65 Can’t Come Soon Enough


by guest blogger Renee James, humorist and blogger

A few years ago, I wrote a column addressing what I thought was the nadir of women’s self-esteem in the early 21st century. The topic was “hand-plumping,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a procedure that injects fat into your hands. It delivers a more youthful-looking appearance to hands that have grasped, carried, held, and caressed for decades, hiding veins and other telltale signs of…well…life.

Then I discovered that hands aren’t the only appendages women despise. We hate our feet, too.  Before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t about pedicures, including the perfect shade of polish as you get ready to slip your feet into sandals.

No, I’m talking surgery. Procedures called “toe tucks” and “foot facelifts” that fall within a category some people call “Cinderella surgery.” I don’t have the will to explain them in detail, but a toe tuck shortens and “slims” a baby toe so that wearing high heels can be more comfortable. A “foot facelift” somehow narrows your whole foot. Another procedure shortens the length of toes, most often toe number two, so your feet will look more “attractive” in your sandals.

The problem—as if the fact that some women covet these procedures isn’t enough—is that unlike some cosmetic surgeries, they are entirely without merit. People who care for the health of our feet are horrified. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) states, “Cosmetic foot surgery should not be considered in any circumstances, and the Society does not condone its practice.” Score one for sanity.

I was still shaking my head over the sad state of women’s foot-despair when I came across an article that felt relevant. New Scientist combined elements from photographs of eight women with “unusually large” feet to create a composite facial image and then did the same thing using eight photos of women with “smaller” feet. They revealed that—surprise!—men are more attracted to women with small feet.

I know, right? Will this ever end? The answer is no; no, it won’t. Not only did men prefer the image made up of the faces of the women with smaller feet, but the competition wasn’t even a close: They chose the smaller-feet composite face three-and-a-half times more often than the other face, and were 10 times as likely to label the image as “more feminine.”

Fun fact: When conducting the same experiment with women—creating composites of men for women to judge—the results weren’t quite as clear. Women seemed to like men with large wrists, whom they viewed as better sex partners than life partners. Men with smaller wrists were deemed better long-term partners. Really, ladies? Wrists? I can’t even…

AOFAS warnings notwithstanding, this is exactly the kind of research that will have some women running—while they still can—to their podiatrists. They’ll consult on how to make their feet thinner or get their toes reshaped so they can be even more “attractive.” Who cares about the 26 bones and 33 joints in their feet, not to mention the 100-plus muscles, tendons, and ligaments? The last thing any woman needs is competition from another woman wearing size-5 Manalos on her adorably tiny feet.

I may need a scorecard to keep this straight. Legs: long, lean, and featuring a perfect “thigh gap.” Abs: stretchmark free, practically concave, and rock hard. Breasts: larger is better than smaller; higher is better than lower. Hands: plumped and vein free. Butt: full, round, and defined (but not fat.) Nose—and now feet: smaller and/or slimmer. Nails: manicured and polished. Hair: shiny and frizz free. Eyebrows: sexy. (Nope. I have no idea. I just keep reading about “sexy” eyebrows.) Face: smooth and radiant, and with a cute little dimple or two added if you can afford it. Teeth: super white. Got it.

Coming soon: the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle “lift.” Does that about cover it?

But there is good news in the midst of this quest for perfection. According to a Gallup poll, 66 percent of Americans age 65 or older “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they always feel good about their physical appearance. That’s fantastic. Just 10 years to go.

Renee-JamesRenee A. James works at Rodale Inc. and also wrote an award-winning op-ed column for The Morning Call, the Allentown, PA, newspaper, for almost 10 years. Her essays were included in the humor anthology, 101 Damnations: A Humorists’ Tour of Personal Hells (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), and are also found online at Jewish World Review and The Daily Caller. She invites you to Like her Facebook page, where she celebrates—and broods about—life on a regular basis, mostly as a voice in the crowd that shouts, “Really? You’re kidding me, right?” (or wants to, anyway), and she welcomes your suggestions, comments, and feedback to the mix.


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10 Responses to 65 Can’t Come Soon Enough

  1. Laura July 29, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    That’s why it’s best to stay away from media, fashion, trends…all that nonsense, fake, manufactured useless, expensive mind manipulation.
    Men run this world & a vast amount of it’s information, they need women more than we need them, (thankfully now that women can support themselves) & have cleverly convinced us otherwise.

    Best to find a partner who & avoids the same nonsense. Turn off the TV, avoid superficial, trendy magazines & LIVE for what REALLY matters!
    Love, compassion, nature….humanity & civilization is often very over-rated.

  2. Renee July 29, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    Thanks for your note of sanity, Laura. I’m all for looking and feeling your best but this just about did me in. We’re our own harshest critics, right?

    A dose of reality – and gratitude – goes a long way to ending this nonsense.

    Thanks again for your note.

  3. Alice Green July 29, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Well, 65 has come and gone for me. Since I’ve never worn makeup and have cut my own hair for the last 35 years, I’ve been “out of the loop” of this stuff my whole life. I’ve had plenty of major surgery, ugh, and would never want any kind that was not absolutely necessary for my health and life. The person who has made the most comments about how I look has been my sister. But, again, her words have ‘dented’ me a bit, but have not changed my way of living my own life The thing I’ve always been grateful for is that I wasn’t born a beauty. A plain Jane, as we’re called, doesn’t have that much to be unhappy about when we get old. It’s the really beautiful people who see the big change in their mirror and have a lot more to deal with regarding their looks in old age. When I look in the mirror, I just think, Thank God I’m still alive! And I doubt you have to wait until you’re 65, Renee, I’ll bet you are already just fine with your looks right now, and you look great in your picture! Thanks for encouraging others to be their own person and not trying to be what ‘someone’ else thinks they should be or should look like.

  4. Donna in Delaware July 29, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to keep yourself looking lovely, at any age, but people, I mean really?! Is there nothing we won’t do to defy age? Aging happens, deal with it. Ok, we don’t necessarily have to look like a hexenbiest. Honestly, live and love well, care for yourself properly and you won’t need all that fixing, spending gobs of money making others rich, when you’re just going to age anyway. I don’t know about most of you, but I certainly don’t want to look and dress like a 20-40 something when I am 65! I saw a woman the other day at Longwood Gardens walking around in 4 inch heels. She had to be every bit of 72 years old and could barely put one foot in front of the other. She wore a leopard print skirt and a plunging fitted top. Her skin looked awful because she had a deep tan. She was petite, it was a sorrowful sight.

    We must realize that not every little thing that we do to ourselves becomes us. You don’t have to look old, or old-fashioned, just be age appropriate. If you are 60, and happen to look like a 30 something, without enhancements, that’s different. Most of us isn’t that fortunate. I worked with a young woman in the 80’s that I thought was 18-20yrs. old. I found out she was 50 and had 3 teenage children. I almost fell through the floor. She dressed older and I wondered why. It happens, but rarely. So, be what you were made to be, sometimes with a little bit of help. Like LAURA said, don’t pay attention to this garbage. It’ll only make you go broke, and maybe, (trying to keep up) out of your mind after that!

  5. Rick July 30, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Not sure how vaginal tightening and anal bleaching didn’t make it to your madness scorecard.
    Great column as always.

  6. Renee July 30, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Yikes! No, thank you.

    A few years ago I wrote about something called Va-Jazzling. It involved carefully placed crystals and glue….I’ll leave it there for now. That was enough for me.

    But thanks for your kind words, Rick.

  7. Lacy July 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Really enjoyed this post! And I will keep my Size 10 feet just the way they are because our feet are usually cued to how tall we are. I like my 5’10” height and if my feet were smaller, I am pretty sure I would tip over!!

  8. Donna in Delaware July 31, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Don’t forget inner labia reconstruction! There is a famous surgeon in California that does this for a living, and what a living he’s making for himself!!

  9. Renee July 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    This is getting so weird, even for me.

    The truth is: I’m not AT ALL opposed to cosmetic surgery. I’ve had it, and I don’t regret it.

    Like the people who have shared comments here, I AM opposed to specious, pathetic, just plain outrageous “fixes” that feed off insecurity and possibly fear of abandonment or rejection, particularly felt by women it seems.

    We are not one of us perfect. Not one. “A lid for very pot” as Antoinetta Perruso (my grandmother) so wisely told me once when I broke up with a boyfriend. “He wasn’t your lid.” (Or my pot – I can’t quite remember but she was right.)

    Thanks so much for all the shared wisdom, everyone.

  10. Nancy August 5, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    As usual you made me laugh right out loud. Thanks, lady!

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