Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How To Be Paranoid About Getting Old

As I said last time, I just finished reading "How Not To Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better" by Charla Krupp.(How's that for a mouthful?)

Her introduction is called "Forget Aging Gracefully" and she spends several pages discussing how awful it looks to get old and how likely a woman is to get kicked out of her job if she doesn't look as trim and beautiful as the younger women around her. I'm not sure I agree, but I guess considering she has spent her career as fashion editor at various magazines, she may have a point, at least in her own case.

The basis of the book is spread in large letters across pages two and three:

We're not going to grow old gracefully (or gratefully.)

We're not going to celebrate our wrinkles (you've got to be kidding)

We're not going to join the Women Who Had Too Much Work Done club (like our mothers and their friends.)

We're not going to look old.

From there she gives you a quiz to discover your maintenance level: High, Medium, or Low. I fell somewhere between Medium and Low. For example, on question 9:

You wash your face with:
a. whatever your dermatologist prescribes.
b. a prestige brand cleanser
c. whatever's in the soap dish

I have a nice cleanser, but it's not a "prestige brand," so I don't exactly fit.

Or number 12:

Your handbag that you tote day in, day out
a. is one of several must-have bags of the moment.
b. is the one new bag you buy every season.
c. is the same one you've used for years.

My purse is one of three or four that I switch between, depending on the season, and I get a new one when one wears out. Where does that answer fit?

The author classifies herself as High Maintenance and freely tells us that her yearly upkeep runs $7,398.

The rest of the book is chapters on specific things you can do to look younger, such as wearing bangs, lightening your hair color (a "must" for woman over forty, she says), whitening your teeth, changing your makeup, updating your hemlines, or not wearing too much jewelry. The purpose here is to learn to look "Y&H" (young and hip) and NOT "OL" (old lady).

Much of the advice is actually good, and there are pictures of celebrities, and an occasional "real" woman, to prove it, although her insistence on NO wrinkles, NO gray (or even dark) hair is annoying.

The best part is that every chapter includes options for High Maintenance, Medium Maintenance, and Low Maintenance, which is helpful. In the chapter on Managing Your Wrinkles, her list of "Brilliant Buys" for Moisturizers includes choices such as Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 Daily UV Moisturizer for $13.99, Estee Lauder Hydra Complete Multi-Level Moisture Creme for Dry Skin, $40, and Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Cream, $360.

However, in the chapter on updating your eyewear, here are the choices:

High: Updating your eyewear every season is de reguer. It's no different than buying new shoes and bags. You need a pair of glasses for the office, for the weekend, and for black-tie events. And then there are sunglasses, sports glasses, driving glasses, lazy-Sunday-afternoon glasses... Go to the chicest boutique in town and do one-stop shopping.

Medium: Update only one category a year in your wardrobe of frames for work, play, and dressy occasions. Go to the chicest boutique in town to research the frames you want, then shop smart online. Bring the frames to your optician and have the lenses put in.

Low: Buy one pair of super-chic glasses that serve all your needs. To save on the frames, buy hip reading glasses at a department store or specialty shop, bring them to the optician, and have your prescription popped in. To save on sunglasses, consider transitional lenses.

This is pretty typical of the kinds of advice she gives. The HIGH option is so off the charts that I can't imagine anyone who could really do it. My glasses cost me about $500 a pop. To buy six new ones every season is an expenditure I don't even want to think about. However, I will say that if you are used to spending three to five hundred on a new bag or a pair of shoes every few weeks, then it may not seem that outlandish to you, so go for it.

The LOW option is most likely impossible. Those cheap drugstore frames will not have the lens template for your optician's lab to use to cut the lenses. Yes, they could just use the original lenses for a pattern, but then the new lenses will be too big for the frame. Even if you come in with an old pair of glasses that you bought from them, if the frames are too outdated, they will not be able to put new lenses in for you, because they have thrown away the templates. (Ask me how I know.)

In summary, If all you want is some ideas for staying fresh looking as you age, this book isn't it.

However, the book follows its premise very well. If you despise the idea of looking older, you will find a lot of practical advice and pep-talking.

Say it with me: We will NOT get old! You can do it! There's no place like youth! There's no place like youth!


Christina Lee said...

I have heard tons about this book- thanks for the summary-dont think I'll buy it ;)

Jeff'sGirl said...

I think I must come under the "low maintenance" category, or maybe lower. Ack! I must not be expressing my womanhood!!!

orneryswife said...

hmm. Interesting!