Imagine the young woman's chin to be a nose and you'll see the old woman.

Imagine the young woman’s chin to be a nose and you’ll see the old woman.

This week, someone assumed I was my husband’s mother.

I am nine years older than him, but I always tell people if young-ass men are good enough for Cher then they’re good enough for me.

So when I realized I felt bad about being called his mother, I was confused. Looking at older people, I always felt that they seemed more personally powerful than young people, but I realized I felt different when I imagined myself being perceived as old.

Maybe “old” seemed OK when old was “them” and not “me?” Now that it’s me, I not only felt bad about being called old, but I felt awful about feeling bad about it. It’s like a perfect circle of hell!

Could it be that growing older feels less like gaining wisdom and more like losing your power? And if so, how do I change that feeling?

I sat down with a thick stack of fashion magazines to try to figure this out, and I realized something pretty quickly: it’s a very rare woman who looks truly glamorous without wrinkles.

All these magazines filled with young girls with smooth faces, and all I see is pretty, NOT glamour. Pretty is a fresh, blank canvas waiting to be marked, where as glamour is a richly filled canvas.

Look at this picture of Audrey Hepburn. To me it says “I’m a lovely blank slate ready for you to mark up as you like.”


But this picture of Iris Apfel says to me “The slate’s pretty damn full, enjoy it or don’t waste my time”.


Pretty is naïve beauty. Glamour is beauty with knowledge.

Even Truman Capote says (through Holly Golightly) “…it’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re forty; and even that’s risky. They only look right on the really old girls…Wrinkles and bones, white hair and diamonds: I can’t wait.”

If you need more proof that it takes wrinkles to have truly glamorous style, look at these pictures of the women at Advanced Style. Now just try to picture a young, smooth-faced woman NOT being overwhelmed by those styles.

As I sat on my couch, licking my wounds after the Mother Incident, I realized that naïve beauty bores me. I love the color women — including myself — get from life and experience. And it’s the experiences of life, good and especially bad, that give one the strength to carry off glamour without being overshadowed.

The only way to get to glamour is through getting older. If that means I get called my husband’s mother along the way, so be it. “Wrinkles and bones, white hair and diamonds: I can’t wait.”

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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