Hello my fabulous readers (is there anyone still out there or is this just the echo chamber of my mind?) Ha! But seriously, this week I was thinking that I would write about the new Met Bauer but then I was up late last night binge watching Netflix, drinking Modelo and eating pickles and as I was falling asleep (not still consuming said above) I thought about youth. Well not youth but looking young.
I thought about this because in the past few weeks it has been a re-occurring topic in conversations, books being read and movies watched. This of course made me think about me me me. I am a 34 year old women who hangs out with usually much younger people, median age 27 but some 23ish, and while that isn’t that big of a deal (unless you are single and trying to date which = stab self in eye) it becomes a topic because when people find out my age they always say, “well you don’t look it.” I know that’s meant to be a compliment but I can’t help but think, ‘Why does being 34 = old?’ But let’s be honest, being a woman always makes age relevant until you blissfully get to be 80 but until then age does matter and it matters a lot.
In the art world – as in all cultural industry– the fetishization of youth is de rigueur. Lucky for us the recent peak of this, i.e. 89plus and the 25-year-old burn out artist trend has eased up. Now it is not so tragic if you are 27 and you haven’t ‘made it’ yet. That trend now seems dangerous and thankfully is being viewed as tacky for all involved. Phew right? But this little dip on the art/youth thing is just that though, a dip, and in another 3 years (it cycles about every 5 and we are in year 2 of the youth recession) it will swing back up.
For someone like me who has been in the art world gambit for over ten years I feel like a veteran. I have seen the waves, the trends, the hot flavor of the month and as my fellow art travelers get all clamourey about one thing or another I usually just smile and think the old adage ‘this too shall pass.’ I’m not being smug, just honest. I learned the power of passing fads early on when Kris Kross was literally making kids in school wear their pants backwards and how that ridiculous trend so quickly became a marker of if you were a follower/hanger on/completely silly. After comprehending the power and fickle nature of trends and what they could signify, I knew that I never, ever, ever wanted to be seen as a follower.
Trends and art fads are a dime a dozen but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the potential to be influential. Most of the things in the modern/contemporary art history books are made up of cliques and factions that only existed for a few years but the right mix of nepotism and narcissism has made them epicenters of artistic change. Within that potential though there should be some clarity to what it also reflects which is human nature’s obsession with the new and that is often times linked with youth.
Crusades, alchemy, quests and thousands upon thousands of pages have been written about and spurned by our desire for youth. Whether that is in the form of a fountain or pill, we seek it relentlessly.
Being in my mid 30s (gasp) I know that I am still “young,” but in the art world and the circles I reside I feel like some sort of imposter. I feel that I ‘pass’ for being younger then I am all the time. That is not always bad as having flexible perceptions of self is probably the most liberating and amusing thing but it is also negative, like having to overcompensate to be taken seriously and being marginalized or sexualized.
I can’t complain though. I know that ‘looking young’ is the golden ticket to many things and damn it, I do use it to my advantage. It’s a terrible thing to be aware of and yes, straight up arrogant to admit but hey, it is how it is. With that in mind and a long ramble later I will quickly give some tips on how to stay ‘young looking.’ Who knows how long it will last. Does it matter? Yes in the small ways, no in the big ways. All I know is that I would rather be thought of as a lot of things versus ‘looking young,’ but hey I’ll take it while I can.
Be Asian – Sorry, but yeah.
Sleep (A lot) – Sleep is the best for staying youthful as it rejuvenates and heals your body. I get about seven hours a night.
Pickle Yourself – I drink more then I should and I know that is bad in many ways, all those cringe text messages and bad decisions, but I think all my years of doing this has contributed to looking young aka unwinding, being absurdist, Dionysiac revelry.
No Anxiety – I know that this is a real thing but I have never understood anxiety as a thing. Of course I get anxious in certain situations but the thing of ‘having anxiety’ as a day-to-day is hard for me to understand. I feel bad for those that do because that constant state must ware you down like sharpening a rock with a spoon.
No Regrets – Ya, we all regret things but let – it – go.
Spicy Food – It increases your metabolism and makes you sweat. Yay pores!
Eye cream – Everyone who is over 30 should use eye cream every night. I use Mario Badescu ceramide eye cream. It’s eye magic.
Face Regime – Like the above this should be a twice a day, without fail routine. Never ever skip it. No matter how drunk, how tired, never ever miss it. Also moisturize! (And SPF in the summer).
Be Alone – Alone in the sense that you can do things, be just by yourself for short or long periods of time. It’s not a task but something you should look forward to.
Party Hard – Dancing, laughing, having a blast or even a mild blast will make you realize life is just one giant ride so might as well have fun while we are all strapped into it.
Style – It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be trendy but for the love of god one must have their own personal sense of style.
Read A Lot – Big brain = bright skin.
Have Mentors – Acknowledging and having mentors who are older (and preferably the same sex) are invaluable in developing character and understanding the big picture things. How this effects looks, idk but somehow I feel this is linked and important.
Greens – Look down at your plate of food. If half of it isn’t green veg you need to go back to the store and get more green veg.
Recreational Drugs – Having a night or two of drug-induced fun once in a while is fine but having a habit of it is just the worst for looks. Any sort of habit is gnawing and energy sucking so yeah not having a drug problem is a good look in all ways.
Nicotine – Smoking is terrible but I’m a nicotine addict and have been for 20 years. Constantly sucking on an e-cig at the moment cause I don’t want to have tar wrinkles/real cigs will kill you but yeah, love my nicotine.
Makeup but no face makeup – Having fun with makeup is fab but wearing concealer/foundation and eeekkk contouring everyday is not cute. Healthy skin is key and although I certainly don’t have clear skin (hello acne) having clean/uncaked skin is #1.
Don’t look in the mirror too much – One to three times a day is all you should gaze upon yourself. The more you look into the mirror the more existential doom and flaws will surface. You look good baby, work it, own it, get out of the bedroom and go show off that fab face!
Not Giving A Fuck – Care about the things that really matter. Love, friendship, family, personal/global politics but all that other stuff who cares! As I’ve said so many times on this blog – we live and then we die – so why not have the best possible time while we are still on that being alive part.