Nancy Roman

Don’t Laugh. (Or Blink.)

I am on a quest.

Well, several, really. I am a seeker of knowledge,of love, of joy.

And, of beauty.

My heart warms at a sunset, a lovely photograph, or a baby’s smile. Flowers lift my spirit. A cello can make me cry.

And since I was a little girl, I have sought personal beauty too. I’m not a natural beauty. My face is as round as Charlie Brown’s. And I have fine hair, close-set eyes and thin lips. But I can look pretty with some work. And there is no limit to the amount of work I am willing to do to look as pretty as I can.

I thought as I got older I would be able to relax a little about my looks. And to some extent I have. Because I have become more accepting of my flaws, and willing to believe (a little) that I am beautiful in my own way.

But I find that I am more determined than ever to look my best at all times. And as I get older, everything takes longer. I spend more time on my hair. More time on my makeup. I spend more time on beauty maintenance than on meal preparation. I am worried that soon I will need to spend more time on my beauty routine than on my beauty sleep.

Years ago, when I used to go to France on business once a year, I learned from French women that it pays better beauty dividends to spend more  (effort and money) on your skin than on your makeup. I didn’t worry about that so much fifteen years ago. But now I see the truth of it. Sixty year old skin needs great pampering.

So I am on a quest for great skin. At sixty, that means wrinkle reduction.

I have the normal amount of wrinkles and age spots for sixty.  In the right light (dim) even less than normal. I am determined to keep it that way.

The wrinkle-reducing, youth-endowing creams are plentiful.

Here are some ads from recent magazines:

This is obnoxious. I don’t think these ads are promoting skin cream. They are promoting airbrushing. I guess I don’t need moisturizer. I need photo-shopping.

These girls have never used any of their facial muscles. They have never smiled, never spoken, never blinked. And they’re models, so of course they never eat either.

And the two of them added together are still younger than me. If you’re selling anti-aging lotion, why is the model nineteen?

So I looked for an ad with an “older” woman. One who can show me what my skin may actually look like.

I found this one:

A nice picture of the bottle. A hazy photo of a lady in a 1949 hairdo and bathing suit. Yup, that’s what I look like.  Only I CAN”T SEE HER SKIN!

Here’s an older woman. Julia Roberts.

Okay, she’s not sixty, but she’s forty-three, so that is much closer than the teenagers above. She could have the beginning of wrinkles. She smiles a lot.  With a really big mouth too. That should make for laugh lines. But she doesn’t have any.  Not because of the “miracle” makeup. British regulators won’t even let this ad run. It was decided that this ad misrepresented what the product could do, because the photo-shopping was too blatant.

Ah, but L’Oreal has hired Diane Keaton as their new “face.”  And she’s sixty-five. Perfect! I want to look like her anyway. She is so cute! (for sixty-five.)  And here’s the ad from this month’s More magazine:

She has some lines around her eyes.  Around her mouth. Her hand looks like my hand. This is something I can aspire to. She’s lovely. Now that’s a realistic product.

Only, this is the real Diane:

Wow! That new moisturizer is fabulous! Hundreds of wrinkles have just disappeared!  I am going to order it by the case!


  1. bigsheepcommunications

    The real secret here is to appreciate the beauty of the real Diane AND the real you.


  2. Did you ever get a glamor shot taken? I did it for my husband’s 40th birthday. It is still among my husband’s favorite pictures of me. Maybe I should make it my new gravatar in honor of his birthday next week. hmmmm…should I or shouldn’t I? Thank you for writing about all us “notquiteold’s” wonder about.


  3. When you find the miracle cure be sure to share.


  4. I hear you. I happened across one of those ads a while ago and stared at it for a few seconds before I realized what was bothering me. The model had no nose! They’d Photoshopped it so much that all you could see were a couple of holes in her face. Yikes!

    I agree with Georgette about the glamour shot. I had one done last year. I’m finally back in bikini shape after all these years, and I wanted evidence of my pushing-fifty but still hot (I like to think) body. You’re absolutely right about the good lighting. When I saw the pictures, I complained, “You airbrushed out all my wrinkles – I didn’t want to look like I was sixteen!” And she said, “Those are the proofs. They’re not retouched yet.”

    In daylight, you can see my cracks and crevices from across the room, so I’m thinking our issue isn’t finding the right cosmetics, it’s finding the right lighting. Maybe a sexy hat with some electronics in the brim… 🙂


    • I think soft lighting should be mandatory everywhere. And a soft-focus lens on every camera.


      • At least our vision starts failing us about the time our looks might need a little “work.” One of nature’s kindnesses!


  5. I spend a moderate amount of time on make-up. (I’ve never used liquid make-up, but I’ve used eye shadow, eye-liner and mascara since my early teens.) Guess I’m hoping people will look at my eyes instead of my wrinkles!


  6. Me too! By the case! I’m only 46, so by the time I’m 65 I should look about 23. Perfect.


  7. Honestly? I love the ‘real’ Diane. Just as she is. Forget the airbrushed photoshopped ad.
    But that doesn’t mean that I’m not a sucker for that just-right moisturizer..that promises perfection!!!


  8. WHY do they think we all have to look the same? Diane Keaton looks absolutely lovely the way she is!

    So do you by the way!


    • Thank you. I have (to a small extent) accepted my flaws. But you know, if the right lotion could make them go away….


  9. Ads sell products that you’re supposed to buy because you’re flawed and the product will fix you. Pish posh! First, you’re not flawed and second, the product will not fix the supposed flaw. You’re right–PhotoShop is what you need to look fake, er, perfect.

    I am a perfectly imperfect human. I make mistakes and parts of me look worn from over-smiling or over-worrying. They are the signs of my life etched on my very own temple. Why would I want to laser them away or cut them off? Yes, I want to look my best, but MY best, not someone else’s version of perfection.

    Your beauty is for you to behold. Start beholding!


  10. Luckily, I have a husband who calls me Mrs. Beautiful, even when I don’t have a lick of make-up on. Wish I liked the way I look as much as he does! I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied. Since I’m retired and don’t leave the house a lot except to go for walks or to the Y, I only wear make-up on the weekends when I’m with my husband. But I sure do like how much better I look when I wear it. Great post!


  11. And the names for all the moisturizers? Are they kidding?


  12. Doc

    I really feel for you women. Being a man is soooo much easier. I am not the least bit self-conscious about my wrinkles or smile lines. And I’m not the least bit vain. In the mornings my only beauty routine is to put my hair on and I’m out the door!


  13. Ha! I always feel like you’re on the same wavelength as me – yesterday I was obsessing over this because I woke up to one of those skin care infomercials. I was two seconds away from ordering this 3-step kit (and I never order As Seen on TV stuff) because I’m worried I should start doing something. I could give up vodka and that would probably help more, but let’s not be ridiculous here.


    • No, Jules. Do what I do – really step UP the vodka consumption and you’ll always look fab to yourself.


      • Now there’s an approach I can wobble, er, stand behind.


  14. I have graduated to ads for lasers. I always read down to the part where the ad says there is very mild discomfort. Last time my doctor told me that was when I had my appendix out and was on pain meds for 2 days!


  15. Amen! I’m so tired of the airbrushed pictures. Tired of botox and inflated lips as well. I, too, suffer from a round face, fine hair and a mixture of left-over freckles and lines. I didn’t take care of my skin where I was young either, but the older I get…drinking water is the cheapest, most effective skin treatment there is.


  16. What I’ve noticed in my periodic get-togethers with friends from high school, is that the ones who have kept their shape get the wrinkles. Those like me who became rounder, have fewer wrinkles. We all get something! You know what they say, “getting old ain’t for sissies.”


  17. Thank you for writing what I’ve been thinking for the longest time! I’m so tired and irritated by turning on the TV and seeing actresses my age and much older suddenly look MUCH younger–and much more bizarre–from plastic surgery. So sad that Diane Keaton’s natural beauty has to be airbrushed away and the moisturizer given all the credit.


    • I adore Diane Keaton. I don’t know why they felt they had to “enhance” her.


  18. Absolutely Enjoyed Knowing I Am Not Alone In This Journey………..Thanks!!!!


  19. Ya, this stuff makes me crazy too, although I can now see it for what it is. It used to drive me crazy when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and had horrible skin. It seems all of the women in the cosmetics ads are 12 years old. Crazy.


  20. Great post. I spend a lot of money on skin cream, and, if i’m honest, no seeming affect. I’ll keep buying, but keep this in ind at the same time.


  21. I’m told that the only thing that really works is a perscription retinoid. All the other stuff makes your money magically disappear.


  22. nailingjellotoatree

    “But I can look pretty with some work. And there is no limit to the amount of work I am willing to do to look as pretty as I can.” BWAHAHA…I almost snorted my coffee across the screen. Great writing.


  23. Let me know if it works. I am forty-three, and if my wrinkles keep up this pace I will look like Wonderbutt at 60.


  24. pharphelonus

    I think you are mighty lovely, Nancy, and am glad that men are not targeted by similar advertising. Well, unless you count those, um, enlargement ads …


  25. You know, I think it sad for our society that natural aging has become something to be ashamed of. I think Diane Keaton is beautiful, without the airbrushing. Beauty doesn’t really come from a bottle or a cream or even photoshop. It comes from within. And I can tell from your words that you are a beautiful person.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog today. 🙂


  26. Margie

    I wish the word beauty, as it applies to women’s looks, didn’t exist. Beauty is an industry designed to sell women insecurity.

    Here is a video that should make every women pause to think about the beauty industry. Click on the video called Evolution.


  27. Shandra



  28. I dislike airbrushing because it’s a LIE. You know that TV show Raymond (Ray Romano?) with the nosey mother who lives across the street? Suddenly she looked like one of those ads. It made it jealous but it also made my skin crawl. I think you have to be who you truly are. It’s not the REAL females who are sitting home by the phone, it’s the models. They look too perfect and unapproachable. I wonder why.

    Great topic and fabulous conversation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: