Women, Old Before Their Time

An ad from 1898 promises a fountain of youth for your hair. i i

hide captionAn ad from 1898 promises a fountain of youth for your hair.

Jamie/Flickr
An ad from 1898 promises a fountain of youth for your hair.

An ad from 1898 promises a fountain of youth for your hair.

Jamie/Flickr

We did a great show last week about longevity — specifically, how certain aspects of your personality can predict how long you'll live. But what the researchers didn't talk about is how old you feel, no matter what your numerical age.

A funeral plan provider in the UK conducted a survey on just that point. And while I'm not surprised that women felt older sooner than men, I am a bit surprised by how big the gap is:

Women consider themselves old at 29 – half the age of men who don't feel over the hill until they are 58.

The psychologist who commented on the survey surmised the huge disparity is due to cultural pressure on women to look young and beautiful, no matter how old they are. Men, he says, simply don't feel that pressure.

Granted, this is just a survey conducted by a business, not a rigorous scientific study. But still, it certainly supports the old "you're only as old as you feel" chestnut — and the thought of 29-year-old women feeling over-the-hill just stinks. Though I guess if you're in the funeral planning business, you know who your target market should be.

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