I must congratulate Time magazine on its shameless promotion of gerontophobia – or the morbid fear of getting old.
It’s currently running an interview with the trussed-up, painted Charla Krupp, author of the snappily titled How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better (Springboard). Charla betrays an unusual fear of decaying in real time – even for a former beauty director of Glamour. “There's no reason to look like an ‘OL,’ or old lady, in Krupp's parlance, when you can look Y & H — younger and hipper, that is,” natters the compliant writer Andrea Sachs in the catalogue-style that passes for magazine journalism these days. The cosmetic advertisers will be pleased.
“A really thick temple is really hot,” declares Charla of spectacle frames. “They don't say anything, those classic frames. They just say old. A young person, a teenager or a 20-year-old, who wears glasses would not wear one of those rimless frames.” That's right, suck the life out of those bastard youngies and soak up their natal wisdom. Another age-defier is white teeth – “Young kids have big, white shining teeth,” she declares. Seen the guys in the Kaiser Chiefs lately? – teeth like those of a camel. Simon Cowell has bleached teeth, but he just looks like a middle-aged man with white teeth, that’s all. Her sermon on the mount is simple: “I think we can fight like hell to do everything we can to look younger.”
It would be most strange if someone wrote a book called How To Look look Less Black/White or Effortless Ways To look More like A Heterosexual. Charla’s simply puffing bigotry – it’s just that in a youth-soaked culture we imagine she’s speaking pragmatic sense. Of course there’s ageism in the work place! So let's pander to it - get rimless specs and give one less reason for firing you!
I was watching Gok Wan’s How To Look Good Naked last night on TV and he wisely persuaded an unconfident bleached blonde in her late 40s to look younger by dressing older – her ghastly ‘70s youthtful clobber of denim, white and sparkle simply drew attention to her age in an aesthetic clash of expectation. Gok talked about class, how to use age for a chic re-modelling. He’s got the right attitude. Look at the individual requirement, not the cunting age. Old Charla needs to address her age phobia and see a psychiatrist.
Such a person ought not to be encouraged to flaunt prejudice in public places.