I have two sisters-in-law, aged 68 and 74, who have been genetically blessed with good looks, height and slimness. In fact, the elder was pushed to enter the Miss South Africa competition circa 1963. Their younger sister, although tiny, was very pretty and won Miss Karoo when she was a teenager. Of the three, she is the least worried about her looks these days (possibly because she still has to work hard to earn a living). The other two have been farmers' wives all their lives, married very young, had to keep up positions in the community, and have spent their lives creatively, producing lots of children, bringing them up and generally running the domestic side of their husbands' lives (with the help of 3 - 5 housemaids). Nowadays they are preoccupied with their looks: they worry constantly about the lines on their faces, their imaginary fat stomachs, and they trawl the shops constantly for flattering clothes. It is so hard getting old when you have been pretty. Isn't it easier if you have earned praise and attention during your lifetime more for your achievements than for your looks? Or is it just that we receive so few compliments from our husbands any more and that leads to insecurity? Or is it just the world we live in, where appearances are everything? I've just finished reading: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, in which the shuffling, nondescript concierge of a posh Parisian apartment building, conceals an excellent brain and a multitude of eclectic knowledge on everything from Japanese culture to the great philosophers and classical music. Her life is fulfilled when someone sees through her facade. An amazing read. I guess the only way to stop worrying about one's looks fading is to focus on keeping busy and not looking in the mirror.