I have been in hiding all afternoon after visiting my beauty therapist for my quarterly top up collagen injections which have been part of my routine for a few years now in an effort to defy the aging process. The little bubbles left by the 30 or so injections remain visible for a few hours and would be a giveaway to those in the know and a concern for my health for those who have never had the treatment – they may think I have hives or a contagious illness.
I wonder is this a form of deceitfulness, having treatment to belie the truth about my age to strangers doesn’t seem very up front? This thought troubled me. I do my best to live life as honestly as I can and yet…
I also go to the hairdressers monthly and I have no idea what my natural hair colour is as I haven’t seen it in decades. Oh and I shop for clothes that make me look taller and less rotund. Jeeez it seems I am a fraud from head to toe.
In actual fact I think it’s more about fitting in. As human beings we are programmed to seek acceptance by the bigger group because our chances of survival greatly improve as a member of the pack rather than outcast and reliant on solo efforts.
I have been programmed by the society I very much enjoy living in to look and be a certain way. Many groups use their appearance to define themselves, shaved heads, long beards, tattoos, painted nails/bodies, veils and sackcloth. Different appearance codes exist, and I have learnt how look if I want to be accepted by the society I identify with. I would not pop into the local supermarket bare foot and topless, but in other cultures it would be perfectly normal.
I remember being sure I was an individual with my own style when I wan a teenager, but in fact I managed quite small variations on a theme. I wore statement clothes – but I wore clothes. I didn’t want to be girly, so I had short choppy dyed red hair, but I had coloured and styled hair. I did not shave my head and go to school starkers because that would have risked rejection on a grand scale. I just finessed my attire to appeal to the subsection of the community I wanted to identify with.
I think maybe there is a primeval part of me that knows I am more use to the group if I am able and active and so I am determined to portray a capable and productive image. I am unashamed to say that I enjoy the company of women in their 40s and 50s and I want to fit in with effective, capable career women in this age range. I think my grooming is about choosing the group I belong to and seeking acceptance to the societal norms of that group. Either that or I am vain, deceitful and deluded.