Details magazine has dictated that the sexiest woman on the planet is not Scarlett Johansson, or Gisele Bundchen, but Jennifer Aniston -- who is 40.
Meanwhile, People magazine puts Italian actress Valerie Bertinelli, 48, in a bikini on its cover. Cindy Crawford, 43, is covered in soap suds in Allure.
There's a celebration going on among all of us over 35. Our dirty little secret is finally out: it's way hotter to be older and wiser than taut, 20 and clueless.
Obviously older women have been greatly advantaged by the cosmetic aids that, for example, make Demi Moore at 46 look 26. But the sexual power of age is not exclusively entwined with Botox and Restylane.
A young model at a dinner last week was theoretically the most beautiful woman in the room -- but her appeal was greatly diminished by her overt insecurity about having never done anything with her life other than "model."
She kept interrupting people, desperate to show she had a brain. The belle of the party was a woman in her late thirties who was eight months pregnant. She focused complete attention on whomever she talked to. All the men left besotted.
Their comments reminded me of a recent lunch I had with a businessman 20 years my senior. Somehow the conversation detoured from market volatility into a seminar on why older women often are more appealing than youngsters.
He said that first of all, women can be divided into racehorses and donkeys when it comes to sex, and younger women should not be fooled into thinking they are naturally better.
Second, every man likes an intelligent woman -- but not a woman who feels she has to wear her brain like a garment for show. Third, men want women to make them feel masculine and important.
Young women sometimes think this is demeaning; an older woman knows it's just how the male/female dynamic works. And lastly, a man can smell a self-involved woman a mile off; young women are often self-involved.
So now we know why 40 is sexy and 20 is well, just 20. Personally, I look back at my twenties and think how very little I knew about anything, let alone men. But I'm very glad I only got told about racehorses and donkeys recently. If I'd heard that at 20 I might never have left the starting gate.
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