My Bibliography

Thursday, 29 September 2011

My Looks Went to the Shop and Never Came Back

An 1870s photo depicting a Tennessee man with a strong resemblance to the Oscar-winning actor is on sale. The seller claims Nicholas Cage is a Vampire.
Isn’t it funny?  When you look back at some old photos, pictures of yourself perhaps that you used to hate, but now would give anything to look like again?  Pictures of somebody else, it seems, that exists somewhere in another universe, a parallel that you visited only yesterday, but images of the past that have you wondering just how you traversed the gaping hole between then and the present?  I realised that - not for the first time, it has to be said - this morning, as I tried to convince myself that one of the fitted shirts - the kind I’ve so loved to wear my entire life - needed to come off again, a not so figure (or physique if you prefer) hugging one required instead, and even then a waistcoat (vest, if you’re north American) needing to go on top of it. 
I hated my entire life that people thought I was too slim.  I never was, not really, I just knew how to wear clothes, but they liked to say that, loved to buy me shirts for my birthday that would fit Barbie’s ex husband (you know the one she had before she went of on some women’s equality tangent that gave Action Man a run for his money?).   I still know how to wear clothes, unfortunately though, just not the kind I like, and in danger of becoming less inclined all the time; opting for comfort more and more and trying to convince myself that I don’t care.  I have a plethora of them, closets filled with great clothes, some of which I look at now that are not that old at all, and wonder who could ever fit into such things.  Ken, apparently.  For instance, I have brand new jeans that I bought earlier this year, and deliberately I chose a larger size than I actually took because it seemed that like my famous mood swings – something else, like my weight, always misinterpreted from the multi-faceted personality that they actually represented - my waist, or actually, that part between the hip and the belly for the waist is only where old men wear jeans - couldn’t settle on a fucking size from day to day.  I never have worn them; they cut into me like a wire cutting cheese – but then perhaps that’s the problem, cheese, and fat bastards like it.
And exactly why does it take only a few minutes for my hair to air dry these days? Huh? That’s what I want to know.  At least I still have some though, I tell myself; hasn’t gone grey yet, but it’s a constant reminder that one day, perhaps in the near future, I might have to reconsider that like I do my clothes choice now - which, unless I make a concerted effort in absolutely everything; diet, exercise, and coming to terms with buying extra large, will float across that gaping hole that I mentioned earlier, to become an enviable thing that belongs only in the past, mocking me from their non photo shopped photo albums, images of myself all screaming like banshees, asking just where is that promise I made to them that, when it was our turn, we’d age gracefully, do it with dignity.  And what was it they’d said then... the disclaimer, why would you care at that age anyway? Sadly, that might just be the truth of it, I find, as I’m starting to battle the bulge that I’ve long since been sanctimonious about when others said they can’t have a chocolate bar; my metabolism special,  not affected at all.  Karma’s a bitch right enough.
It’s increasingly easy, I find myself thinking, to adopt that attitude, about not caring, but caught between the last remnants of youth and the inevitable, the fighter in me still trying to hold on without looking like mutton dressed as lamb.  Yes, I do still care, for perhaps its not over yet.  People still tell me I look good, I don’t look my age.   But I wonder if subliminally I’ve fished for those compliments, skilled in the art of manipulation as I am?  Will I look back ten years from now and wonder just why the hell I wrote this blog entry?  Do I continue to be self unappreciative, because I do see, on occasion, some people younger than me who look old enough to be my father - well almost.  But then perhaps I won’t find the answer, for someone whom everyone used to say was very photogenic, even if I didn’t think so myself, despite the fact I used to jump in front of everyone’s cameras, invited or not, I hate getting my photo taken these days. Will there actually be a true record of this era, or will I simply see photographs that I’ll have forgotten I took away the frown between my eyebrows  from, the two lines that make my nose look like Pinocchio’s and that I have so rightly earned; being the deep thinker I’ve always been?
Or am I simply (still) being too self critical, yearning for days gone by because, in all my relative wisdom, would know how to utilise the gift of youthful beauty to its full extent these days?  I guess that is why they say, amongst other reasons, that youth is wasted on the young.  And it is; unfortunately, despite us all hearing that even when we are young, the most of us naively think ageing will never happen to us; that we will indeed live forever.  How foolish were we? And that is the nature of conversations these days; my lifelong friends and I asking such questions when we jealously, or perhaps if they’re more accepting than I, fondly, pore over the good times we had in the past; saying such things as look at my skin, my hair, my teeth, that smile, wow
But perhaps the real testament as to who I am today, is that I see beauty in ugliness, especially that in youth - even if I do have a quiet snigger at the faux pas of their fashion sense, which secretly, at least sometimes, I’m actually jealous of for the reason that I do like them, but they are fashions I have at least the good sense to know I cannot wear at this age because I’ve worn them at some other point in my life; once, being the rule, apparently, too old to go there again by the time its recycled.  No, I can look at what I might once have considered an ugly youngster and see beauty there instead.  Every time. And so, despite an increasing intolerance with some things, maturity brings another kind of beauty, not aesthetic, but of wisdom, empathy, a parenting instinct, whether you have a child or not, but a sagacity, that if only youth could realise and embrace, would serve it well indeed – but then, that’s not the way of things, is it?
It made me feel better yesterday though, when someone said to me, it’s because you sit too close to your iMac when you take a photo; the glare showing every line, making your face look like a road map of Germany – okay that was my analogy, but whatever.  And even for all my apparent, wisdom, I knew they were right.  Why do I do that, sit right there in front of it?  Even TV stars in all their apparent beauty have to hire Massey Ferguson to deliver copious amounts of make-up they need to cake on for their close-ups on Hi-def TV these days.  What else is a remote keyboard and mouse for, if not to sit back and take a photo of your self from a safe distance?  Huh... perhaps ageing has another effect, perhaps, we become a bit absent-minded about these things, perhaps, we don’t really have the grasp on all this technology at all.  Or perhaps at heart, as young as it has remained, if nothing else, we don’t really care at all.  
In closing, for don’t even get me started on the skin, the jowls, the lack of gravity, what I want to know is, why those bastards who’ve mapped the fucking human genome haven’t come up with a pill that’ll rejuvenate our cells yet, don’t they know that time is getting on?  Who cares about FDA standards?  I’m willing to risk congestive heart failure and renal disease if there’s a chance of the elixir of youth finally coming of age instead – I’m headed down that fucking road anyway!  Or is that simply being reserved for the beauty of youth today, a generation that grew up with the term The Philosophers Stone - the alchemist claim of rejuvenation and immortality, lest you think it was something invented by J K Rowling.  Yes a generation who might just discover it, that might just be able to appreciate the beauty of their youth after all, with all the wisdom of an old fuck?  Yes, although it might not take a magic wand, if I really think about it, I can still look ten years younger, if I have a mind to, it’s all in the clothes you know, the haircut... but that’s just it, it’s not quite as easy to match youthful aesthetics with a mature state of mind.  Youth might be wasted on the young, but it doesn’t quite fit on the young at heart either.
Enjoy the groupon style (whatever that is; I’m too old to know) poem below.

Str8 Xchange 4 those Estranged - Swap ur Youth 4 Long in Tooth
Everythin’ an' Everybody absolutely SUCK? 

u, who waste ur life away, sense of meaning @ astray, have long since wished that u were dead, cut urself 'til ur wrists R red?  Wished that u were never born and spend ur life... like... all 4lorn?  Everythin' blows, it’s just not fair, express ur mood with blue-black hair?  

U don't NEED 2 put up withTHAT dude!

Wear weird clothes into school, but 1 way or another u ain’t kewl? Don’t u blieve it’s just a faze, that up ahead R sunnier days, we're here 2 tell u it just gets worse, that youth is really just a curse, but we’ll do u a favor and take ur angst, replace our dentures 4 trendoid fangs, and in exchange we’ll give 2 youse, the wealth and wisdom that age accrues, that spring of life u so resent, can b swapped right here 4 discontent.

Take the fast track; DON’T Git left Behind .......

Senility pardons all the rools, every1 thinks ur just an old fool, & it won't b long until u'll die, & u won't have 2 live or learn 2 fly.  It really will b so-oo much better, when u release urself from that youthful fetter.  So yes, we’ll swap sagacious wrinkles, 4 OMG teenage pimples, & no need 2 wish ur life away, or feel so desperately lonely; just reply by return 2 this ad 2day, and remember dude... like... serious enquiries only.

* Bonus*Bonus *Bonus **
4 those who dare 2 venture, and call thru May - December, we’ll throw in severe dementia,
so that ur youth u won't remember.
Y  W-A-A-A D-E thru a l-i-f-e-s-p--a---n......
  when u can simply curl up with a bedpan?

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