.