Embrace growing older

Tales from the front pew

The best defense is a good offense.

This saying usually applies to sports or military tactics, but I’m thinking more along the lines of beauty.

If anybody knows about offensive beauty, it’s yours truly.

As anyone who has ever read a magazine or watched TV can confirm, the beauty industry is big business.

We’re constantly bombarded by ads for makeup, skin care and hair products. As a woman, I have no problem with this practice because I enjoy looking my best whenever possible. That being said, what I do not appreciate is the overall attitude that drives these commercials and advertisements.

I like to call it the “shame and blame game,” which is pretty lame.

Take skin care, for example. Today’s facials, creams and revitalizers aren’t intended to simply make our skin look better. Oh, no, nothing that easy. Their primary purpose is correcting the dastardly damage we’ve visited upon our defenseless visages via unspeakable acts such as venturing out of doors without being wrapped up like mummies.

I think of a fairly recent commercial that features several women being shown the severe sun damage just under the surface of their deceptively attractive skin. It’s done by ultraviolet light or something, which will probably turn out to be even more hazardous for skin somewhere in the near future.

Granted, we know a lot more today about the detrimental effects of the sun’s rays, but people weren’t nearly as informed a few decades ago. So, hey, ad folks, how about cutting those of us over age 50 a break, huh?

Then we have the venerable makeup commercials.

When geared toward younger women, makeup is all about texture, shimmer and the variety of playful ways in which it can be applied. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun.

For the rest of us, though, it’s all about camouflage — which colors minimize the look of undereye bags, lift up droopy eyelids and detract from unsightly crow’s feet. There’s that old shame factor rearing its ugly head, again, telling us that aging eyes aren’t attractive.

Of course, foundation, powder, blush and lipstick tout similar qualities, the goal of each being the “three C’s” — conceal, camouflage and compensate — for committing the ultimate crime: growing older.

Of course, we can’t leave out hair color. Forget about deciding whether to be a blonde bombshell a la Marilyn Monroe or a sultry Sophia Loren-esque brunette. Nope, no flights of fancy for us mature gals. It’s all about the defense, remember.

We need to be concerned with camouflaging (oops, there’s that word again) unsightly, stubborn grays that might (gasp!) tell the world we’re no longer 20. Because, as we all know, growing older in today’s youth-driven society is a giant no-no.

As someone well over 20 — in fact, almost three times that particular number — I think about getting older every now and then.

Sure, there are certain aspects of aging that aren’t great, but some are pretty terrific, like wisdom, patience and experience, for example.

The Bible calls the “hoary (silvery) head” a crown of glory. Growing old isn’t something to defend against, it’s something to embrace.