I cannot wait to get my increasingly less-youthful looking hands on FACE IT, a new book by two former models who are now shrinks.
From what I am gathering from the New York Times piece on them, Drs. Vivian Diller and Jill Muir-Sukenick specialize in treating if not only the Formerly Hot, then definitely the Formerly Young who are stressing their faces into premature aging (whatever the hell that means) because they feel bad about feeling bad that they’re not looking as young as they used to.
Do you follow the torturous psychological process? I do, because I wrestle with it every day. It’s not bad enough that women feel bad about not looking as “hot” in the eyes of most of the world as they used to, but they also feel bad about feeling bad about it, because they worry that it makes them as superficial as those who get their entire face and body reconstructed part by silicone part so they don’t have to feel bad in the first place.
Great freakin’ position for us non-21-year-olds to find ourselves in, right?
The book seems to address women in their 50s and up, whereas I’ve been addressing when this phenom really starts (in my experience, late-30s, early 40s). But it sounds like they totally get it. In fact, I think that Vivian, Jill and I are of one brain (so much so that I’ve decided to dispense with the formalities). They’re looking at the precise psychological transition that was unsettling enough to make me start this blog.
“After decades of counseling patients, Dr. Vivian Diller and Dr. Jill Muir-Sukenick say that dread about growing older can spur an existential crisis of sorts. Such dread isn’t about vanity per se, but has more to do with a loss of potential and questioning one’s place in the world. It can lead to depression, alcohol abuse or sleep disorders, they say.”
Or, in my case, it can lead to compulsive blogging and book writing about this subject, to the tune of almost 300 posts in the year and a half since this blog was launched. MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE: DISPATCHES FROM JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUNG (September 14, 2010 from Ballantine) has a whole chapter on this:
“Should women simply grow old naturally, since their looks don’t define them, or should they fight the signs of aging, since beauty and youth are their currency and power?” the authors ask in their book.
Note the shrink tendency to ask a question when you just plain want them to give you the goddamn answer–whether you’re paying them $160 for a 50-minute hour or $25 for the book in hardcover.
Still, I love that they’re asking the question.
Photo from The New York Times, by Joshua Bright
March 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Great post, Stephanie! It’s like, Can we all just dump the guilt about wanting to look good? Even cats want to look good (they clean themselves, preen), and cats don’t go around thinking “ugh, i’m a loser cuz i’m vain.” Not sure why I’m focusing on cats, but they all seem to have pretty good self esteem 🙂
I for one do not feel guilty about wanting to look hot. Anyone else want to join me?
March 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm
No time to ponder all this right now, but just a quick note to say, I like the new title and am psyched to see it on Amazon! That’s hot!
March 19, 2010 at 8:05 am
i can only assume this all correlates with the increase we’ve been seeing in eating disorders among women in their 30as, 40s and 50s. Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overexercising are no longer just for teenages. This all also reminds me of Lynn from Real Housewives of Orange County – super-obsessed with looks and desperately consumed with maintaining her youth. http://www.pynkcelebrity.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/lynne_curtin.jpg Not to be snarky or anything…
March 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm
Great post. What you mentioned about this being about one’s place in the world makes me think this is about a lot more than wrinkles and age spots as much as eating disorders are about much more than being smaller or skinny. As I do with nutrition clients we have to look at the emotions involved. I also think there’s nothing wrong with having certain tools: a workout, a cream, a certain diet that make us feel we are doing our part to feel our best as we age. Saying “face it” may be too harsh though I too would like to read the book.
March 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm
I love your website and am so glad the piece in the NY Times on Face It resonated with your own experience. I hope women will take the time to read the book and work the steps. They really work. I think we can shift our attitudes about how to take care of our bodies without feeling like we have to fix ourselves. I look forward to hearing what people think after they read the book.
BTW;Did you know that Michele Willens, the woman who edited my book is considered the person who first coined the word “tween?” I see you use it in your website header!
March 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm
You people are WAY too absorbed with age. I wouldn’t erase even one of my 68 years. This is the best time of my life!