To have a facelift or not- That is the question.Here is an excerpt from a diary when I was at the grand old age of 54 (from my book ‘Sexy at 70’)
January 2001 Monday: Oh God I’m 54 now- can I still get away with being in my early 50s? At least I’ve retired early and can look forward to painting holidays.
Went into the nearest village and peered at the notices. Oh Dear!
Yoga for the over 50s.
Volunteers to visit the elderly
Came home in despair; performed woefully on word show Countdown; seethed at one of its presenters, Carol Vorderman. How dare she look so sexy and still be in her 40s.
Tuesday: The end of the world has come! In a Department Store changing room! While I was inured to the sight of bulges in the garish mirrors, I spotted something far worse. Despicable creatures emerged from the loose bits around my jaw line. J***s. Now that’s a four-letter word that should be banned. I threw on my clothes and stumbled out in panic. At home where all the mirrors are strategically placed in dark corners and lit by soft lighting, the j***s didn’t look so evil, but I am shaken to the core.
Wednesday: JOWLS. Sounds like ‘howls’. That’s what I want to do. HOWL I hate the word. I have barely managed to put up with my eyelids collapsing, a sprouting moustache and the inexorable march of crows’ feet. How I can cope with JOWLS? They are just too cruel.
Thursday: Obsessed all day. I even looked ****s up in the Oxford dictionary. The descriptions ‘dewlap of cow’ and ‘crop of bird’, were enough to send me racing to the mirror and frantically experimenting with little tucks under my ears. I could see how a nip here, tuck there could restore my jawline. Till now I’ve been anti face-lifts with the best of them. I stalwartly paraded the banners, ‘I’m beyond what I look like’, or ‘it’s the inner person that counts’, or ‘cosmetic surgery is patriarchal butchery’, or ‘I must rise up above the shallowness of youth obsessed society.’ But now the banners lie in tatters of empty rhetoric. I am feverishly leafing through the pages of a woman’s magazine, past the galleries of flawless young women, past the plethora of anti-wrinkle creams, past the promises of youthful ‘sun kissed’ skin, and pounce avidly on the substantial section of cosmetic surgery adverts at the back.
Janna Lumley says she wouldn’t be against a facelift. She is my age. I wonder how long she can last out. Disappointingly, Julie Christie succumbed to the surgeon’s knife at the age of 57. I can sympathise. In California, she was sick of bumping into women, older than her and looking like she was their mother
Perhaps I should emulate Cher and Dolly Parton who had totally remodelled themselves with the surgeon’s knife and looked fantastic.
‘Don’t you think so Jake?’
‘Good God, no,’ said Jake. ‘They look like giant fake Barbie dolls.’
And then he’d say, ‘Darling I love the way you are’, and remind me of the banner, ‘It’s the inner self that counts.’
And I’d say, ‘Well, if that’s the case, what’s wrong with remodelling the outer bit so the inner self has a nicer looking outer self to shine out of!’
He’d say, ‘What’s wrong with it is, that if you have plastic surgery, I’ll divorce you.’
‘Oh, Jake that’s so mean,’ I’d say. ‘Especially when you get better looking with age!’
You can see that in this photo. I am a middle-aged frump. He is looking great.
Then we discovered parties, raves and festivals and were having a ball. I was delighted that my frump disappeared and I turned into sexy woman.(all described in ‘Sexy at 70’. We both flirted like mad. In my mid 60s I went through another aging crisis and said to Jake ‘I have to have a facelift’. He wasn’t pleased but said ‘Do whatever helps you be happy’. So, I thought deeply about it and decided that it if I started, it would never stop- facelift, neck lift, eye lift- on and on. Not good for my obsessive nature.
So, all was okay until I lurched into another aging crisis when Jake and I were on a cruise between Singapore and Sydney last November . This is what I wrote on board.
‘I am being very confronted on old age and wrinkles. The cruise has several thousand people over the age of 70 and I am finding find it hard to look at very old people. Every time I look in the mirror I look more wrinkled. The wrinkles are coming very fast and I hate it. I have thought of having thermage. I met a woman from Melbourne who said thermage was painful and that I should have a half facelift- if I got a really good surgeon- it wouldn’t show and it would be effective. Her husband who is 75 has had one and apparently looks good. I am so tempted. I HATE my wrinkles. But I know I have had a very good innings- my hair has still not gone grey and I have flirted with lots of young men, and still do. I feel very blessed by the appreciation of my sexiness by men and I hate the thought of that disappearing. My husband adores me and would HATE me to have a facelift. But I am tempted. Jake is not against Thermage so perhaps I could do that. We shall see. Why can’t I just accept my wrinkles? Why can’t I just love myself anyway. One way I can look at it is that I am still alive and despite a few illnesses, reasonably fit. There are so many overweight people here and I find it hard to see the person behind the fatness. Here is a photo of Jake and me on board.
Jake says that wrinkles don’t stop him loving the real me. When I turned 70 I asked people on FaceBook to tell me what was good about being 70. Tom Mills (my lovely toyboy flirt of 18 years old) said ‘Eva, you will still be you!’ So, who am I? Who lives in this old bag of wrinkles?? I remember my mother freaking out in her late 30s- who is going to love this old woman?? So, I guess that gives me a clue, like her I am too identified with my image- and this is made worse by living in such an image obsessed society.
Someone on Facebook said I looked like Meg Ryan, so I looked her up
‘Before or after her facelift?’ I asked. I decided she was not a good advert for a facelift, whereas Jane Fonda looks great.
I do like looking at older women who take care of their appearance. There are many on instagram.(#sizzling70s) There were were many on that cruise, who had just let themselves go. But they seem quite happy about it and didn’t seem to care. However, I did see a woman in her early 70s at the bar, looking fabulous in a backless dress. I gave up wearing backless a while ago thinking it didn’t look good. So, my next blog is about what to do about backs and arms in your 70s. Do I dare wear a backless dress?