2624177337_195df1e1a6I’m not a starf**cker, generally speaking. As Us magazine takes pains to point out each week, they’re just like us: gas-pumping, coffee-buying, child-schlepping bipeds, wearing hats to hide bad hair days, wading their way through marital swampland, and probably freaking out about weird dermatological abnormalities that are hopefully not cancer.

On the occasions that I’ve met celebrities, usually to interview them for magazines or because I live in New York City and even stars need to wait endlessly on line at the DMV (that’s where I met the dude who plays Miranda’s Steve in Sex and the City, who was very perfectly nice and very short), I manage not to gush or fawn or praise their “oeuvre” because I find it a little weird and uncomfortable that I know way, way more about them as human beings than they do about me. 

And I do know a decent amount about these people I’ve never met, because I read the tabs and can’t seem to stop measuring my own decisions against their public exploits, pointless and unfair though it is. Like, as many dumbass things as I did when I was in my 20s, I managed not to entirely reconstruct my body so as to look like an inflatable sex doll, like Heidi Montag (yea, me!). Catherine Zeta-Jones was “in her late 30s” for a suspiciously long time, it seemed to me, which made me feel good about the fact that I was more in the Birthday? Bring it! mode. And if I can be as smart or have a sense of humor about myself even remotely as good as Dolly Parton’s when I’m older, I will consider myself a success.

But if I were to get all goofy over a celeb interaction, it would be if I met Marisa Tomei. I saw Cyrus last night. Yes, it was good, really good. But what I loved watching most of all was Tomei’s face smile and crinkle with worry and scrunch with compassion and cuteness. She looked her goddamn age, which is 45! And realistically like the single mom of a difficult adult son who works hard and tries to have a good time and likes to have sex and that a real guy would be into, lines and all.

I don’t fault celebs for doing what they feel they must to feel good about the way they look, especially in a looks-based business like acting (OK, I do fault Heidi Montag–beyond!). Even as they help create the manic anti-aging culture we’re in and raise the bar to stupidly impossibly standards for the rest of us, I have to cut them some slack because they’re being beaten over the head with the same bar.

But thank you to the few, the lined, and the still gorgeous for showing that getting older naturally doesn’t mean “letting yourself go.”

(This pic, btw, is from 2008.)

Photo by David Shankbone, CC