The 20 years between 35 and 40 are the most fascinating of a woman's life. I know this because I'm about to turn 39 for the sixth time. Aging is to women what Apollo 13 is to space travel; what kryptonite is to Superman. Show me a woman who is happy with her age and I'll show you the electroconvulsive-therapy scorch marks. Oh yes, you try to convince yourself that there are lots of older women who are still attractive. There's Goldie Hawn and who was that woman in The First Wives Club? Oh, hold on. That was Goldie Hawn.
The trouble is, men are facially prejudiced they judge a woman by her looks. For we females though, wordplay is foreplay. Hey, how else did Lyle Lovett snare Julia Roberts (however briefly)? But it's because of this Lookism that the self-esteem of the average female is lower than Paris Hilton's bikini line. It also explains why we huddle around the latest antiaging technique like an underground movement in touch with the free world. My IQ halves whenever I'm within the vicinity of a new beautifying procedure. And I'm not alone. Once a woman hits 40, she develops a chronic inability to say no to cosmetic surgeons. Puréed pig-erection injections? Yes, please. Ground sheep embryos in a handy, handbag-size dispenser? Hell yes. If beauty experts told us to eat our own pedicure shavings for an invigorated complexion, we'd damn well do it. Terrified of passing our amuse-by dates, women are having their eyes lifted, necks lowered, legs lipo'ed, lips collagened and brows Botoxed. Beauty, it would seem, is one of the most natural and lovely things that money can buy.
Desperate to avoid all lines (except Cunard), women are talking about Botox in the sort of reverential tones usually reserved for the miracle of birth or the second coming. I don't know about you, but I'm frowning because I can't believe what an idiot you'd have to be to do that. Why fear terrorism? Women are waging germ warfare on themselves, voluntarily, at fistfuls of dollars per pore. Equally alarming is a human tissue product. This treatment involves a sheet of collagen taken from dead people being fed through a mouth incision; giving you lips to die for, literally. Alternatively, a woman can take the fat from her bottom and inject it into her lips, so that she really is talking out of her behind. Not to forget liposuction the hoovering out of unwanted fat, despite the risk that doctors might accidentally suck out internal organs you're still using. Then there's the face-lift, where they just pull the skin right up over your head like a spandex polo. And here's the really worrying thing. A call to England's Royal College of Surgeons reveals that there are, as yet, few regulations about setting up a cosmetic surgery. Some of these doctors couldn't put a dressing on a salad.
It's time we girls got a grip. A stylish woman should never pick her nose. Especially from a catalog. If you are considering a little shopping and tucking, I have two sobering words for you: they are Michael and Jackson. Bottom line would you really want to attract the sort of superficial bloke who only wants you because you're silicone from tit to toenail? Climb onto that time-consuming hamster wheel of self-improvement, and you'll become so dull, even your houseplants will file for divorce.
There is a fine line between beauty regimes and mental illness. Skin, after all, only has one real function to stop your insides slopping out all over the place. As for you boys, it's time you allowed women to come of age in the public arena with wrinkles and self-esteem intact. Like you do. Sure, there has been an increase in male demand for cosmetic surgery, but the average bloke has lines and women are happy to read between them. Doesn't Jack Nicholson still get the girl? For men, every cloud has a silver-haired lining.
And speaking of gray, it is, in fact, the very best thing about us the substance between our ears. That is the only truly unique part of our bodies. And if you flex that mental muscle, you'll realize that aging is nothing more than a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.