Character Judgement

aunt-mickeyI was watching a show on HGTV the other day, and the couple that was house-hunting described the house they were being shown as a “mid-century modern with good bones.”  They went on to lavish praise on the house’s classic lines, its solid foundation and minimalist charm.  Next they were shown an even older house, which they also liked.  They thought it had tons of potential, and it was described as an “aging beauty” whose creaky floors, cracked walls and and other flaws gave it a “timeless charm and character.”  They couldn’t wait to restore it to its former glory.

And that’s when it hit me.  I want people to judge me by the same standards they use to judge houses.

Think about it.  I was born in 1958, which means that I’m not really old, I’m just a “mid-century modern.”  And I’m sure I have good bones, even if they are covered up by drooping muscles and sagging skin.  My beauty is certainly minimalist, but if you think of me the way you think of a house, then that’s actually a good thing.  Even better, when I’m a bit older, I can look forward to being thought of as an “aging beauty,” whose wrinkles and creaky joints are simply considered charming.  I won’t be old, I’ll just be historic.  And possibly valuable.

If I were a house, people would think that the fact that my bottom half is significantly larger than my top half only meant that I have a “good foundation.”  My age would mean that I was “solidly built” and well put together.  When I approach the make-up counter at a department store, the clerk would be eager to bring out my hidden potential and restore my former beauty, rather than simply recommending a very strong anti-aging cream combined with a really good concealer.

The benefits of being judged by the same standards as a house are many, but if that’s not possible, I can also still think of other alternatives.  These days, trendy neighborhoods abound with vintage clothing stores, and they aren’t especially cheap.  If the same standards were applied to me, I’d be a “vintage” woman, not a middle-aged or old one.   Or I can be thought of as a fine wine, which we all know improves with age.  I like to think that I’m improving as I grow older, even if it doesn’t particularly show on the outside.

I know that judging others is something we all do occasionally, despite our best efforts to the contrary.  It seems to be part of human nature.  But since it’s so easy to see the value in older houses, wine and clothing, I can’t help but think how of nice it would be if we could see that same value in older people….

58 thoughts on “Character Judgement

  1. Now I’m guessing you don’t want anyone attempting to restore you to your former glory as suggested by one potential buyer, right? Well, maybe if they did it for free?😊
    But you’re so right, Ann and I love the way you took this show and applied it to how we view others and even ourselves.
    Why can’t we see the value in age and why can’t we apply that same mindset to human beings as we do to structures and other objects. Antiques are cherished, people discarded. How do we value one as much as we do and attempt to find ways to embrace it, live with it and restore it but won’t give a fraction of that same attention to the elderly or even middle age people. Sometimes I think we really need to reevaluate what’s most important in our lives.
    Great post!

    Liked by 5 people

    • I agree! I love antiques and old stuff, and yet I fret because when I look in the mirror, all is see is an old woman looking back at me! And yet what is wrong with that? I’ve earned every wrinkle. I need to see the value in it, just as I see the value in old inanimate objects. Still, if someone could restore me to my former “glory” for free, I just might take them up on that offer!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann, this post is BRILLIANT! I love, love, love the idea of being a “vintage woman”. You may have just coined a new term. The allegory here is amazing. I think you should submit this piece to a magazine. Not to mention I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I was reading 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m glad you could relate Kim! I just struck me as I was listening with half an ear to the HGTV program, and thought, “Damn, I want to be a house!” But seriously, if we can see the value in an old home, how can we not see it in an old person???

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It also made me think that maybe plastic surgery is to “vintage” women what “renovating” is to houses. If that’s the case, maybe I’m not so against plastic surgery after all. Maybe I’ll get some! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, Jodi! There is something wrong when we value old things but not old people. Because, in the long run, which is more important? Sadly, we have to become a bit long in the tooth ourselves before we realize this!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure I would like to be regarded as “a fixer-upper” – but mid-century modern suits me to a T (even though my taste in houses and furnishings runs further back).
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ann, This post is very thought-provoking and beautifully written. Like a house, shouldn’t we all appreciate in value as we age? After all, we are growing more charming and interesting every day.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. From what I’ve got to know of you Ann I’d definitely describe you as a fine wine that’s definitely improving with age, with good strong character and strong lines (especially in your writing!)
    What wonderful sentiments you describe here Ann. May we all be known by what we are inside and not by our surface cracks. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  7. GREAT analogy. I think of myself as a rock… a beautifully weathered, cracked, withstanding-the-passage-of-time mountain rock. A rock that’s seen plenty of sunshine (those golden times), some serious flooding (a few tears & sad moments that help us grow), lots of heat (got into spats of trouble here and there), and some frozen-out times (periods where not much happens other than the routine day to day). But a rock that’s surrounded by fantastic scenery (family, friends & the places travelled on this beautiful earth). A rock that’s rolled around (travelling) a bit. Oh… and mountain rocks usually carry lichen (the friends and family you bring along for the ride that cling to you, no mater what, and that are sustained by their interactions with you) that give them spectacular splashes of colour.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Let’s just hope no-one wants to do ‘gentrification’ in our ‘neighborhoods’…..here’s the definition I found: renovate and improve (especially a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste.
    make (someone or their way of life) more refined or dignified. I love your post, and if we use this idea about houses for us (I guess I’m taking a leap for neighborhoods), then I would never want anyone to do this to me, eh?? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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