A new study purports to show that women start feeling old at 29. But take it with a grain of salt — the study was commissioned by funeral home.
According to the New York Daily News, a British company called Avalon Funeral Plans polled 1,000 people on their website. On average, women said they started feeling old at 29 (the Daily News reports this finding as, "29 is when women don't have 'it' anymore," which sounds sort of sinister). And they gauged their horrifying senescence by outward markers like gray hairs, sagging skin, and "assets heading south." Meanwhile, the average male respondent started feeling old at 58, and was more likely to cite behavioral markers of aging like finding music too loud or experiencing erectile dysfunction.
It's not completely clear how the website presented the survey, but it doesn't appear to be very scientific. For instance, how old were the respondents? Unless they were all over 58, they were really speculating about when they thought they start feel old, which may not be very meaningful. Also, a funeral company may not be a totally objective source of aging data — after all, they have a stake in making people feel old so that they'll start making plans for their demise.
A similarly questionable source of info on over-the-hillness is the company Ulthera, which sounds like "urethra" but actually makes "the first-and-only energy-based device for aesthetics" (anyone who has watched a fifties sci-fi movie knows this cannot end well). The energy face-lift folks asked women what they'd give up for three months in order to look younger. Some of the results are depressing: 49% said they give up restaurants, and 32% listed sex. Others are just kind of silly: "Over one-third (35 percent) would even forego shopping." The take-home message, though, is that women are all desperate to look younger.
Of course, aging is big business, and everybody from "aesthetics" firms to funeral homes profits from making us feel ancient (though at least the funeral home presumably wants people to prepare for their deaths, rather than chasing immortality). And if women really do feel like they've lost "it" at 29, it might have something to do with everyone constantly reminding us of the sad, saggy fate that surely awaits us — unless we start Ulthera-ing it up, of course.
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