My unexpected desire to become picture perfect

<span>Photograph: Sergey Tolmachev/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Sergey Tolmachev/Alamy

Every woman from 16 to 106 should read Anita
Bhagwandas’s article (‘I’ve always felt on the outside of pretty, looking in’: a beauty writer on how she finally stopped feeling ugly, 10 February). I sympathised and empathised all the way, and felt enormously glad that I have managed to live a life that has been largely free of the constraints imposed by the need to look beautiful. Perhaps it would have been more difficult for me had I worked in a predominantly male environment or looked like Gina Lollobrigida. As it is, I saw no need to be a slave to beauty parlours, or hairdressing salons desperate to cover up my roots. I refuse to fret over wrinkles or greying hair.

That is, until last week. My first novel is soon to be published at the age of 75, and I have been asked for a mugshot. Panic ensued as I searched out abandoned foundation and a barely used lipstick from more than 20 years ago. My husband has now trimmed my hair, and I consider myself good to go. However, I do wonder why anybody should wish to know the way I look. Shouldn’t it be the words that count?
Joan Lewis
St-Étienne-de-Gourgas, France

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