Age and the mirror

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A good haircut does wonders at any age – I only wish I had the face to go with it…

I had one of those uncomfortable epiphanies recently. In dire need of a haircut, as my long bob had grown out, I hightailed it to my hairdresser Tania and asked for something more radical. She obliged and I now have a gorgeous short bob with a wispy fringe and two big wings that cut across where my jawline would be, if I had one, almost identical to the bob I wore throughout my 20s.

It looks fantastic and I am gathering compliments (and apparently this cut is becoming known locally as ‘A Trish’). The only problem is, my hair looks a hell of a lot better than I do.

Welcome to the late 40s.

I have never much liked my looks and quite how little came home to me one day many years ago – about 20 in fact – when a caricature was drawn of me. I was at a PR bash, with about 80 people in the room, and the caricaturist chose me as the second subject. His first was a skinny red-head with Crystal Tips frizzy hair and massive glasses, and it suddenly hit home to me – I was obviously the second-most ridiculous-looking person in the room.

I managed a weak smile when the artwork was presented to me, but I asked my (then) boyfriend (now husband) to put it away and I never looked at it again except by accident. I would never destroy it – after all, it’s the fruit of someone’s labour and talent – but it was then, and is now, terribly depressing to look at the bug eyes and miniscule chin and think: is this really what I look like?

A caricature is an exaggeration, of course, but there is more than a nugget of truth in there. And with age, I look increasingly like the incipient Spitting Image that the artist spotted all those years ago – the rosebud mouth, the eyebags, the slightly mad stare that I recognise from my mother.

Back then, I looked like Edina from The Incredibles with my black bob (I rather think, actually, that she was modelled on Edith Head). Now, the bob is slightly choppier and, of course, blonde, but the facial features are more exaggerated and where, five years ago I could see myself in the mirror and flash back to that younger self, when I see myself now, I can flash forward to how I will look in old age. It is not a pretty sight.

Oh la. What can one do? As my skin’s relationship with my bones becomes increasingly distant, and wrinkles suddenly appear where there were none before (like wrists, elbows and ankles, good grief), my devotion to yoga and meditation become more necessary than ever.

And vanity-wise, my search for a decent lip pencil to draw back in a fake lipline becomes more urgent, along with finding a becoming shade of lipstick – perhaps something that matches my thread veins?

The search continues…

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