Julie Hall discusses the issue of the Facebook Profile Pic and why we want – or need – to look our best for those ex-boyfriends out there.

Facebook, Twitter and the like have a lot to answer for

There I was, happily trundling along through life, giving barely a passing thought to people that I had not seen or heard of for over twenty years, and then I gave in and joined the Facebook brigade…..
… and it was fun to be on Facebook
It can be enormous fun catching up with those from your past. Iâ??ve attended my 28th year high school reunion, organized entirely through Facebook, spoken to friends that I last saw in their school uniforms, shared photo albums with family overseas and followed their status updates with glee.

I’ve also swopped scandal stories and received sad news, congratulated some and commiserated with others.
And then thereâ??s the ex boyfriend contingent …
Admittedly Iâ??ve been fairly lucky in my romantic life. I can quite honestly say I donâ??t remember a single ex-boyfriend that I wouldnâ??t quite happily chat to today. Relationships break up for a myriad of reasons and mine were pretty mundane, geography, young and restless, just not that into you, the usual suspects. 
But a lot of these guys were ones you knew 20 years ago, and herein lies the problem.
You want them to see you at your best
In fact, if at all possible, you want them to see you looking a million times better than you did twenty years ago. Even if you werenâ??t that into them. 
Itâ??s part shallowness, along the lines of feeling relieved that youâ??ve just had your hair done when bumping into an old boyfriend with his new girlfriend (and if I am considered shallow for feeling like that then almost every girl I know is equally shallow) and then there is the part of you that wants them to, at least briefly, give a moment’s thought as to what they lost, when they lost you. 
And that will not work if every photo thatâ??s ever taken of you is posted on Facebook
Even my happily married sister vets her photos with a magnifying glass before her husband is allowed to post them. He thinks this is hysterically funny, as being male; he is what he is and is quite happy for it to be put out there. 
It took me weeks to forgive him for posting the photo of me with the Koala bear without running it by me first. The Koala bear looks stunning, all cuddly and soft and furry, big limpid eyes gazing sleepily up at me. 
I on the other hand look as if Iâ??d crawled out of bed at four in the morning the night before the morning after. If that koala hadnâ??t been so cute …
Thank heavens for the digital age …
Luckily we live in the age of digital cameras. Every time a photo is taken by my girls, we all crowd round examining it for flaws. If just one of us decides that the angle shows a double chin or a tummy roll … delete … and take the same photo again.
When I think of how we managed before digital cameras Iâ??m surprised that more than two photos out of 24 on a roll of film were ever developed?
Have we become too focused on how we appear to other people as opposed to the people weâ??ve become? 
Should we not be concentrating on our achievements, how happy we are in our lives, and not care if the flaws are out there for the entire world to see?
Does it mean weâ??re shallow to want others to see us looking the best we can?
The Body Shop once famously ran an advertising campaign which said that there were only seven people in the world that actually looked like supermodels. And that the average size for women in the world was a size 14.

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We know this, yet we all strive to look younger and more attractive

The source of these unrealistic feelings is obvious: the TV and the media have for so long bombarded us with images of good looking, perfectly honed, young people, that, now, it is widely believed that we all feel a pressure to fit in to look the same.
But is that strictly speaking true? Because I believe, contrary to the idea that women of a certain age are living their lives longing for the past and full of regret, the majority of us just want to look the best we possibly can, with what we have to work with now.
It doesnâ??t mean weâ??re out there taking illegal diet pills and going on botox rampages at the drop of a hat! We know that exercising and eating better will benefit us in both looks and health, and we do make the effort. 
But we donâ??t all become fanatics, abandoning families to spend long hours at the gym, nibbling away at sliced carrots.
I donâ??t want to turn back time
I am in my mid-40s. I donâ??t expect to, strive to or even remotely want to look like I did when I was 20! 
As it happens, I was a skinny, red-haired, freckle faced kid with snow white eyelashes and no self-confidence back then, so I definitely donâ??t want to turn back time.
But I DO want to look and appear to others as the best I can …

… at the age I am now!  Age appropriate, sexy, well cared for, healthy and happy.
And if I want to choose the best â??profileâ? picture to illustrate the above to past loves, friends old and new, and the odd frenemy? Then good for me! As far as Iâ??m concerned, it indicates that Iâ??m proud of who Iâ??ve become, the odd wrinkle included, and that itâ??s my time to shine!