Writer: Chris Gerbasi
The ‘Man on the Street’ says health beats looks any day
When comedian Billy Crystal was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” he played a narcissistic character named Fernando whose credo was, “It is better to look good than to feel good.”
That was in the 1980s. Fernando, if he took care of himself, might have a different take today. As people stay active and live longer, how should they look as they age? Should they remain “age appropriate” or go for cosmetic surgery? Is there an age limit for purple hair?
Local residents answered the question, “Do you prefer to age gracefully or look young at all costs?”
Melissa Young, 53, Sorrento
Her philosophy: “Aging gracefully and being as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I think more people here are into an active lifestyle and not worried about how they look or that they look younger. I lived in South Florida years ago, and it seemed to definitely matter more down there.”
On cosmetic surgery: “Not [for] me personally. It’s an individual choice. If some people want to do it because they may feel better about themselves, then good for them.”
On colorful hair: “You can do it if you’re 10, you can do it if you’re 90.”
Charlie Flint, 74, Sorrento
Of aging, Charlie says he’s “fighting it all the way” and staying fit by playing pickleball regularly in Mount Dora.
“All these folks that we play with here, everybody’s pretty much just natural and trying to do the best they can to stay in shape. You know, slow down the aging process as much as you can. And it works.”
On cosmetic surgery: “The only people who do that, they’re trying to impress the mirror.”
Julie Jordan, 46, Tavares
Of aging gracefully or looking young: “I think it’s a mix between the two. I don’t want to get surgery or anything, but I do the training and try to keep up at least. It’s a privilege, to me, to be older. To look your best and be healthy is great, but not at any cost. I think some people who try too hard are missing out on the benefits of growing older. It’s not just all looks.”
On colorful hair: “I like individuality. It doesn’t bother me one way or another. But I wouldn’t do it when I was younger, either.”
Tanya Evans, 32, Apopka
“I don’t want to get old,” says the Tavares bartender, but she believes people should look natural as they get older, and she would avoid surgery: “I’m not into all that.”
Her philosophy: “Eat healthy. Work out. Exercise. Have fun. Live life.”
On people trying to look young: “I see all kinds. It doesn’t really bother me. Everyone has their own way of how they want to look.”
Stephen Peshek, 34, Umatilla
The outdoor maintenance worker hopes to age naturally and worries about the effects of the sun while on the job, but wouldn’t resort to cosmetic surgery.
“I think that has to do with attention. Older men may want to look younger to attract younger women, and vice versa [for older women], and there’s no law against that.”
Fred Arrendell, 81, Mount Dora
He looks younger than his age, but never felt the need for cosmetic enhancements: “Whatever Mother Nature gives me, I’ll take it.”
His associates are either old or young; no in between. Does associating with young people keep you young? “No. It’s just in my genes.”
His advice for longevity: “Take a slow pace in life.”
Jadyn Vasquez, 18, Sorrento
She says she’ll do whatever it takes to keep looking young in the future—“I don’t want to get old”—except surgery.
Her advice for her older self: Diet, get more water, moisturize, go to bed earlier. Not like I’m doing right now.”
On colorful hair: “If you can pull it off, I think it’s fine.”
Anthony Noble, 67, Lake Panasofkee
He’s seen friends take the cosmetic surgery route.
“I’ve known some that seemed maybe somewhat obsessed with looks, and don’t get me wrong, I understand it. It’s up to each individual.”
But the former runner says a healthy body is more important than worrying about the effects of aging.
“It’s a natural phenomenon, and as long as I’m healthy, that’s the primary goal. Looks and youth are fleeting, as we all know, so I’m satisfied to be what I am.”