Socrates said
Beauty is a short lived tyranny.
Nowadays surgery can sometimes lead to what Churchill called
a tyranny made perhaps more protracted by the lights of perverted science
but surgery only helps delay aging.

There is a short poem I like by Matthew Prior, called The Lady Who Offers Her Looking-Glass to Venus:
Venus, take my votive glass;
Since I am not what I was,
What from this day I shall be, 
Venus, let me never see.
When I read Prior in my teens that seemed pretty but now I understand much more. Aging is NOT pleasant for very pretty women.

Some, like Brigitte Bardot, deliberately make themselves look as unattractive as possible, some grow old gracefully, some fight the ageing process, few as successfully as Raquel Welch.

A friend of mine explained on his Facebook wall how Raquel Welch keeps her famous figure in old age. (Raquel Welch an old woman?) 
I was having Sunday lunch at the Dorchester a few years ago and Raquel Welch was at the next table looking stunning. Moving into her 70s with a body bordering on the miraculous in a tight, tailored two piece Chanel dress suit: taut, toned, flat but swelling in all the right places. I keep a watchful camp eye as she'd ordered everything we had (lavish traditional three course roast with all the trimmings, smoked salmon, toffee pud etc) and you don't keep your figure looking like THAT eating like a mere mortal. She did the old movie queen trick of eating exactly half of everything on the plate with almost mathematical precision and kept to a single glass of white wine (50% left at the end of meal). Staggering self control - the food was superb - and undoubtedly practiced for decades. Oh, the joys of stardom...
This diet works, by the way. I know because a friend of mine kept it, but it requires will power.

This all reminds me of something Mary Kenny wrote:
It is a law of life that there are compensations to everything: and among the compensations of age is the satisfying observation that your contemporaries are ageing at just about the same rate. Anna Ford was the great beauty of our time, and while she remains an attractive woman, for her age, she is unmistakably a woman in her fifties. Age brings a kind of equalisation. I see women I knew as girls who were Zuleika Dobson figures in their time: stunning beauties all our boyfriends wanted to go out with. And now they are pleasant, but lined, middle-aged women just like the rest of us. In some cases the stunning beauties age less well than the average, for no better reason than the lottery of life.
Her whole article is here

At the age of 47 the Comtesse de Courtebiche, in that wonderful novel and TV series Clochemerle
retired from the pleasures of the boudoir 
to be a religious chatelaine on her ancestral estate in the Beaujolais village of Clochemerle, defending the Church against the republicans as had her fathers. When I read that I  was 46 and felt I was still young. 

Gloria Swanson and Diana Dors

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