What to do when life runs away with you

Isn't it sad about Cher?

By Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

ChervanitynowMy perspective: Don't think of it as getting old.  Think of it as continuing to LIVE!

Over coffee the other morning my 50-something friend and 50-something me were bemoaning the cosmetic surgery travesties of women like Meg Ryan and Cher. (The Vanity Fair cover was staring us in the face from the magazine rack.)  We loved them! We still love them. We simply wish they didn't apparently feel compelled - by Hollywood and our society - to chase faux youth.  (I once had some kind of allergic reaction and woke up with trout lips...and I looked totally weird, not young.) 

I think it's a personal choice what to do (or not) - botox until you can't wriggle your eyebrows if it makes you happy.  But, here's the really sad thing about Cher - she's on record as saying aging sucks.  This from a woman who can still strut on stage and blow 'em out of the balconies with her voice and verve, at 64. Like I said, sad.

Of course, this is easy for me to say - I'm not a fashion/beauty/pop culture icon. My jaw line is starting to resemble that of a basset hound (a happy basset hound, but still...) I'm also a bit prejudiced since,  back in college,  people used to say I looked like Cher (blonde version).  The long, long hair (flip, flip), the nose, the hips. (Ah, those long-buried hips...but I digress.)

However, it was something of a relief to outlive my babe-hood.  Less sexism, more credibility.  Our society has made a lot of progress...but...the only reason Sarah Palin became SUCH a big deal is her looks. A sexy babe politician? Be still our collective hearts!  It'll be interesting to watch as her looks start to go (And, sorry Ms. Palin - no matter your money or effort - after 50, things start going. Talk to my hips...and serving a half-term does not make you a governor in perpetuity.) Oops, there I go again.  Back to Cher and aging. 

I remembered the coffee talk last night when watching I Could Never Be Your Woman, with Michelle Pfieffer as a 40-year-old woman involved with a 29-year-old man (Paul Rudd.)  The leads are too old for their parts (even with soft focus), Rudd's character could use some work and the plot needs tightening...but I loved it because...the older woman stayed with the younger guy at the end.  Hey, it may last, it may not. Happy live-in-the-moment ending.  My big peeve with Something's Gotta Give is that Diane Keaton's character left her besotted, loyal, totally committed young doctor, played by Keanu Reeves, for Jack Nicholson. (Oh sure, age appropriate, but in real life the odds of it working with leering womanizer Jack are about a million to one.) 

One of the great scenes in ICNBYW is when Michelle is sitting next to a couple of movie types, who are trashing a long list of actresses as too old, too much plastic surgery (Cher), hags, etc.  She finally has enough and tells the guy "You're not good enough to kiss Cher's tattooed ass!" Yea. You go, babe!

So, here's a Friday cocktail toast to to all of us lucky enough to not live in the media's merciless glare.  To our middle-aged  asses (tattooed, saggy, whatever), long-lost hips (hey, they're still in there somewhere), baggy basset jowls...and LIVING!

And, to get us in the mood - here's Cher in all her '70s glory, singing one of my all-time favs (which she still belts out on her tours.) Cher, Babe - you've still got me. (I just wish you could have a lip reversal.)  Old or young, you're great.



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Valencia Ray MD

I agree with you that having cosmetic surgery is a personal decision (no, I've never used it either). It's unfortunate though that for someone who has been as successful and has had the longevity that Cher has had to still find something to complain about. "Aging sucks"? Well, there's always the alternative. This is yet another example of why peace and gratitude has to come from "the inside out".


People should get over it, we're all going to get old or.... silicon faced mummies=)

Karen Hodges

When I hit 50 last year I knew the time had come to "get real" about what really matters for the next chapter.

I see 50 and the process of getting older as getting wiser and the call to step into our true power as the beautiful women we are no matter what we looked liked then or now.

This might sound corny—but to me my level of happiness and the love in my life and heart is what matters....not my wrinkles or jowls.

Every day is a gift!

Toby Bloomberg @Tobydiva

Loved your post Mary! However, I must admit, even tho I should know better, I'd still go w/ bad boy Jack over the nice doc.


Ah, you must have been peeking when I was photoshopping my wrinkles out of my facebook pic yesterday!
I'm with you, the more work they have done, the more they seem to look freakish. I mean, can't they look at Joan Rivers and see what will eventually happen?

Mary Schmidt


I'm not adamantly opposed to all cosmetic surgery/magic but when it's all about the looks, well that's sad. No matter what we do, we get old (no matter how tight the skin is stretched.) I may even get just a bit freshening in a couple of years.

And, the sooner marketers realize that most women of a certain age don't want to look like scary versions of 20-somethings, the better we'll all be (including actresses.)

Yvonne DiVita

Ah, Mary, you speak the truth and yet... I would have a facelift in a heartbeat, if I could afford one. Just one. In high school, I, too, with my long, long black hair, was a Cher look-a-like. She was my idol. Rags to riches - no singing voice to fabulous pipes!

Today, I'm sad that she continues to believe she has to hold on to those ancient days of the 70s - at least as far as her image is concerned. Today, I'm more apt to admire Barbra Streisand and Susan Sarandon. And women who aren't competing with 20-somethings, the way Cher is.

Someone needs to tell Cher it's time to grow up. Being a woman is more than having a pretty face that never ages.

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