Archived Story

Good looks not much of an advantage

Published 12:08pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I have never understood why some people try to hide their age, or are embarrassed by it. I’m confused as to why it matters, other than when you’re trying to buy cigarettes or beer, get into the Army, or vote.

Next week, I turn 44. I have found it’s a weird age in terms of physical appearance. I looked up the list of the most popular 44-year-olds in the world, based on Internet pageviews. I have to say, there are some females on the list – actor/singer Jennifer Lopez, actress Jennifer Aniston and singer Gwen Stefani among them – who still have it in terms of physical attractiveness. Padma Lakshmi, who is the stunning host of my favorite TV show, Top Chef, is 43. I’d recommend Googling her as well. I suppose there are a few dudes on the list who are attractive (Gerard Butler, Jason Priestley).

Then there’s Masako Mizutani, who looks like she’s 20, but is 44 and has a 20-year-old daughter. Look her up on Google if you’re interested. She claims her secret is stuff like healthy food, exercise, sunscreen, etc.

Of course, I can’t forget my spouse, who looks the same or better than she did when I met her. But she’s not eligible based on her being a couple years younger.

For all the dazzling looking people in their 40s, I also see people out there about my age who could pass for 50 or older. Clearly, the years have taken their toll.

The other day I ran into someone I used to interview for stories 20 years ago when I worked as a reporter who said to me that I look the same now as I did back then. “You haven’t aged!” he said.

I don’t necessarily see it that way. A couple years ago, I used to pluck out the gray hairs on my beard. With the exponential growth of gray, I have given up on that now, accepting my salt and pepper look. There are bags under my eyes, which I tried to fix with some carrot-based lotion for a while, but gave up on because I’m not disciplined enough.

Then there’s my hair, which clearly has deserted me over the years. Some guys talk about their gray hair. I just say to them, “yours might be gray, but mine is has left the building.”

Even if, to the naked eye, it looks like I haven’t aged, I would say genetics have more to do with it than environment.

Yes, weight plays a large role in how old someone looks. The people on The Biggest Loser tend to look a lot older at the beginning of the show than at the end of it, even though they aged a year in the process.

Other than a period at the turn of the century when I ballooned out, my weight has stayed about the same, so I guess that counts for some of it.

But the fact is, I have had a baby face my whole life. When I was growing up, I always looked young. Frankly, it wasn’t helpful back then, because girls weren’t real interested in dating a kid, and bullies who were a foot taller than me found me easy prey in the hallways. Adults would say to me back then, “Wait until you’re XX age and you still look young. That will be nice.”

I guess it’s nice. Of course, looking young doesn’t do anything to help me out in my daily life.

I heard a quote on television that said, “There’s nothing worse than being famous and broke.”

I imagine it works the same way with people who are extremely good looking (and believe me, I don’t put myself in that category by any means.)

If you’re financially stressed, don’t like your job, have problem children and basically have grim life prospects otherwise, being good-looking doesn’t do a lot of good.

Of course, I guess you’d be perceived as having a better life than others. So the beautiful people have that going for them.


Joel Myhre is The Journal’s publisher. Email him at

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