From the Editor: Cougars and crow’s feet

dv1768028 We’ve said all along that contrary to what popular media would have us believe, at 40, women are about much more than just the age of the men they’re dating and how many more wrinkles they have today than they did yesterday. On the site, we’ve delved into motherhood, dating – what’s sexy and what’s not, and health – taking on fitness challenges and pursuing better health. We’re defining our goals, tackling our fears and taking the 5 questions, 3 words or less challenge.  But cougars and crow’s feet are an important part of the conversation, and over the next few posts we’ll be exploring these subjects as they relate to our image obsessed culture.

Last week we were all a bit at a loss for words when a reader who called herself “Too ashamed to use her real name” wrote in about the hurt and pain she felt at never having been in a real relationship. Several things she said struck a chord with us, but these words in particular are relevant to the topic of beauty and aging in our society…

And now that I’m getting old it just crushes me inside…I’ve never been very attractive–I’m not hideous, I’m just not someone that would make a man sit up and take notice when she walks in a room. And now that I’m getting old I’ll be less and less attractive…I look in the mirror and see the fine lines and the hair that’s just starting to turn gray.

While many of us have not had to deal with the intense negative self image that “Too ashamed” has carried around for years, many of us have hyperventilated over gray hairs, spent entire paychecks on beauty products and plucked a stray chin hair while driving down the highway (why do we think car windows are invisible shields?) It’s all got us wondering, what do women at 40 see when they look in the mirror?

We’re not talking about the conversations you have with the inner you that you’ve (hopefully) come to love by now – the warrior mom, great wife/mate, all around good person who repeats the mantra daily that beauty comes from within. No, we’re talking about what you really see when you look in the mirror, the – was that wrinkle there yesterday – why are those hanging so low and where did that come from?!? – conversations.

This week’s new poll asks the question, “Would you ever consider plastic surgery?”  And while many of us outwardly frown on the horribly bloated lips and frozen, botoxed  faces of celebs, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all looked in the mirror and had our moments of doubt. So, in a society obsessed with physical beauty, where do we find the happy medium – How do we balance caring about our physical appearance with nurturing the beauty within? We’ll ask our virtual panel these questions and we’ll hear what you have to say.

On the relationship front, the results of last week’s poll are in. In it we asked, what’s the “right age” to get married. Almost 50% of you said there was no such thing as a right age. 31% of you said that getting married in your 30’s was the right age. But what if the man you married in your 30’s was 10 years younger? This week we’ll be posting an excerpt from our interview with Jo, creator of the website Beyond Cougar.  At 33, Jo married a man 10 years her junior. But before you call her a cougar, listen up, she doesn’t like that label at all and refuses to be defined by the age of the man she married. Now 5 years into her marriage, she shares her thoughts on marriage, younger men and why the term ‘cougar’ offends her.

So, do you like what you see when you look in the mirror, and how has your perception of beauty changed as you’ve gotten older. Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook fan page. And don’t forget to take our poll!

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Blogger, self-proclaimed-philosopher, voracious eater and opinion sharer.

  • alichez

    Absolutely would consider plastic surgery. I have had procedures done. Botox, Restylane, breast lift, tummy tuck. And would do it all over again. I see women my age who are not aging as gracefully. So tired looking and so worn down. It makes me so happy I have chosen to fight gravity and those winkles.

  • sunshine

    I had procedures done as well, Botox, Sculptra, Chemical peels and I might consider more “drastic” measures in the future if I feel I have to. I will turn 40 this year and although I know I am now considered to be a “middle aged woman” now, I will not let myself go. I am in much better shape than I was 20 years ago, I run marathons now, I am going back to school, I want to look as young as I can for as long as I possibly can, because I don't feel like I am “middle aged”, I feel like I am at MY BEST AT 40!

  • paulaficara

    In the Winter Issue 2010 of in an article humorously entitled “My Sagging Face…and What I Decided to Do About It!” one of the staff writers Johanna Siegmann walks women considering plastic surgery through the steps of finding the right treatment/ surgery and doctor for them, then through the entire experience of getting a 360 degree face-lift and the healing process (in detail – ugh!). It might be a nice complimentary article to this one for anyone even remotely curious. Part 2 will be featured in the upcoming June Issue. Hope this helps!

  • Drfayrpjdoc

    My Dermatologist told me over 20 years ago to stop going into the sun, so I did. When I see women my age with sun damaged skin, wrinkles and crow's feet I am so glad I listened to him. Sun, smoking, environmental elements all hasten to age the skin. I keep myself covered up when I go out during the day and always put sun protection on my face.