Not a good week for Mr. Mission Impossible: Katie Holmes has filed for divorce; his ties to Scientology are all over the headlines again; and, oh yeah, he turns 50 today. But we’ll give Tom Cruise this: He looks as good now as he did on his first wedding day (to Mimi Rogers, in 1987). Like George Clooney and Keanu Reeves, the Rock of Ages star seems frozen in time. Those abs are 50, that smirk is 50—and he looks great!
What gives? It’s a common notion that men age into distinguished silver foxes while we women grow wiry grays and skin the texture of luggage. But is that the real deal or another misogynist fable? Do men really age better than women?
Here’s the science. Testosterone makes men’s skin thicker, and their skin is also typically oilier than women’s—both of which make men less prone to wrinkles. Add to that the fact that it’s never been considered as big a deal for a man to start sprouting gray hair (even if we suspect Cruise gets help in this department), and that’s two points in favor of the fellas.
But here’s where women catch up—and why we live longer. We tend to have healthier habits in life. We are less likely to smoke and, on average, drink less alcohol, and we’ve already told you what a disaster excessive drinking can be for your looks. Plus, we eat better foods. All three of those things tend to age men at a faster pace, both internally and externally. So you win some, you lose some.
Do you take solace that your wrinkly face will be around a few more years than your male peers’? In what ways do you think men and women age differently?