A little grooming makes heads turn

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

I wasn’t aware of notions of beauty. As a consequence I wore no make up. Nor did I go out and by any fashionable clothes ( financial restraints restricted my desire to deck out in fine clothes.) The circle of people I moved in did not spend time making themselves look attractive, as we did not feel the need to do so, because we were not allowed to date men. I did not wear make up until my 30’s when I got married and had two children. I wore make up in order to gain confidence, to feel good within myself, to go out, mix with people and socialise, hoping that the foundation that I wore would hide all imperfections that I had. The same went with clothes and visiting the hair dresser once a week. I was more aware of the need to make myself more attractive once I was out and about from the confines of domesticity (including bringing up the children).  At the end of the day, it really made me feel good, and I gained self confidence to talk to people etc.

If you look at Western culture, girls wear make up and nice frocks to go out on dates with boys, which was totally alien to us, because our (Indian) culture was different – it was not the done thing. I felt blase about beauty in this sense until I discovered a little grooming made heads turn when I left the front door – especially the male species.

What does beauty mean to you now?

Beauty is definitely as asset if you have it, whatever age you are. But with advancing years, if you can preserve it, all the better. To keep  what you have is important at my age, it makes me feel  happy in my inner-self. I sometimes look in the mirror and think, ‘I still look good at this age!’ Often people cannot guess my age correctly. It is a back handed compliment in a way!

I once had an interview with an Avon sales rep at my door step. When I told her my true age, she nearly fell backwards in pure disbelief. I think it was very flattering and made my day! If someone of your own sex says how good you look, that is uplifting, but its even more flattering when men pay you compliments. Beauty to me now is something that makes me happy.

I don’t give aging a thought. It is a natural progression which everyone has to face sometime. One has to accept the fact that one can’t be beautiful as you grow older, as I do not believe in cosmetic surgery or anything like that to preserve what I have got.

Why have your ideas of beauty changed over the years?
My ideas about beauty have changed over time due to environment and competition all around you – i.e women trying to look good to go out to work. This made me embrace the fact that to be beautiful inside and out can make me friends.
Shantala, over 60
London
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