February 3, 2009


So we have cable television available in the break room at work. It’s rare that I’ll sit down and watch television during a break with my co-workers for a couple of reasons, one of them being that I don’t really watch that much of what is offered on television these days and secondly, I revel in being a loner. Nevertheless, I do walk in and out throughout the day refilling my water jug or when I discard a banana peel. The TV blares constantly.

Lately the television has been tuned to TLC and has been showing one of those makeover shows during the lunch hour. Said show is pure formula: screaming queen with outrageous hair, check; woman doing her best to look like Pert Kelton as Alice Kramden, check; friends telling the aforementioned screaming queen all that’s wrong with this woman, check. One-liners are peppered in the comments from the peanut gallery: “she’s built like a linebacker” or “she looks like an ugly frat boy.” Apparently the goal of the show is to shame the woman into thinking she needs to look at least 10 years younger and therefore forever shun her haggish, haggard ways.

Give me a break.

Listen, I know everyone is obsessed with looking youthful, which apparently defaults to attractive but I really think that people should be allowed to look their age. Old does not equate bad. People over the age of 40 do not automatically become ugly. Nowhere should anyone be encouraged to wear a paper bag over their face because they’re not as youthful looking as they used to be.

I look in the mirror (often, because I am vain) and I see a man that has earned every crinkle around my eyes, every gray hair in my moustache and every freckle on this 40 year old body. Others have encouraged me to colour the gray streak in my ‘stache so that I look a little younger – I earned that gray streak from worrying about friends and family over the years! So I have a little sugar in my ginger, big deal. Granted, I work out like I’ve never worked out before these days and I constantly watch my diet, but that’s not in any crazy attempt at trying to appear younger, it’s so I live longer and can terrorise those I love with my big mouth for that many more years.

I know there are people walking all over the place that are being nipped, tucked, pinched, squeezed, peeled, loofahed, buffed, spit polished and injected with all sort of things so that they can reclaim what they believe they once had. I say wear your age with pride and donate the money to a worthy cause. Take a few moments and make an investment on what’s inside- in the long run that is much more important. If you look like an old hag on the outside it’s probably because you’re all mean on the inside and sooner or later and despite any amount of money invested, something is going to come untucked, unzipped, unpinched or just plain fall off.

Back to the woman on the television – she was given a boatload of cosmetics, a lot of air in her hair and contact lenses, all things that are superficial and that she’ll never have time to assemble on a daily basis.

But it made for good television.