Continuing on from yesterday’s blog about how you can seldom learn much from watching perfection but you can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes (and your own)…
I don’t trust people over a certain age who have totally wrinkle-free foreheads and no spidery skin wrinkles at the side of their eyes. This tends to go against the prevailing orthodoxy that everyone should look young and wrinkle-free.
But, if you don’t have any wrinkles, you haven’t experienced bad times. In fact, you haven’t experienced much at all. So you are likely (I am not saying certainly) to be less than averagely sympathetic to or understanding of other people’s problems.
A wrinkle isn’t just a one-off frown or a one-off laugh with the eyes.
It is the result of repeated somethings.
Of course, if you have had a shit time, you may have gone to the other extreme and have turned into a soul-less bastard with no empathy, sympathy or any other form of pathy except possibly psychopathy.
Mass murderers and evil incarnates tend, I think, to have quite lined faces too.
So a wrinkly face ain’t always a guarantee of anything.
But at least it doesn’t mean the person is a shallow, inexperienced, inward-looking shell of a half-human who sees the world only by looking outward and not by trying to see the world from other people’s viewpoints.
I think this obsession with wrinkles came about when an English teacher at my school went on-and-on in awe-struck admiration at the look of poet WH Auden’s face, telling us something like: “Just look at all the experience in that face!”
I remember sitting in a tube train after that looking at my reflection in the window opposite and raising my eyebrows to create wrinkles in my forehead… then being disappointed when, lowering my eyebrows, the skin on my forehead returned to its virgin, furrow-free blandness.
Now the top half of my face, given the wrong type of side-lighting, can look like a cross between a furrowed field and the number of lines in Tolstoy’s War & Peace and it will only get worse.
On the other hand – or face – there is only a very thin dividing line between being experienced in a good way that may show admirable humanity and being a wrinkly old fucker, possibly psychopathic, sat in the corner mumbling into his own beard, beer or spittle.
I think I may go and have a lie-down now.