The way I feel about my appearance has changed in my 60s… and I like it 46



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When I met the man I’d later marry, we were in tropical Papua New Guinea. It is a hot, sweat-inducing place and I couldn’t wear makeup. It just slid off.

Back in the south, working, I went the usual way – I’m female so it was incumbent on me to look my best. Retired, I don’t wear makeup except on the rare dress-up evening out. Glittery ear rings, eye shadow, lipstick, but that’s it. No one has recoiled in horror so I figure I must look reasonably okay.

Just recently, on Starts at 60, there was an article: ‘New Year, New Body’. I wondered if for a change it might be aimed at men? Ha!

Sub-headings: the body beautiful, emphasise your best features… exercise more, wear the clothes that enhance your figure, the best bra, improve your posture…

Who is this for? What about the woman with a scarred face, or a dowager’s hump, or a damaged foot, or absolutely no spare money?

Not boys. Not teenage lads. Not men. Men our age let it all hang out. Some men our age look 8 months pregnant. We might wish they didn’t but columns of advice don’t flagellate their self-images in every magazine and ad.

Singer Annie Lennox had this to say about 18 months ago, as she turned 60:

“There’s this youth culture that is really, really powerful and really, really strong, but what it does is it really discards people once they reach a certain age. I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting – women, especially – when they reach my age. We’ve got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we’ve got wrinkles, or whether we’ve put on weight or lost weight, or whether we’ve changed our hair style. I just find that so shallow.”

A woman in her late 40s commented on this:

An interesting topic! After years of stressing about public acceptance of my appearance, I have spent the last year of my 40s learning to love myself at face value and have others love the real me too! Some may gossip about how I have let myself go, but in reality it takes great inner strength to not paint a face on each morning, only to be judged anyways. So I have gone au natural and it has been liberating! After all, I know how “beautiful” I am with make-up on… But do others know how beautiful I am without it? Some may always be shallow and place value on women just because they are all made up. But true love is tested most in the morning when there’s no makeup on. I have heard some women never even show their spouses how they look without makeup, rising early from bed to paint their faces. It is an insecurity I have rid myself of. If you don’t love me naturally you don’t love me at all. Bring on my 50s! I’m ready!


Do you agree this woman’s older years will be more liberated than any woman’s who might be influenced by the ‘New Year, New Body’ approach to her body?

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Fran Goodey

Frances Goodey is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two primary school age boys. With six brothers and two sisters, she was raised in Sydney and later lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Brisbane. She is an avid reader and has had some small success with children's stories being published in New Zealand and Australia. Both she and her husband are retired, and her daughters live in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sydney and Frankfurt.

  1. I am now built for my comfort and nobody else’s. If you don’t like it too bad 67 years young.

  2. I’d take remaining healthy as I age over remaining youthful looking anyday. The world is obsessed with looks. Everybody is unique be proud of that and be happy.

  3. Don’t see what the problem is, some women enjoy all the girly stuff, makeup, fashion, hair, ect & some don’t, why are we so worried about what other people do, each to their own how they present themselves to the world, just do what makes you feel comfortable.

    5 REPLY
    • I don[‘t know why you girls worry, you always look good to me and every other man in Australia

    • It’s just something we do for ourselves David, I’ve loved clothes, makeup hair ect since I was 15, wasn’t trying to look younger then I just liked it & had fun with it just as I do now😊 have a good day you smooth talking young man😘

    • True Lyn, for myself I like to be clean and tidy (though my hair has a mind of its own) and then out of the house to see what’s happening in the world, not for the world to look at me

    • I agree Lyn, I just do my own thing, I have a passion for colour, the world will be black and dull enough when I am dead. I don’t wear tons of makeup as in eye shadow and mascara and I look like I have no eyelashes haha but I don’t care what anyone thinks 🙂

  4. My daughters think I should dye my greying hair, one even insisted I dye it for her wedding, which I did reluctantly. I love my silver streaks & don’t see it as a sign of age like a lot of others. I’ve only worn makeup for the 2 girls weddings. If your comfortable with yourself others should respect it.

    1 REPLY
    • A couple of years ago I finally let the grey come through, I have never been happier. I don’t miss the dying my hair very 6 weeks. My daughter is getting married in May she has make no mention of me having to dye my hair. I would not be doing it, I am more that my hair colour. It is the person you are on the inside that means more than anything else

  5. Hopefully we please ourselves by this stage of our lives. I passed an elderly man 80+ slightly stopped beautifully groomed with a hint of aftershave. An average country man, had a talk with him as we walked in the same direction, he was widowed etc but still had pride. He was comfortable in his own skin.

  6. I like to make the most of what I have. I don’t wear much make up, just concealer and lipstick. My son is getting married in June and I am doing my own make up. My daughter in law to be wants me to have a professional make up done but I did that once and looked like a clown. I am now wearing make up every time I go out. I need lots of practice to get it right. I take pride in my appearance but I don’t feel pressured by anyone to be look younger. The only way that is going to happen is with a fairy godmother.

    3 REPLY

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