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Rethinking Beauty in the Age of Agelessness

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s high-profile, May-October romance is reportedly on the rocks, according to a recent article in the New York Post . Word is that Kutcher took some time off from his vows of fidelity and engaged in a woefully uncreative fling with a much younger, much blonder woman. While no one with an ounce of imagination needs to read the gory details, this latest Hollywood love casualty definitely has me thinking.

The age difference between Mr. and Mrs. Kutcher is a full 15 years. And while those of us who consider ourselves to be post-feminist thinkers and who pretend to take gender equality for granted may be tempted to turn an (artificially lifted?) eye to this generation gap, there are a few issues the split raises that are worth examining in a fashion and beauty column.

For starters, Demi Moore is a beautiful woman. And though genetically blessed from birth, she has reportedly spent the duration of her marriage working triple time to stay the hands of Mother Nature. Allegedly she has been detoxing, cleansing, crunching, peeling and injecting her face and body with any number of pharmaceutical concoctions in an effort to achieve some kind of bionic stasis. If one allows oneself to get carried away, one imagines something akin to pre-mortem embalming.

And for what? The boy ended up cheating anyway.

There’s no way for anyone to know if the age difference in the marriage was a catalyst for infidelity. But what is painfully clear is that, despite Moore’s natural beauty and her wholly unnatural methods of maintaining it, her man still couldn’t keep his hands to himself. A fault that should lie squarely in the overactive lap of the cheater.

So why do we do it, ladies? Why do we break our necks and banks to look younger, tighter and thinner? We tweeze, we laser, we scrub. We lather “miracle” creams on our faces, décolleté and derrières. We inject the botulism toxin into our crevices and then pretend otherwise. And too often, the results fail to satisfy us. So we go for round two. Three. Fifty.

What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to avoid? And why haven’t we, by 2011, reached some level of comfort and pride in the wisdom and beauty that inevitably come with age? We allow men that much. We speak of a man’s sexy “salt and pepper” hair. We forgive a small belly buldge in the name of love and experience. We come to find such things endearing. We swoon at the power and charm we ascribe to older men. And yet we don’t allow ourselves even a fraction of the respect we lavish onto our male contemporaries.

That’s on us, ladies. Say what you will about Hollywood and the men who run it. We have yet to opt-out of the madness.

Why haven’t we learned by now that neither a duplicitous man nor an indifferent Mother Nature will be thwarted by our nipping and tucking? Don’t we have better ways to spend our time and money?

I say we do.

My advice to Demi and the rest of us: Once the dust settles and the emotional scar tissue begins to form, don’t try to laser it off or cover it up. Wear it with pride. It’s proof of the distance you have travelled. An emblem of strength. And in my mind, few things are more beautiful.

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