Beauty Mark

Just Like Butter: How I'm *Actually* Feeling About Aging

The honest truth about aging in this society, and the beauty in aging with a furry buddy.


Beauty Mark is a monthly column by Allie Rowbottom, where she answers readers' pressing beauty questions. To submit your question, email


Okay, I’m struggling with getting older. I cried on my 28th birthday. I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I can’t stop dreading aging. I miss milestones because I’m so afraid. Don’t know what my question is exactly, I’m just looking for advice.


Summer after summer in New York, I walk down the street in a short dress with the hot wind blowing memories at me like the sweet, sad caresses of an ill-fated love, and notice a steady decline in the number of cat calls directed my way. For a time, I wondered: Is this the result of #metoo? Changing cultural mores? Maybe a little. But deep down, I know it’s not just the morals that have changed. It’s me, too.

It bears noting that not all cat calls are created equal; some are admiring, others are scary and make you feel like trash. For the purposes of this answer, I’m talking about the admiring ones. Still, some readers will surely bristle at the cat call of any tenor as a barometer of any sort. The appropriate response to such attention is to frown and roll one’s eyes at the gall of MEN who should surely DO BETTER. Maybe so.

But the truth is that some Saturday nights, as a lonely young woman in New York, I put on a tight dress and walked down Broadway, counting how many men called out to me. “Smile!” They’d yell and I’d bare my teeth, stick out my tongue. I didn’t want the reality of their company any more than they wanted the reality of mine. I just wanted the assurance of their wanting. Sometimes, when I received enough validation, I’d turn around and head home before arriving at whatever club I was going to; it was enough for me, to bask in the fleeting desire of a stranger.

This article is for Readers Club subscribers only!

Subscribe now!

More Articles: