Ten Years Younger

Does anyone remember this show?  It had a short life span as part of the reality TV phenomenon.


The general storyline goes:  Someone nominates you for your frumptastic ways, not so much because you only wear items covered with turtles, but because you dress and look OLDER than you truly are.  This, friends, should be illegal. The camera crew, complete with hip yet empathetic host, places you in an elevated telephone booth (remember those?) in the center of a shopping mall.  Passersby are asked to estimate, from a healthy distance, how old you look.

I have  couple of problems with this, despite watching the show from time to time during its heyday.  While I enjoy seeing people get blessed by a couple of hours of pampering, I cannot stand the condescension inherent in the premise of the show.

“What?  You’re only 26?!  But you look like you could be a grandma!”

Yeah.  That blows.

So I’d forgotten all about the show until I got my hair cut and colored last week.  I wanted something with more red, using the Black Widow as my inspiration.

Can't you see the resemblance?

Can’t you see the resemblance?

Uh, so anyway, Scarlett Johansson is a natural blonde.  I’m not.  In fact, I’m an ashy medium brown with a pinch of red and gold.  Okay, that’s *after* highlights.  My mop’s a medium brown, curly of course.

My hair’s natural color made the dye take on a rather dark blackish color with some red highlights in the light. I watched the color lighten a little as it dried.  Sure got shiny, but I didn’t know if I liked it.  It seemed too dark for my skin tone.

As the fabulous stylist straightened it, she said, “Wow. You look 10 years younger!”

It gave me pause.

See, I only saw the updated color.  Nothing else about me had changed. No facelift, no facial, Botox, zip.

Immediately, questions bubbled up.  First, how old did I look before?  Apparently, I had one foot in the grave.  Maybe even two, shuffling off this mortal coil, dragging my grays behind me.

Secondly, did covering my gray hairs really make that much of a difference?  I’d decided years ago to make peace with them.  They have a silver cast to them and I like that.  The reason I get highlights or color at all is that going completely gray or silver means a loss of color. It saddens me. I love color.  And hair is so disposable.  It’s dead, right?  It keeps growing forever. Does something utterly dispensable carry the ability to age me?

The stylist was sincere.  She meant it as a compliment.  And I love a sincere compliment as much as the next girl. Yet, is younger truly better?  I know our youth-obsessed culture thinks so.  Does my chronological age matter?

At least I’m not standing like a bibelot in a display case while all of humanity passes by.  Or am I?

I think as women, we all are.  We’re judged continually on how we look.  The dazzling, youthful and vibrant get different treatment.  And you know what?  Men aren’t doing the judging nearly as much as us women.  I’m as guilty as the next gal.  We learn to do it from an early age, preferring the pretty over the plain.  I’m not proud of it and I’m learning to look beyond the pimples or perfect hair to the inner person. Because this ol’ bod – and hair – won’t pass the test of eternity.

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down — when we die and leave these bodies — we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. – 2 Corinthians 5:1-2


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