Rachel Hunter shows even perfection fades
Let me tell you what my spectacle frames have in common with Rachel Hunter: Weirdness around the eyes.
Put it like this: There comes a time when the face you see in the mirror is unfamiliar and your body is a perfect stranger. It has to do with time, a better word than age, I think, because you're not quite old, surely, but neither are you young.
I see a person whose eyes seem to have shrunk behind sliding eyelids, whose jawline, never prettily clear-cut, is a bigger blur. There are soft lines down from the sides of my mouth, too, that in a worst-case scenario will one day make me resemble a ventriloquist's dummy.
There's a kind of morbid fascination in detecting new bits of crepe-y skin, new wrinkles and folds about which you can do nothing. It's too late to develop firm flesh; you had that when you thought you didn't and now it's gone. Never mind.
I have my grandmother's hands now. The skin folds on the back of them in surprising ways and they've become veiny in a way I dislike. My hands look as if they've done many millions of things, a good few million of them unglamorous and tiresome, which is true.
A friend accurately notes that certain hot air blow driers for the hands set up a ripple effect in your flesh like an animation sequence. And this ripple - this stranger - is apparently part of us. Our bodies are racing downhill.
Worse things are best glossed over. Varicose veins; surgery scars; little red veins like scuttling spiders; shocking wisps of facial hair; twinges of pain from out of nowhere. I've managed to avoid deformed feet, although I remember my grandmother's bare feet, moulded to fill the shape of shoes long out of fashion.
I had hoped that I wouldn't ever need to wear glasses, but the time came when I did, and they give me an even more precarious idea of what I really look like and who I am.
As with birth and death, I feel you have to do glasses alone and if possible in a sane state of mind. I have failed at this lately, baffled at having to furnish a face I haven't come to terms with. You can fall back on frames you can hide behind; you can make your glasses compensate for your face; but I'm unsure.
I've bought two expensive mistakes in the past couple of years, one frame perfect for a Parisian bourgeoise I am not, the other for an ageing Sophia Loren, which I'm not either. And now I've bought a third frame to not know myself in. I'll keep them out of sight for a year or so, like I did with the frames I still wear, like I do with fashionable clothes that make me feel equally unsure. I keep them until they're more muted, like me.
So much anxiety. How much worse it must be to be a professional beauty. At least I've been spared that. I was never a Rachel Hunter, a healthy girl-next-door, fleshly luscious, while being by no means chubby.
She was blessed with a perfect body; a face almost childishly plump, and prettily dimpled; thick, wavy hair and a look that in her youthful pin-up pics conveyed a kind of radiant, knowing innocence. She looked better the fewer clothes she had on - the reverse of the rest of us. But even perfection fades.
This moody rumination is based on the latest publicity shot of Rach, published a few days ago in advance of a new season of New Zealand's Got Talent, on which she's a judge.
Her eyes are not the same, surely, and neither is the rest of her face and jawline.
Time seems to have stretched her into someone older, not younger, and in short I suspect she has gone under the knife, as ageing beauties will.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope it's just a lousy photograph. But you never know, I could be right.