Inbetweeny Rebecca Moore on the phenomenon of hitting 40 and losing that lusted-after factor

I recently read an article on the Invisible Woman – which isn’t some feminist take on the 1930s film but a phenomena apparently afflicting all women over 40.

The piece centred around the author’s experience of devolving from an attractive, lithe and lusted after 20-something into an attractive, lithe but no longer lusted after 40-something. Being in the middle of this situation – neither 20 years’ old (or particularly lithe) with endless optimism (the abundant 20s sprawled openly before me) nor being a 40-year old with kids and a closed front door – I read this piece with the correct blend of knowing association and abject terror.

The whole problem – said the author – was that it didn’t matter how nice she made herself look, how much effort she put into her looks or her presence, there were whole hordes of 20 and 30 year olds at the peak of their physical, fertile fitness roaming the streets and shared office spaces.

And surprisingly enough, so it turns out, there ain’t nothing you can do about biology and time.

I currently have a friend in her early 40s who is now enduring a separation and divorce from her much younger husband with whom she has three young children.

He has decided that he is not happy with their set-up and wants to move on.

I’m not on anybody’s side in this, relationships are more complex than any outsider can ever know.

However the different situations that the husband and wife find themselves in post-breakup has been brought home to me.

He is at the prime of his physical attractiveness: he has always been good-looking by all accounts but I certainly find men look even better with a few distinguished lines on their face and with an older guy’s calmness and/or wisdom.

Women can still be beautiful at 40 (hello, the likes of Cameron Diaz and Heidi Klum) but that bloom we have in our 20s, that fabulous indicator of fresh-faced fertility, has gone.

So, what to do about it? Well, on this point the author of the article remained frustratingly mute.

She had no answer. And neither do I. Because there is no hope. Lately, the ageing issue has become a thing for me: I feel that my eyes appear half-closed all the time. I'm paranoid that I look tired, or haggard or perhaps both.

I feel like my forehead has dropped a few inches and is now pushing down on the rest of my face, encouraging faultlines to deepen all over.

I’m overly conscious of frowning and am trying to not show any emotion on my face lest lines inextricably form while I’m distracted. Of course, this probably means I spend an inordinate amount of time in bitchy-resting face mode now. I apologise to all the people I inadvertedly offend out in the wilds of Cornmarket.

I feel as though I should swim nightly in baths of oil just to prevent my skin from cracking like a dried-up riverbed in post-apocalyptic England.

Which is all ridiculous, I realise. No amount of oil can save me now. Soon I'll be on the downward spiral toward MILF-dom and botox. Unless I start placing more worth on my sparkling personality and intellectual wit. I mean, over 40s may not have the bloom of youth but they have had longer to cultivate the more lasting attributes that make someone attractive. That’s gotta be worth something.

Er... right?