The help desk: A case of fading beauty

 

Q. At 38, I'm becoming fixated about losing my looks. I know there are so many worse problems to have, but privately, I mind like hell and I seem to have lost all my confidence. I've always been good-looking – I come from a good-looking family – and I admit I have taken advantage of this at times.

But every day I seem to notice another sign of ageing, and I'm starting to appreciate the advantages beauty has given me, in my work – I work in (though not on) TV – and my love life (I have been single for more than two years). Suddenly it all looks so fragile. I never thought I would consider Botox, surgery etc, but I'm now wondering. I feel a real sense of loss and I just don't know how to deal with this.

A. I once read an interview with Nora Ephron, screenwriter and author of a terrific book about ageing, I Feel Bad About My Neck. Then in her sixties, she admitted that yes, though she was sanguine about ageing, she did often wish she was 40 again. Forty? I was 40 at the time and not exactly celebrating. But this did put my decrepitude in a new light.

Take it from one with considerably more years on the clock: at 38, you're in your prime, like Miss Jean Brodie (though I dare say the Brodie-as-role-model thing should stop right there). But I know that doesn't help much when you're still mourning 25.

Ageing is hard, especially for women, and especially since we belong to a generation that seems to have decided to airbrush it away – can anyone remember what 38 is actually supposed to look like? And it must be worse for the likes of you, as you're a bit of a looker. You have got used to doors swinging open, waiters hovering, lovers queueing round the block.

So of course you have a sense of loss. But I think it's not your looks that are the big loss (I bet you look pretty fabulous actually), it's your mojo. It wasn't beauty that opened doors for you at work, but the shedloads of sass and confidence that went with it. These, you can get back. Your youthful looks, not so.

We both know you don't want Botox, surgery etc. You're feeling down because you feel you don't look like you any more – and these "fixes" will only make matters worse. Don't let the cosmetics industry persuade you that ageing is optional.

As for your love life, I take it you're not happy that you're single. But as a lifelong beauty, you may not have had the chance to discover that when it comes to love, looks aren't everything. Thank goodness. Try making a list of the people you know who have the greatest pulling power. My own list includes a lovely mix of mingers, wild cards and the wilfully style-free. Some people just have that je ne sais quoi. Maybe, with a head start like yours, you've never really got in touch with your particular je ne sais quoi. So you could see this as an opportunity.

Your problem shared

Have a dilemma? email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to louisa at thehelpdesk@ independent.co.uk

News
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts during a news conference in Zurich June 1, 2011
news
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
News
peopleKatie Hopkins criticises River Island's 'seize the day' bags for trying to normalise epilepsy
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

    £30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

    Guru Careers: Account Executive

    £18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada