Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Où sont les neiges d'antan?

Today my friend La Carioca showed me some photographs of herself from almost 30 years ago, and lamented that in those days she thought she was fat and ugly. Now, comparing her former to her present self, she sees that she was really very attractive, and it is such a shame she didn't realise it at the time!

We women so often feel dissatisfied with our present selves in comparison either to other women (including unreal images of women as idealized by someone else, most notably the fashion industry) or our former - read, younger! - selves. I don't know how things are now, but when I was young we wanted to look older than our ages: it was a big thing to graduate to high heels, and to start wearing make-up (at least with the knowledge of our parents)! Then before you know it you are buying hair-dyes and anti-wrinkle treatments, fighting several spare tyres and wondering why bits of your body seem to have developed this sudden attraction for the floor, to judge by how hard they are trying to reach it. I don't remember reaching any point of equilibrium - after getting rid of spots and puppy fat but before encountering the first wrinkles and white hairs - during which I was happy with my looks. And so we don't appreciate that we were in the bloom of youth until we aren't, any more.

Then we wonder what happened to the beautiful young women we now realise we were. Where are the snows of yesteryear, indeed?

As for the snows of Brussels, they have been and gone (again), but we still have the Christmas decorations and son-et-lumière in the Grand' Place.


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