It’s July and, despite banning plastic straws, we are that little bit closer to the seemingly inevitable end of the world, so we've... all become obsessed with ageing.
I have been for a while. A few months ago I had Botox. I’d spent years tossing up whether I thought it more chic to age gracefully or to go the whole hog and become half-human, half-plastic. I decided that gracefulness was never necessarily in my grasp — and so I took the plunge, and had 12 injections plunged into my face. It was free, too (long story), and not many things in this life are.
Anyway, now everyone's gone cuckoo for FaceApp, an ageing face filter — a very good one, mind you — that destroys all our hard work – the oily night creams that wreck our pillows, our slight loss of sight every time we put a frozen gel mask over our eyes (just me?), all those green juices that taste like licking the sole of a shoe – and questions our long spanning cultural obsession with youth.
Overnight, hot young things — from drag queens, to models, to celebrities, to my mum — had all welcomed the (faux) ageing process and posted it on social media for all to see. Sure, this doesn’t remove all the years of harmful obsession that society demands we put on youthfulness — but it’s somewhat bizarre when we all work tirelessly to look less tired, until a filter comes along and we decide to bin all that work and give our data over to a (rumoured) Russian company seeking to steal your face-data.
Fast-forwarding time like this is odd on other levels, too, not just from a beauty standpoint.
In order of terrifying: The world is actually, probably ending and it’s actually all because of 100 companies who will do nothing about it until they implode. God knows where the political system will be if in this, the year 2019, we have a racist and (by next week) a moron running two of the world’s biggest superpowers.
The housing crisis in London will continue to get worse, with a study this week predicting that more than 600,000 millennials could face homelessness in the future as private rents and pensions will not match up. We’ve been told most weeks this year that the end of the world as we know it is imminent, in terrifying climate reports that decree things like a third of the world’s population will be eradicated in 40 years (okay I made that one up). Yet how do we respond? We go to Lush and use that shampoo that isn’t in a bottle and constantly slips out of your hands when you go to pick it up in the overly hot shower.
Perhaps it’s because our future is deeply uncertain that we’re thrilled by the prospect of ageing. Perhaps it’s because we’re worried we might never make it to our free bus pass, and so getting a glimpse of what our photo on it might look like allows us to at least experience our own mortality the way others before us have. It’s our way of digitally securing our future.
It could just be that it's fun to do, which is an option, but when I filtered my own face it felt bittersweet: an app forcing you to confront your mortality on all kinds of levels is deeply millennial and ironic, but it did. After years of being secretly scared about ageing, maybe we’re finally realising that it could — in this fast imploding world — be a privilege to do so.
Anyway, off to book a Botox top up.