Being brown and having a nice white dress…

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

Being brown, getting a sun-tan, and having a nice white dress. Crazy, isn’t it?

Did you go to the beach to get a tan?

No, I’d go out, get a towel and just lay down on the ground. And of course, I got skin cancer from that. But anyway, you pay a price. I got skin cancer when I was a little bit older.

I suppose you were nice and brown then?

Yes, I was cooked.

You said earlier that having good skin is more important than wearing make-up?

Yes, I believe that. You have to have your skin absolutely lubricated all the time. I don’t think that fancy products are much better than some of the other products. One of my mentors had one of the prettiest skins I’ve ever seen and she used…oh, what’s the grease that you cook with? Crisco. She used Crisco, and she had the most beautiful skin.

How did she use it…at night before going to sleep?

She just put it on her face, maybe a time or two during the day. I’m not right sure. But you know, it stands to reason. It’s supposed to be pure.

What does beauty mean to you now?

You have to have an outlook on life that’s agreeable, because you live with yourself. Nobody else can take care of you inside but yourself. And I believe in that. The more positive you are, the better you are.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

Maturity. Because we know that I’m not going to look now like I looked when I was 20 or 25. There’s a man I know – physically, he’s not well and he’s been married before – but now he’s looking for a blond 25 year old. To me that would turn me off completely. If I’d grown up with him or known him, but to be 25 and look at something like that. No thank you.

My outlook…to be clean at all times, of course, and neat.

V., 83

San Francisco



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

I am sure it was very important to me, since I bleached my hair, blond and at that time I only used lipstick, no earrings, I don’t remember that. My mom always dressed well, so she wanted her girls to dress well too.

What does beauty mean to you now?

At this time, I like to look neat, clean and I usually buy from the thrift stores, but still wear make-up and keep my hair neat. Try not to eat many sweets and exercise for my heart, and a good feeling.  Still am bleaching my hair, not really blond, but more ash blond.  I want to stay trim so I can live longer and help my husband.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty  changed over the years?

I am not sure they are that much different, my attitude about the price of everything has changed, since I am paying for it, instead of my Mom.  I want to be an example to others to keep myself humble and not to overdress.  But I don’t think I ever did that.

Betsy, 70

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