Spoons with Hair.

Last year when I returned to Australia for the school holidays, I turned on the television and was greeted by a large number of spoons with hair. Women who I had identified with for most of my life, were looking a little “unusual”. They were shiny, smooth replicas of themselves. The men? The men looked exactly the same, just a little older. Oh hang on, Shane Warne looked a bit weird, as did Sam Newman, but when it came to reading the news or presenting a television show? It appeared that age was actually quite endearing for a man, yet catastrophic for a woman.

I am not anti plastic surgery, anti Botox or anti whatever it is that makes your skin puff out. If that’s what you feel you need to do, I think you should do it. What worries me though, is I’m struggling to find women in media, television and film who aren’t doing it. Which means it’s becoming normal to look like a spoon.  I don’t need women to look like spoons, do you? I want women on the telly to know I appreciate their age and longevity. More importantly, I want my daughters to know that you can age, grow and remain respected in whatever you do, with wrinkles.

On twitter yesterday I asked for suggestions on women we admired with wrinkles. The same usual suspects popped up over and over again, you guessed it, Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. And then the ball started rolling, suggestions came thick and fast. Tilda Swinton, Salma Hayek, Rachel Ward, Meryl Streep, Julie Waters, Greta Scacchi, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jodie Foster and Francis McDormand all made the list. My own personal favourites were Australian food author and restauranteur Maggie Beer and Film photographer Brigitte Lacombe.

It was Brigitte Lacombe that got me thinking about this.

On Thursday night I was out to dinner with a few friends and noticed Brigitte and her sister Marian were in the same restaurant. After I’d finished hyperventilating and gushing over my discovery, I sat and admired them from afar. Two sisters out for a meal, both incredibly successful in their careers. In their working life they are surrounded by movie stars, media moguls and highly influential players in the film industry. I watched them giggle over their sake. Brigitte is always recognizable by her visual simplicity. Looking like she has just stepped out of one of her iconic photos, her face is devoid of makeup, her hair long and silver, her black heavy rimmed glasses come on and off as she peruses the menu, her clothes are as always, black and white. She is a la naturel. She looks comfortable in her skin, her responsive, pliable skin. I like her skin.

I like her skin because she looks comfortable with growing older. I want to be comfortable with growing older and selfishly I need women like Brigette Lacombe, Francis McDormand and Kristin Scott Thomas to confirm that’s it’s okay to look older. 

Jamie Lee Curtis who describes herself as “anti anti aging” said in March this year ‘We are ALL going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us, if we are lucky enough to make it through this hard life into older adulthood…”
I’m lucky enough to still be here. 

For a little inspiration I’ve made myself a board to look at. A little reminder of the women I want to see more of. The writers, directors, actresses and foodies that pop up on my television and smile with their eyes. The ones that say look how smart I got, look how clever I am. See, I got older and wiser. 

I’m lucky enough to still be here.

Who do you want to look at? Do you care? Any suggestions on who to add to the board?

Here’s one of Brigitte’s photos of Meryl Streep. Just gorgeous. Both Merryl and Brigitte’s talent.

*Update* There’s been some controversy over my addition of Meryl, so I thought I’d add another photo.

Sign up for the best bits here

Sign up for the best bits from our community of forty thousands expats. Every Saturday morning we’ll shoot you the five hottest topics from the world of expat.

Powered by ConvertKit


  1. I do so love the term “spoons with hair”! I adore Emma Thompson and she doesn’t seem the type to sink to spoondom.

  2. Loved this–and I agree with Kim-Marie, “spoons with hair” will stick with me. I don’t know how we recover from this wave of plastic people on the screen….how we communicate that beauty is found within the heart. The more of us that keep trying, though, the better chance I have of finding confident, loving, REAL women to marry the three sons I am attempting to raise to appreciate such!

  3. I love Meryl, but her face is almost spponlike for her age. Yes, she has a few wrinkles but her jaw line is a little too tight still, don’t you think? Still, is she wants to do anything that’s her prerogative, and if she has had anything done, it looks good.

  4. I’d like to add Sissy Spacek to your list. And several other actresses who’s names I will think of in the middle of the night tonight.

  5. If I had the money and didn’t have needle phobia, I would be in that operating theatre getting nicely tightened up.

    One can age very nicely with a daily regime of grooming and a damn good hairdresser.
    I love the blog called ” Advanced Style”. Ari photographs women mainly in New York city. Lots of inspiration there.
    I live in the tropics and the humidity and sun plays havoc with my skin so I just have to grin and bear it!

  6. Why spoons?

  7. Meryl is one of the softer, less obvious beauty’s who’ve had work done.

    But yes, I was just thinking this the other day. As I flicked through the channels admiring the smooth-skinned women my age, it struck me that I now have a very perverse incorrect view on what I’m meant to look like. I couldn’t understand why I seem to be aging and those around my age on tv are regressing.

    One particular program had about 9 beauties. Only one was wearing their natural face. Do you know how I noticed? I almost balked at the one with greying hair and wrinkles. I thought, oh my goodness, she looks so old. Then I had a reality check and realized she looks the same in the mirror as I do. We look our age. It’s only then that I was able to see her beauty and the others looked plastic and puffy.

    I get the lure of wanting to look shiny & new. I think it’s happening in women so young now, in their 20’s theyre having work done, it’s hard to know what’s real anymore. I don’t mind what people choose to do with their own face. But I almost feel like they need to come with a small print disclaimer on their forehead that states “looks may differ from actual age. Not all looks are standard and there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t achieve the same outstanding results”.

  8. That’s a really good way to explain it, Meryl does look softer (if she’s had work done). I don’t know if she has or not and I’m not fussed either way. I know exactly what you mean about having to have a reality check when we see people that actually look their age – which is where my issue lies. I’m worried that now that we only see women on the telly who have had work done we have a very distorted view of ourselves and others. I’m loving your “looks may differ from actual age”. LOVE!

  9. I haven’t heard the “spoon” term before but I do love it. I am sensing that in California these spoon women are quite common. I once sat next to a lady at coffee casually discussing (and loudly) potential botox over the phone. And even lovely Anna Quindlen spoke about having the “11” in her forehead filled in with some procedure.
    I adore the other women around here, the grannies who turn up to book talks in their jogggers and baggy jeans and grey flecked hair that has possibly not even been straightened or styled .. these women who are so interesting and can talk about books with such intelligence. They are my role models.
    But I fear that not succumbing to the new aesthetic standards will come at a high price. And in corporate, media and showbiz worlds I suspect that for women who want to stay in the game there is little actual “choice”.
    Ah, I see I am writing a blog post. And I will have you know that I paused Downton Abbey to read this. That is the highest praise I can offer.

  10. I’m so glad none of this worries me. I don’t know how old I look. I constantly told it’s “too young to have nine kids”. I’m not sure how young that is. Honestly, it’s not something I think about. Not ever.

    I see beauty in kindness. I think a woman who is gentle always looks beautiful. I think I’m reasonably kind… I’m still working on gentle. I’m happy with kind.

  11. Just saw Judy Dench in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – she has short white beautifully cut hair and wrinkles in her face, and she looked absolutely marvelous, distinguished like you usually only call men at a certain age. A whole large generation of women is getting older, maybe there is hope we will embrace our wrinkles!

  12. Gotta love Meryl’s apple cheeks. Really don’t think she’s had work done (Hollywood couldn’t keep a secret like that), she’s blessed with great bone structure and has always taken care of herself.

    One of the refreshing things about women in the Netherlands is that they wear their wrinkles proudly. The newscasters, presenters and even the actors in commercials aren’t glossy spoons; they’re real people, aging naturally.

Speak Your Mind