Staying young is the new religion. Not here, not yet. But it's certainly true in California, home of golden girls and boys, and what happens there has a tendency to happen here.
The ethos is pretty powerful: 'You owe it to yourself to take advantage of modern products'... 'Everybody who looks good after a certain age has given nature a helping hand'... 'A wrinkle is a serious disease....everybody worries regularly about wrinkles.' Those are recorded quotes by dermatologists and other specialists in the skin trade, some of whom own shares in anti-ageing products.
Should we join the gang? And how far should we go? Leaving aside the cost, risk and discomfort for a moment, why are anti-ageing face creams acceptable to many women, but not a facelift? What stops these women from having cosmetic surgery? Would we say that they are less vain or less sensitive to their appearance than those who succumb? Or are they merely letting themselves go?
And how do such attitudes affect our concept of getting old?
Think of Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Gina Lollobrigida or Simone Signoret as they got older and fatter. Do we hold these icons in less esteem that we do Joan Collins, Jane Fonda and all those women (and increasingly men) who face the world with stretched mouths and taut jawlines? Are we being brainwashed, exchanging the image of the powerful Continental older woman who is comfortable with herself for the groomed, brittle, slightly desperate-looking American version?
Or are we simply taking advantage of all that's new, modern, advanced - can do, can have?
Come and join the debate, admit your temptations, doubts, hopes and fears. Explore the puritan trappings on either side of the fence.