Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

On comparing aging lifestyles with rich and famous

I am 56 years old. I’ve been this age for a month now and I’m trying to see exactly how it feels. Better or worse than 55? Not sure yet.

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I Googled famous women over 50 to kinda get an idea what I should be looking like at this age. That probably wasn’t the smartest move I’ve made. Actresses Susan Sarandon, Catherine Deneuve, Goldie Hawn, Helen Mirren, Sally Field and Kim Basinger are some women who are over 50.

Some of them are waaay over. Model Christie Brinkley is over 50 as are newscasters Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric. I studied them all to see where I fit in. Nowhere it seems. I couldn’t find stray hairs and crow’s feet or wobbly jowls. They didn’t seem to have the batwings hangin’ off their seemingly sleek-toned arms or any other telltale signs of aging like me.

Are they real or are they airbrushed? And if they are airbrushed how do they hide those flaws when out in public?

I was trying on clothes the other day in some desperate attempt to make myself feel better (about my appearance.) That wasn’t the smartest move either. Harsh lights and no clothing do not an ego make. My cellulite alone scared the bejeeves out of me. I hastily glanced at the funhouse mirror and made a quick exit from that torture chamber.

I then decided that perhaps my body was too big (pun intended) a target with which to start.

So I made a trip to Walgreen’s to see what I could do for my face. Because at my age most folks (men or women) never look past the face. Dear Don asks why I care if no one (men) looks past my face.

“Just because I’m a woman and I do,” was my weak defense.

The drug store became as daunting and intimidating as the clothing store dressing room.

Rows and rows of creams and lotions and concoctions of herbal mixes costing in excess of $20 and $30. All promising a fountain of youth in a bottle.

Now it has become a battle between my ego and my stinginess. Just how bad do I want to look younger? Enough to spend a considerable amount of money or just a little bit, say the cost of a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream? What is it really worth to look different than you really are?

Do I think that I should look like Christie Brinkley or Susan Sarandon? What if I fix the obvious flaws and nature’s bouts with my body? Would I look anything like the people I Googled?

No, I sadly say, they have a whole lot more going for them than do I. They are people of wealth and power and position. They have housekeepers and pool boys and hair and makeup people. They have tailors and dressmakers and chefs and trainers.

I’m cooked before I start. I have a squeaky treadmill, some grilled chicken in the freezer, clumpy Maybelline mascara and outdated shimmer eye shadow.

My dressmaker is the Bass Store and Susan cuts my gray hair (and everyone else’s) once a month.  I run the vacuum and sweep the porch. I trudge out before daylight in my Pj’s each morning to feed the whiny cat, my hair wildly out of control. I have no wealth, no power and the only position I have would be in front of the television. The biggest thing I have going for me that no one else does is my Dear Don.

So what’s my beef exactly? I don’t know for sure. Should I look like I’m 56 if I am 56? If I plump up the wrinkles with $50 eye plumper and color my hair a nice shade of brown and suck in my cheeks all day would I fool you? Would I pass for Christie or Susan? If you saw me at the grocery checkout would you secretly say to yourself, “Why, she looks just like Catherine Deneuve?”

Or would you be saying, “ Gosh, up close she looks like Grandma Moses?”

Just for arguments sake I will conclude that looking like Grandma Moses would probably take considerable less work so let’s just pick her. My pocketbook would agree.

You get the picture?
(Contact Sherry at