Oscar blindness

I have to admit I do not know many of the actresses of the day. But as I looked at the pictures of the Oscars, I wondered: do many people feel this crop compares, in beauty, to Helen Mirren at 62, Charlotte Rampling at 63, or even Jane Fonda at 75?

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19 thoughts on “Oscar blindness

  1. As a 56 year old (divorced) woman, I often feel more beautiful than I did when I was young.
    I believe this is because I am more comfortable with who I am now.
    This allows me a great freedom in my love/sex life.

    I have a man in my life who truly appreciates me. He has asked me to show my age and let my gray hair grow out.
    I am not ready to do this and feel I would look “old”…
    HELP!

    • One imagines that Helen Mirren felt the same way when her first grays appeared. Why not let your hair grow out a bit and see what it looks like? It may be far more beautiful than you can imagine. If you don’t like it you can always slap on the Clairol (or l’Oreal, because I’m sure you’re worth it).

  2. I used to feel that way too, and covered the streak of gray that started in my early thirties. Who wants to look like Ursula the Sea-Witch? And then I met a man a couple of years ago who wanted me to leave my gray as it was. I was skeptical, wondering why he didn’t wish me to continue to look young. Didn’t that make him look good as well, having a youthful woman that many others desire? But the transformation was not from a fairy to a witch. It was from a princess to a queen. There is infinitely more in that queen-like smile, and it draws the attention of a very different crowd–men and women–who now I would want as friends, rather than the ones who were drawn to me as a young woman. So I kept the gray, as well as this man.

  3. You make it sound easy, but I would guess that it was quite a struggle before you allowed yourself to let the gray show. I’m thrilled that it worked out for you.

    The patterns of gray (or silver, which sounds much better) hair that first emerge are often very interesting and sometimes wonderfully dramatic. I love seeing women on the street with long variegated hair; occasionally I say something to them about it (though I’m always worried that they will think me a masher).

  4. The struggle! We women always struggle. Who cares to recount the details? It is the hope of triumph that keeps us going. And when we don’t worry much about failure – since I can always go back to hide my silver again in this case – we become fearless.

    Interesting enough this round, it was the struggle of who should I put more faith in, Him or me. I had chosen him for his intelligence, maturity, and wisdom. So I convinced myself to give up my ‘youth’ and boldly step into ‘old-age’, hoping it won’t hurt too much. Yeah, it took as much courage as walking into the fire with the probable God, and hoped that my faith, or rather, my instinct was correct, that this beard guy was indeed God himself. I lucked out. And then I was rewarded with the divine transformation.

    But the struggles do get easier each round after that, as a fact.

  5. I turned grey quite young … starting as just a salt & pepper in my late 30’s … and since have grown to have a certain pride in it – though now, as Dan points out, it’s silver. I think of it as that certain patina that we gain as we age … gain in so many ways. And I’ve had men in my life all along and all have voiced approval. So march on, Sherri!

  6. Braving the salt & pepper of outrageous fortune when it first happens is not as hard as stopping dying your hair. You get the clear division between the Clairol & the real thing, and it’s not attractive. It looks as if you’ve given up on the ashes of your youth, when actually, you’re embracing the silvery ash.

  7. Isn’t that why the apothecary told you, fateful years ago: “Go ahead, honey, the first one’s free”? He knew it would eventually end in rehab: long vacations, short hair-do’s, or months of inane remarks. (Unpleasant. But consider what happens to us: it all falls out, then we die.)

    It sounds as if you have crossed over to the Other Side. Are you happy there?

    • I’m not quite there yet. Crossing gracefully from dyed hair to natural hair is more arduous than just slapping on some hair color at home. Or is it just me?
      Here’s a different path to a crowning silver glory. My hair is longish now, so while it’s growing in, in order to dispel the humiliating rumor that I’ve been dying my grey hair brown, I spend hours in a salon making the dyed hair look grey! To obtain those lovely variegated shades of silver, my hairdresser combines strands of artificial silver, light brown, & blond with w/my own grey, white & brown roots. I have no problem with looking older; I do have a problem with all this maintenance, & look forward to the grey day when I’ll never see the “color artist” again!
      (Charlotte, age 20, recently unveiled her first grey hair. I think I had the wrong reaction. I shrieked dramatically. The poor thing looked so stricken, I had to reassure her that I was joking. I love young women with silver hair!)

      • So that’s why I always see Bentleys with license plates like “IDYEEM” and “GRAYKLLER”! Whatever the source of your distaste at letting your seams show, it must be very strong. Has your mother weighed in on this? I’m hearing that mothers can be the most vociferous opponents of their daughters allowing their foliage to turn. I imagine it is because it makes the mothers officially a generation older. That’s how my mother felt when my beard turned gray/silver/white. (And it’s amazing how many women of our parents’ generation still have their original hair color!)

        Now that you’ve experienced this ordeal, had you another go, would you do anything different, or on a different timetable? If Charlotte does not turn into Jean Harlow in a few years, what will you counsel her? To let the gray fill in as it may, even if she thinks it makes her look older? Or to dye, to sleep, perchance to dream? (She probably has a more radical solution, and whatever it is, she’ll make it work.)

  8. Thank you Amy!
    When I’m ready to take the plunge I will do it your way…not there yet but I do love gray hair when it looks good.
    I’m not scared of showing my age, it’s just that my grays are not a great color.

    • Why smear your grays that way? They might be like the bark of the shimmering aspen. It’s impossible to know. They first emerge adulterated with, and surrounded by, hair that is darker and comfortable to your eye. Apollo couldn’t mix a color that would please in such a situation.

      I still say: let it grow and see what happens. There is no risk (except perhaps from YOUR mother). You may end up with dramatic ribbons of silver flowing back from your temples like spume from the bow of a yacht in the brunette-dark sea.

  9. Back to my (by now boring) crowning glory: I must not have expressed myself well. I am letting my formerly dyed hair turn grey. There is no resistance at all; the streaks of grey & light brown are put over the old dark hair dye in order to look like my real, grey hair that’s growing in from the roots.
    Of course my mother used to discourage the natural hair color thing, but once I pry her fingers from my ankles & quiet her sobs, she cools it. Charlotte doesn’t like it, not b/c of the aging aspects, but b/c it clashes with her inner image of her mommy.

  10. There was an article in the British newspaper Mail about Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, who were caught by paparazzi walking their dogs (“Arthur and Lulu” — now that’s journalism!) and holding hands. They are as “in love as ever” after twenty years. Beneath the four large photos of the same scene, shot from different vantages in the parking lot, was this comment:

    “While Ted has embraced his white hair in recent years, the Back To The Future III actress looked incredibly youthful with her brown hair.” [He is 65, she 60.]

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