Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Ageless Beauty

Joan Rivers

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

This is a true story, for women of all ages, to think about before running to a specialist to make them artificially look younger.

We all know the saying: “beauty is from within.” We are told that it is a woman’s persona, not her face or her age, which makes her beautiful. It is her personality, the mix of charm and warmth that makes her shine. We know this is true – to a point.

When push comes to shove we know the word “youth” is attached to everything from A to Z. A “young woman” in her mid thirties is running to her “beauty maven” to fill her face with injections of Botox and collagen. After having a child, she has a tummy tuck. From exhaustion as a mom or career woman she has her eyes done and by mid or late forties she is off to “the best” plastic surgeon for her “first” facelift. Am I right or am I right?

“Young women” are just as crazed with the mirror as us older grand dames, except for one 93 year-old woman: my mother.

The other night my husband and I were leaving our building for an evening out. There were four very old women in the lobby, one of them, my mother. Every Saturday night seven of her girlfriends meet for dinner. They are all widows and childhood friends. I have known them since I was little. The youngest is 86 and the oldest is my mother, at 93.

I could not help looking at them as I walked over to give my mother a kiss. All of them had one or more facelifts except for my mother – a lady who stands her ground! She had her eyes done when she was in her forties and was told at the time that the puffs under her eyes were hereditary. I knew better, even at my young age, but just smiled to myself and nodded.

Nonetheless, and I might be biased, but I swear my mother was the most beautiful of the four women, it was so obvious. Her girlfriends’ faces were all pulled and smooth but you knew they were “old.” Their hands were old. Their hair was thinning. Their statures were that of old women. They weren’t fooling anyone except themselves.

On the other hand, my mother’s face showed her life. The crinkles around her eyes and her smile lines made her face soft: her blue “unbagged” eyes sparkled! Her entire persona lit up the lobby of our building. She looked young compared to her friends with their pulled faces, who had lost their real smiles from all the tucks and pulls. Not my mother though, she was (and is) truly a beautiful “old” woman with the same smile I remember as a little girl.

So to my young friends, as well as my older friends, “be careful what you wish for.” A nip here and a tuck there, a little Botox and collagen and even a peel to rid yourself of sun-tanned lines might uplift your spirits as you deal with aging in a society that places so much emphasis on staying young as long as possible – but you aren’t fooling anyone.

The moral of this story is to know when to draw the line. At what point can you be comfortable enough with yourself to revel in your own beauty at any age? You are beautiful; don’t forget that. But, if you have the courage to go through the natural process of aging, like my mother, you will not regret it. Your natural beauty will shine brighter than any smoothed wrinkle or tummy tuck. This I promise you.