46 Is Not What It Used to Be…

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

46 Years Old

Manolo says, and for that we should be thankful.

Perhaps it is the power of the modern multivitamins, or has the makeup gotten so much better over the past 40 years? Maybe it is the old-lady hairdos, or are we taking better care of ourselves?

Whatever it is, most of the 46-year-old ladies of the Manolo’s current acquaintance look much, much better than this.


22 Responses to “46 Is Not What It Used to Be…”

  1. Tiffany Says:

    One word, Manolo: Sunscreen.

  2. Astra Says:

    Decreased smoking? More physical exercise? Or did Geritol hire older models to guilt their customers into buying pills?

  3. Michael Says:

    Yeah, I think it’s a number of factors. Less smoking, more exercise, more birth control options, hormone therapy, better makeup, less hairspray, improved childbirth, sunscreen and better sex. Feminists won’t admit it, but American women have been blessed.

  4. Kit Says:

    Sweet baby jebus! lol I’m 50 and look NOWHERE NEAR as old as most of those women (the only one who looks great is the cute ginge in the mustard turtleneck), and I don’t take particularly good care of myself.

    In fact, my mom, who was in her 40s in the late sixties/early 70’s cusp didn’t look as old as most of the women in that photo either.

    I think if you feel old, you look old I think. And back then, we were told 46 was old!

  5. Jezebella Says:

    Do we really trust an ad company to be honest about the actual ages of those models?? I don’t.

    That said, a lifestyle of non-stop childcare and domestic drudgery without any assistance from one’s partner could put a few extra lines on one’s face.

  6. Alell Says:

    I am 43. With the exception of the nice lady in the vivid yellow turtleneck, all these women look minimum 10 years older than I do, some as much as 20. I know that was Geritol’s point. But I also have to think even grocery-store level over-the-counter skin care products must have improved very much. Because WOW.

  7. Alell Says:

    (Oh, and I also have a lifestyle of non-stop childcare and domestic drudgery. That is the perfect description of my life, since I’m a SAHM of 7 who homeschools. Still, thanks to Neutrogena and Oil of Olay I look way better than these gals do. But true confessions, I bet my floors aren’t as spic-n-span.)

  8. Dani Says:

    Yes, even grocery-store products have improved- sunscreen is widely available and it’s even built right in to many moisturizers and cosmetics. I used clinique almost my entire adult life and it had an SPF of 15 which I didn’t even know or care about- then, anyway!

  9. Bronwyn Says:

    I don’t think it’s to do with skin care products either. When I was 46 I looked way younger than these ladies and I don’t USE skincare stuff. I’m now 55 and am quite wrinkly (I always knew I would be eventually, my parents were pretty wrinkled) but I still don’t look as old as they do. A lot of it is presentation. They are wearing old lady make-up.

    Might have had something to do with having been through a war too.

  10. tree hugging sister Says:

    On the other hand, Lindsey Lohan would be thrilled to look as good as ANY of these 46 year olds…

  11. Nora Charles Says:


  12. Anna Says:

    Eek, I can’t even tell which ones are supposed to be the Geritol girls! I do think this is also a case of purposefully bad lighting. When my mom was 46, she certainly did not look like this; now I am 44 and still getting carded for my booze and my smokes. Wikipedia says: “Geritol is famous for a 1973 television commercial tag line, ‘My wife, I think I’ll keep her.'” Lovely!

  13. klee Says:

    Wow, thanks Manolo, I feel better. I turned 50 2 weeks ago, and most of these women look like my mother. that said, pictures of my mother at 35 looked older than I do now.

  14. Dani Says:

    They most likely smoked and almost certainly didn’t use sunscreen (it wasn’t even invented when they were younger).

    Those two habits are, far and away, the biggest preventable causes of skin aging and something we more or less avoids these days. That’s why women look so much better now.

  15. Rachel of Cyberia Says:

    If this is from the late 60s/early 70s, then these women were born in 1925 or so and grew up in the depression, where they may not have gotten the nutrition the needed.

  16. ChaChaHeels Says:

    Those women may be the same age, as the ad says, but 46 is not that age. They’re more like 66 in that photo, and the idea of the ad is “if you’re not 46 years old now, you’ll look like this soon–unless you buy our product! Ads, and advertisers, do lie.

    Take a deep breath and go and look through your old family photo albums at all the pictured women around throughout your lifetime. Many will be of this age in those photos, and they won’t look like this. I know this ad uses terrible lighting and garish colour to amplify all the bags and bumps–and even asks the girls to grimace to exaggerate that, but in my experience, plain old snapshots aren’t usually taken in the idealized environment of a flattering photo studio. I’d say its a fair comparison.

    I’m not sure what the point is around creating this belief that we all just age so miraculously well now, with all these middle aged celebrities snipped and tucked and locally paralyzed to look smooth and sleek “at their advancing age” as our role models. All those women should demonstrate is that we actually may not be aging as well as we’re being told to believe we are, and that there is even greater pressure to be younger, younger, younger! today, far more than ever before. Its’ just a way to sell us more stuff we don’t need.

  17. Charlotte Allen Says:

    Some of the women in the photo (the ginger and the strawberry blonde in the upper right)are simply prettier than some of the others–and they’re smiling as well. Those severe, tightly curled 1950s hairdos and the heavy makeup flattered hardly anyone. 18-year-olds tended to look 30. And wouldn’t you have hated to have been one of the “old”-looking models in the photo? Immortalized as an ugly crone punished by Mother Nature for not taking her Geritol? And is Geritol still around?

  18. texpatriate Says:

    Wow, I mean WOW. I knew that things were different now (I’m 43) but none and I mean NONE of the women I know from age 40-55 look even remotely like these ladies. Thank you, modern skin products, sunscreen and growing up in the 80’s! (Though I’d like to see them with modern hairstyles for a more apples to apples approach..)

  19. Virginia Postrel Says:

    The woman in red at the ginger’s elbow actually looks like a 2011 46-year-old. (She’s making a funny face, but she’s not unattractive.) She’s also the only one who is anywhere close to the weight of today’s typical 46-year-old American woman–better skin, much fatter.

  20. Charlie Martin Says:

    Hm, the redhead in the mustard tutleneck doesn’t look bad.

    But I’ve noticed something similar. I’m 56, and I’ve got all my teeth; by 56 my grandparents had full dentures and my parents had at least partials.

  21. Pam Says:

    Thanks for linking to my blog in this post!

  22. Kimberly Says:

    The ginge in the yellow turtleneck looks almost EXACTLY like my mom did around age 50, though her eyes were less hooded. My mom might have even had that turtleneck. I’m 43, and I think I look young enough to be the daughter of some of these women.

    I spent from age 19 to age 30 avoiding the sun entirely due to my use of Retin-A for acne. Retinoids in general are a more recent invention (I think), so not only is sunscreen ever-present nowadays, but there are also more reasons to avoid the sun. Also, starting in the 90’s (probably not long after retinoids became popular) it became more socially acceptable to be pale.

    The hair styling, makeup, and clothing also age them quite a bit. There are no choppy cuts, no loose bangs, no free-flowing hair styles there. The necklines are very high, the colors very dated. And so on.

    One thing in their favor, though, is that they all look quite thin, save for the one woman in red. Being overly-thin does age women in the face, a bit, but I think it says a lot that back then, being 46 was no excuse for being overweight. I think women have much lovelier skin and better hairstyles in middle age today, but there’s certainly more obesity around.

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