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Generation X’s journey from jaded to sated: Why GenXers age gracefully

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3. We Age Gracefully

If you drive through a college campus these days, you’re not going to find a single female who’s wearing Doc Martens or engulfed by a prairie dress or schlepping along in a pair of men’s Umbros. Instead, you’re going to see a bunch of very pretty young women, in various stages of undress, who may have been given a breast enlargement, from Daddy no less, as a high school graduation present.

Something similar holds true for the Boomer women; once free-loving hippies or poodle-skirt sweethearts, these 60-something women are now permanent passengers on the Botox train. Pumped up with collagen and fillers, this wrinkle-free group of gals has rendered themselves almost fully recyclable in the PET bin.

“Pardon me. Is that a hot dog under your nose?”

“No, that’s my upper lip.”

Gen X is shyer about bodily renovation. We grew up looking at Molly Ringwald and Melissa Gilbert and Nancy McKeon—girls who were considered pretty or passable, even with big teeth and bad bangs and freckles. Not to mention, when we were little, there was no such thing as “playing dress-up”—unless you count putting on your mothers’ high heels and smoking a drinking straw and speculating on the Kennedy curse.

We came of age back when very little could be done if you were born unattractive. Hair extensions and tooth whitening and nose jobs were reserved for Elizabeth Taylor’s inner circle, so we all just slumped along in our glasses and retainers and Jordache jeans that went all the way up to our flat chests and accepted the fact that we’d probably have to work overtime on our personalities and putting out.

This has resulted in a whole mess of females who had to live through decades of bad hair days and unmedicated acne. With faces like ours, we relied more on our brains than our beauty to get us places. We’re a little more natural, a little more real, a little more down-to-earth. Bookended by those who love plastic and those who love princesses, here we are, in our ponytails, wary of the very un-Zen idea of perfection.

(I realize this particular theory is likely to piss off Boomers and Ys alike. Don’t you realize you’re generalizing? Don’t you think women should support other women’s beauty choices? Are you jealous? Because I bet you slump around town in an Old Navy Zeppelin t-shirt and a pair of busted Tom’s and haven’t even brushed your hair today. To which I answer: Yes. Yes. Yes. And why are you following me?)

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