dressed up like a lady: Laugh Lines.

Jan 10, 2013

Laugh Lines.

Cammila and I were talking recently, as we often do, about all the crazy cosmetic enhancements we see nowadays on women. I’m sure we all have our “go to” examples of women who’ve had unfortunate plastic surgery. Nicole Kidman and Madonna come to mind, two ladies who appear to have traded the fine features that helped make their visages so indelible to us for completely different and in most ways alien appearances, in the hopes that it will make them look younger.

Comparison shots of Madonna in 2004 vs. 2012.

Comparison shots of Nicole Kidman in 1997 vs. 2008.
I find the value placed on the younger look to in itself be pretty arbitrary, but I’ll get to that in a little bit. The women Cammila and I were talking about based on their recent appearances were Courtney Cox and Anjelica Huston.

Huston in 2011 vs. 2012, and Cox in 2007 vs. 2012.
Sadly, both women have – allegedly – chosen to undergo various surgical procedures to augment their looks. Based on what you can easily see in recent photos, they’ve both had fillers injected to smooth out the lines around their noses and mouths, creating that telltale puffy look that puts too much pressure on the mouth for a smile to look anything but plastic and weird, and often makes the face look swollen, eclipsing natural bone structure, which is often then (cringe) compensated for with cheek implants. Welcome to the uncanny valley.

The result is that both women don’t look very much like they did even a few years ago and, in my opinion, not nearly as attractive as they were or could be.  

Let me say that I believe women should be able to do whatever they want to their bodies. Also, I know there is just as much of a belief that we shouldn’t judge women for getting plastic surgery as the notion that criticizing a woman for not being perfect – whether it be overweight or underweight or even dressing shabbily – is bad form.  

My point here is to inject my own longstanding position that signs of age like nasolabial folds, laugh lines, and crow’s feet, combined with an individual’s natural beauty, are SEXY. Like, WAY sexier than even young, smooth women. Ladies whose faces are particularly wide eyed and child like -- like Amanda Seyfried, Lily Cole and Gemma Ward -- do absolutely nothing for me.

Anime alien babies Gemma Ward, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Cole.

I’m not saying women age 18 to 24 (or whatever) can’t be really pretty, but for me, just as I think many men get better looking with age – David Beckham, Daniel Craig, Patrick Dempsey – so do women.

A strange but very recent example of this is 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden, who recently appeared on the cover of MAXIM. Bowden, who was only 16 years old when she auditioned for the role of the nubile and nascent executive assistant Cerie, is now 22. Bowden’s, at the time, complete lack of age lines, knowing expression, and, let’s be honest, curves, made her the perfect choice to portray an un-self-aware sex kitten, whose pubescent jail-bait looks worked as a comedic counterpoint to Liz Lemon’s grown-ass-woman-with-an-ass frustration. That said, I never found Cerie particularly attractive before -- she was supposed to be playing, in essence, a kid, and that’s how she looked. Her cherubic face lacked character, like a CGI creation, which was the point and purpose of her character.

Babyfaced 17 year old Bowden (left) vs. alluring 22 year old Bowden (right).
Now, as seen on the Maxim cover, while admittedly still skinny and youthful, she has grown up just enough to have real bone structure, and just the faintest hint of where her laugh lines will one day be! These features give her a more finely etched visage. Her face finally has attributes that grab your eyes, hinting at the beautiful woman she’s poised to become. In my book, that’s attractive.

Another good example of age bringing out a woman’s natural beauty is Julie Delpy in Before Sunset. In the original 1994 film, Before Sunrise, Delpy was a pretty girl. In 2004’s Before Sunset, she’s a gorgeous woman. Her face, creased at the lips and eyes with a decade’s worth of experience, has fine-tuned her natural beauty and given her sophisticated definition

Delpy's beauty skyrockets between 1995's Before Sunrise (left) and 2004's Before Sunset (right).
And still another great example is Drew Barrymore, whose ads for Nieman Marcus two years ago showcased how particularly striking her already lovely face looks now that she’s in her late thirties, with mature contours highlighting the structures of her face in new and increasingly gorgeous ways.

Drew Barrymore's 36 year old face looks more beautiful than ever in her 2011 Neiman Marcus ads.
Yes, there are naturally beautiful women who may have had work done that I still think are really hot. Actresses like Helen Mirren, Mary Steenburgen and Patricia Clarkson might have had a nip and tuck here and there, but any procedures they’ve had done must have been subtle, without attempting to erase all the natural signs of aged beauty that they’ve earned

Smokin' hot grown-ass-women Patricia Clarkson, Helen Mirren, and Mary Steenburgen.

Everybody, men and women alike, should always take care of themselves. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, dress well -- these things show that you feel you’re worth caring for, which implies confidence. And confidence is attractive. Whereas undergoing a procedure with no healthy benefit -- one that fundamentally changes a lot about your face -- communicates the opposite: a lack of confidence and self love. How could that ever make someone prettier?

I guess I wanted to talk about this stuff openly because I feel like not enough men do. Sure, there’s talk about Cougars and MILFs, but by that definition, Cougar Town’s own Courtney Cox, with (once again, alleged) cheek implants and lip fillers – procedures that can leave people unable to enunciate or express humanly recognizable emotion -- would be the epitome of older female beauty. And that’s the opposite of what I’m talking about.

At the same time, I don’t want to be too hard on Cox and Huston. They are by any definition gorgeous, hard working women who deserve our respect and admiration. And I would hope they have the confidence in their own choices to accept what I say here as my own opinion and nothing more, because it kind of makes me ill to think about someone like Huston, whom I adore for her work as a model in the ‘70s and as an actress in some of my favorite films, being hurt by negative opinions about her face. But clearly it’s not much of a leap for me to say that I think these kinds of choices come from a general pressure that many women feel to look a very particular way. And I can’t help thinking that it might be good to get the opinion out there that not all men want women to look that particular way.

Of course, I’m just a humble co-blogger from the Midwest. I’d love to see the day when somebody like Ryan Gosling goes on Jimmy Fallon and says, “Dude, laugh lines on a woman who is just about 40… SO HOT! Seriously, ladies, keep it natural.”
-Matt Collar


  1. For smokin' hot grown ass women everywhere, I thank you for a man's voice. We need more like you.

  2. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm a woman in my mid-late twenties, and feel like I'm sort of between two worlds. I have friends who are still students or new to the workplace in their early twenties, but increasingly, I'm surrounded by women in their thirties, forties, and older. As I make this transition myself, I notice that my standards of beauty and personal preferences are changing. As a self-centered, youthful thing, I used to ignore people who were only slightly older than me. Now, I see that these are the beauties. I completely agree with your assessment that signs of age -- laugh lines, crows feet, natural changes in facial shape -- are sexy. I wondered if that's just because I'm a self-centered, slightly less youthful thing, still drawn to people that look like me, but the fact that I am drawn to women and men decades older than me makes me think perhaps not. Thank you for your take. It's refreshing to hear a man discuss female beauty in this manner. I don't know what kind of comedy you and Cammila are into, but Louis CK does a pretty funny bit about some of the differences between girls and women: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnDH-RXCptY.

    1. Glad you appreciated my post, Sandy. Cammila and I LOVE Louis CK! His humor really cuts to the core about a lot of in life, especially on how our perspectives and bodies change as we get older. That bit is hilarious and dark and, I'm sure, really relatable to many men and women over 30. My only quibble ever with Louis is that he tends to have a fatalist, depressive streak. Now admittedly, that is part of what gives his comedy bite and truth. And I also know that, as with any good artist, he might exaggerate or, more properly, take to the logical conclusion his life experiences to illuminate what he sees as a common experience for his audience. You know, he wants his comedy to be cathartic. I really dig that and that is what makes him a genius. That said, sometimes he comes from the perspective that life is just shitty, no matter what you do and most people just have to accept that. I know he also has bits on how amazing and awesome life can be too. But when it comes to his bits on his body, his health and his own sense of self-worth, he often ends on a note of resignation. Like I said, that can be funny and cathartic, but in some ways unconstructive. Hopefully, part of what I was trying to get at with this post was that aging isn't all bad and our bodies, if we treat them well, will serve us well as we get older.

  3. nice post!i aggree women does not have to do many plastic surgery.
    love the natural beauty!

  4. Excellent post! I find Nicole Kidman's facial transformation over the years both sad and disturbing. Meg Ryan's, too.

    Two women whom I also think have become more gorgeous with age are Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek.

    You know what's crazy? I've known quite a few guys who share your opinion - it's other women I always hear jumping to the defense of plastic surgery junkies. I once dated someone nine years younger than me (we celebrated his 21st and my 30th in the same year), and he was quite adamant that women aren't really attractive until they're comfortable and confident in their own skin. My husband feels the same way. He's only three years my junior, but we've been together nearly a decade and he definitely thinks I've improved with age. :) In my opinion, the same is true of men. I'll take Bill Nighy over Zac Efron any day.

  5. amaziing purposes, always in love with them!
    i hope youll like mine ones and id love we could follow each other
    i wish you the very best for this comming 2013!
    loads of love from MALES CLUTCH


  6. Agree, for the most part, darling... have to admit that I've considered Botox, but haven't pulled the trigger (yet)...
    Confidence IS sexy - wish I had more of it!


  7. Great post!

    When I was in a junior in college, I got to see Michelle Latiolais -- one of my future favorite authors -- read from her latest novel. I remember at the time just being in awe of how gorgeous she was, and I am still in awe today. Forget wanting to look like that when I'm older, I'd like to look like that now!


  8. You are so right - Botox faces look nothing but scary!

  9. Great post MC! It's refreshing (and comforting) to hear a man's view on this topic. Drew Barrymore is absolutely gorgeous! I feel like the laugh lines have only made her face more interesting, as I believe they do all women's, and to me interesting is beautiful. I definitely also understand the opposite side of wanting to stay 'youthful', especially since all of the afore-mentioned ladies are in the public eye and compared to younger women or their younger selves. But they shouldn't have to feel such pressure! Even myself, at 24, personally have started to notice little lines in my forehead (which I suspect to be the effect of my style of humor, which is really Jim Carrey-esque in the facial expression department). Anyway, for now I just cover them up with my bangs, but then I think of how I want to look when I'm older...and I think of my aunt. That woman has always had a healthy diet, the love of a good man, a loving family, and has spent her life doing something she loves: delivering babies at homes who have chosen natural childbirth. My aunt will be 50 this year, and is positively one of the most beautiful women in our family. As corny as it sounds, I believe that if your insides, soul, and mind are beautiful it will show on your face....maybe with some lines :)

  10. beautiful post!!:):)Your blog is so lovely! I'm thinking, if you want, we can follow each other! It would be great!!
    xoxo Gloria

  11. OMG,this is so cool,I love this post,interesting!
    Your blog is great hun,If you like take a look on my blog,would you like to follow each other?
    Wish you a nice weekend! <3

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  12. Personally (and I blogged about it last year) I wouldn't do anything to my face. I prefer it the way it is and am planning to keep it that way. :) The only thing I'd ever consider is fixing the bags under the eyes / lower lids should it becomes a problem one day. As for the celebrities - I do understand why they do it and I don't tend to say much about it. After all it's their faces and their lives, so they can do whatever they like. Although it is a shame that Nicole went that far with her face, particularly noticable when she tries to show emotions when acting.

  13. I have used the Lady Soma Renew Serum for sometime and I am always very satisfied with the wrinkle hiding results. I used to have these lines around my face - like laugh lines - and using the serum daily has filled them in, and made the lines not noticeable. It should help you out as well.


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