…that is, to B(otox) or Not to B(otox).
A couple of interesting articles in last week's (30.11.14) Sunday Times Style Magazine caught our eye.
The first was a debate between two women writers giving their opinions on the question "how much "anti-age" grooming is too much?".
Given our previous articles about the whole "anti-ageing" cosmetic treatment industry we imagined that there would be food for thought here. At last, given that the two writers were on opposing sides of the debate, here would be at least one person prepared to go public with an "anti anti-ageing cosmetic treatment" stance, and a willingness to age naturally.
The two writers - Kate Spicer, pro maximum treatment and Kate Saunders, pro minimum - put their cases and we prepared to feast on Saunders' natural way while spitting out the gristle of Spicer's position. Funny how things turn out - neither writer's attitude could be entirely embraced.
Saunders admirably damned the fact that "the old have been banned from television" and strongly disagreed with the opinion that "looking your age is the same as letting yourself go". Unfortunately, she also thought that nothing should be done to counter the ravages of time on areas other than the face, either. When she bemoaned the fact that her buttocks resembled a pair of "burst balloons" she didn't seem to appreciate that "burst ballons" are not just about the look, they are also about a lack of function. When it comes to your physical condition, form and function are to a large degree intimately entwined. If your buttocks look like that you haven't got buttock muscles, so neither have you got all the strength for movement that those muscles give you.
For example, World Champion age-group bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd started her career in bodybuilding when she needed to be independent enough to clear snow from her driveway. Not everyone needs to go as far as that in order to maintain functional independence but at least she can claim to have muscles that work. And again, when we interviewed 79-year-old yoga practitioner Betty Warner, she related that many of her friends were limited to living in bungalows as they couldn't manage stairs any longer, or could no longer have baths as they couldn't get into and out of them. That is what "letting yourself go" is really about. Several months ago we featured, in an article, a wearable "ageing suit", that inhibited movement, vision, hearing etc in order that one might experience in advance what classic ageing might feel like. I bet that after someone tried that on they'd be in the gym every day to avoid "letting themselves go".
Spicer, on the other hand, was accepting of the importance of working out with weights and doing resistance exercises, which is definitely a good thing. And she said that, within her admittedly onerous and expensive grooming regime, she has rejected Botox (Yay!) - but only due to her decision to use dermal fillers (Boo! Android Chic strikes again!). She makes some good points about "not giving up", and says that she doesn't want to look young she wants to look healthy - a good mantra. But injecting poisons and foreign matter into yourself - is that looking healthy?
We all want to look good as long as we can but we don't seem to come across (m)any people in public life who believe that looking good as older people is about having a strong and fit body and letting all that vitality influence your face. Kate Spicer does, as mentioned above, acknowledge the importance to successful ageing of working out, but fillers?! At 45?! If she takes that route at such a young age, what will be next? And will she keep up the working out when she's 60, 70 and beyond? Kate Saunders, who didn't regard allowing one's age to show on one's face as the ultimate sin, unfortunately also had no inclination towards keeping her body in (functional) shape. 54 is extremely young to be allowing your body to fall into such disrepair when there's such an awful lot of life left. How will she feel when she has to move into a bungalow?
The result? Maybe a score draw?
To move on…. the second article that caught our attention in the same issue of the Sunday Times Style Magazine described how nowadays many women are feeling the benefits of weight training. They're not scared that Popeye-style they'll have bulky great muscles popping out everywhere uncontrollably. They will just have more definition. The interviewees were mostly younger women, but hopefully training with weights will become a life-long habit. And in 30 or 40 years perhaps it will no longer be the case that we come across so many more stories for our web-site about men than we do about women once that kind of working out becomes more and more embedded into the culture of "womanity".