Time: The Great Equalizer

When I was 15 this ad summed up for me everything I thought was ultra-groovy. What girl didn't want to look like this? This, by the way, is the first true supermodel, Jean Shrimpton.

Looking at it now, I can see why I tried so hard to look like this. For a short while, anyway. Within the space of about two months, however, I'd found my own look, which was much more existential (for want of a better word), much more bohemian and much more "me". But for a moment in time this summed up my life as a teenager. This was the look in that intake of air right before Madison Avenue caught wind that mind-altering substances were going to change everything and I had to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to look like Jean Shrimpton...

It's a curious ad, and it says something not only about my generation's standard of beauty in the days right before Jimi Hendrix and Sgt. Pepper, but also about marketing at the time. The youth market was brand newlots of money to be made therebut Self-Realization? Capitulation? How many ads today address any age group with that level of vocabulary? Pretty cool, I think.

Anyway, tonight is the Sixties party we're throwing for my birthday, which is today. When I used to look at this ad so many years ago. I never dreamed I'd be writing about it at the age of 59, wondering where all that rosy bloom went. It's not that I mind getting olderI'm digging it a lot, in fact. I just wish the age we look on the outside matched the age we feel on the inside. If it did, I'd probably try to look like this again tonight. But you know, even Jean Shrimpton doesn't look like this now. It's true what they say, time is the great equalizer.