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Mar 11, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

It's funny how generational role models play into this. My father started going gray very early, in high school, so I grew up with him always somewhat gray. And I loved it. But he ultimately didn't, and for a time he cut the beard, but kept the mustache and dyed that. I hated the false coloring so much that I couldn't conceive of dying my facial hair. Then the one time I shaved my beard as an adult I was astonished to discover how much I looked like my dad. Never again. Now it’s prematurely white and flowing. People who know me from photographs think I’m older than I am, while people who I’ve met in person tend to think I’m younger. Seems like most observations about white hair (and balding) say far more about the beholder.

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Mar 11, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Interesting interview. When I first saw Brian’s beard recently , I felt that it made him look “scholarly “- yet still youthful. Years ago, if you remember, dear Sari, when I grew a beard to portray Tevye in “Fiddler”, it came in reddish— though my hair was brown then! Today, at 86, I choose to remain”bald faced”😀.

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Mar 11, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Great conversation - and although I think Brian does look younger with a computerized dyed beard - that's just the beginning of the multiplicity of voices that sound off on tweaking aging.

Should we not look our age? What happens to us from outside forces when we do or do not look our age and how do we feel about that?

Does the age / way that we look allow or stop us from acting in the world?

I'm a singer songwriter and I've recently started playing out again. And - I have a little trick that I use.

If I use the trick - I look younger and "more like myself". And - by the gods I DO look more like myself and I get much more positive feedback from people.

Literally, people walk up to me and start talking with me more, my social currency goes up - I'm not "on the shelf".

Whether or not to use this trick has been a preoccupation.

For the purposes of understanding - I don't think it matters too much what any specific trick may be - it could be anything to qualify as a "tweaking trick".

Maybe it would be good to talk about criteria for these tricks that we use to "stay in the swim of things".

For me the criteria that I'm working out is --- safe, inexpensive, quick, reproducible without interfering with life, painless and effective ------ and should not alienate you from your peers.

In my case - my trick does not affect my eyes in the least - my eyes being the gateway for others not only to my soul but also to my "aging position". I've realized that - being a recognizable Aged One helps other people.

I've considered doing a YouTube video on this subject.

PS - I just found Oldster on Youtube! Yay! I love your work.

One more thing - I completely agree that welcoming people of all ages to the Oldster fold is a productive and engaging approach. I remember well being 25 in NYC in the early 1980s and feeling washed up - and getting past that was a deepening experience. There are many of these crisis points in our lives - lets listen and accept.

Warmest regards

Jennie

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Mar 11, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

This was a wonderful conversation I could totally relate to. Even though I could read it faster, it was better to hear your voices and get inflections and warm feelings that print doesn't convey. I could totally relate. I always wanted to grow a beard because I have a weak double chin (even when I was skinny) and because it would make me look older, but I couldn't grow a proper beard until I was about 29. It started to turn gray, like Brian's, when I was relatively young -- in my case, around the time I hit 45 or 46, when I just had a goatee instead of a full beard. I think I used Grecian Formula for men's beards for a while. But then I left my job and moved to another city, and I just decided to shave off the beard because it didn't match my brown head hair. I never grew it back. At (almost) 71, my hair is still mostly brown, and I'm sure my beard would be totally white. And if I want to hide my double chin and wrinkles and wattles and turkey neck, I now can wear a mask! I don't care what anyone says, I love my pandemic masks. And unlike beards, they require no maintenance.

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Great conversation. Love the photos. Aging is a creative act. The history and wisdom of the beard is delightful. What does the beard have to say about all this? Rather than gray, how about silver streak?

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Loved this convo. I'm so glad that's photoshop.

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