Some do. But not all of us, Louise. You and I both know that so many of us women dress to impress each other. That is also driven by media norms. Of course it’s stupid. Most good men I know do not like complex hair styles. They don’t like complex, fancy outfits. They like real, comfortable, competent, confident women.

Those of us women who have done enough personal work no longer bank solely on the currency of beauty, which has to eventually decline. While again, I get your point, your statement ignores a great many of us (men and women alike) who work very very hard on ourselves, our spiritual development, our character. I got a simply lovely comment from a woman who stated flatly that she had been obese and plain all her life. As she entered her sixties, she noticed her friends who had been beautiful forever begin to have a terrible time coping with the inevitable. Having traded on the currency of the external, now, as those attributes faded, they were lost.Her observation has real meaning for those in the grip of the construct that you and I are defined solely by our looks.

The very best men I know love women who can tuck into a sandwich, roll on the floor with their dogs, don’t give a flying fuck about television programs or America’s Next Model, and for shit’s sake, don’t obsess constantly about the calories in a leaf of lettuce.

Ultimately, Louise, you and I and all humanity, we are not our bodies. We are not our physical forms. It is a vehicle, and that is all it is. It gives us a way through life, and allows us to experience what there is here to experience. When we overly identify with our bodies, boy, does that sell products. The problem is that eventually, and ultimately, there is nothing but nothing that will extend life forever, nothing but nothing that will make us “perfect” whatever that’s supposed to mean. The only choice left to me, if I am to be happy, is to find deep satisfaction in life, life experiences, and a joy in living. If I allow external standards to suck the joy out of me (and I sure did for way too long) then I only have myself to blame.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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