Are you living in the wrong century?
Iâ€™m struck by how the human ideal of beauty and fashion is always changing.Â
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Just when you get the nerveÂ toÂ stuffÂ yourself into the style of the day, the â€śin crowdâ€ť is off and running in a different direction, even more outrageous than the last.
And hair.Â Donâ€™t get me started.Â Iâ€™ve been wearing the same hairstyle for 50 years.Â The old helmet-like beehive which I favored, went out of style back in the 60s when some hapless fashion plate discovered a family of bees had built a hive in her coiffure. Â It was probably only an urban legend, but it was enough to steer mostÂ gals away from shellacked dos designed to last for a month.
Remember those Renaissance beauties of the fifteenth century who looked like they just polished off 16 milkshakes?Â I bet they jumped on the scales and whooped for joy when they added an extra pound.Â Chubbiness was a sign of affluence, and I would have been in the royal court.
Paintings from the Renaissance period often focused on women who would today be considered prime candidates for Weight Watchers or, at least liposuction.Â Yet, their ample figures and forms were considered the height of sexiness.Â (The song â€śBorn too Lateâ€ť begins toÂ drift through my mind.)
Now comes the shockingÂ news that Cleopatra always regretted that she didnâ€™t have varicose veins.Â Well, double darn!Â Now I know Iâ€™m caught in aÂ time warp.
When you think about it, is there all that much difference in varicose veins and those colorful tattoos you see on the hip youngÂ generation today?Â Â Folks with varicose veins are at a distinct advantage, sinceÂ our â€śleg artâ€ť doesnâ€™t cost us a cent, norÂ require hoursÂ agonizing at the point of aÂ painful needle. Score one for the Boomers.
I will say that cosmetics have come a long way.Â The Renaissance woman was likely to wearÂ creams and powdersÂ laced with lead and mercury.Â That might explain the abbreviated life expectancy in those days.Â Â
Iâ€™m told that the ancient Egyptians often used crocodile excrement and mud baths in the belief thatÂ they would firm and tone the skin. Facial masks, made from ant eggs and face paints, were sometimes used to unclog pores and even out the overall skin tone.
Oh well, modern people tend to underestimate their own personal beauty because they are trying to reach the modern ideal. Iâ€™m just hoping we turn away from waif-like profiles and get back to that nifty 15th century look.Â I have box of Reeceâ€™s Peanut Butter cups in the freezer, waiting for the end of Lent.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.Â She welcomes comments at www.deludeddiva.com.