— Life —

Magnificent Faces

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As far back as I can remember, my mother referred to me as “poor little thing” as though it were my first, middle and last name. “Poor little thing, she has such a long horsey face,” or “poor little thing, her glasses look like Coke bottles.” It’s not surprising I grew up wishing I looked like Sandra Dee, the 60’s, blonde beach babe with the perfect features.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand the truly magnificent faces are often the ones that are imperfect.

My first husband was attracted to women who had unusual features like the late actress, Karen Black, and Barbra Streisand. Both are cross-eyed, and Streisand’s nose is far from angelic and petite. At the time I didn’t get the appeal, but now I know that beauty isn’t always what we’ve been led to believe.

While I wanted to be a cookie cutter blonde, I think it’s interesting that I’m drawn to men who are the opposite of the male versions of Sandra Dee. Instead I like chiseled men like Lyle Lovett.

My first husband, Jon Philip Ray, had a distinctive nose and a gap between his two front teeth. Both were things I found appealing. Actually, he took my breath away.

Then there’s my friend, Mark Grischke. I took this photograph a few years ago in Bedford, Connecticut when we were there doing a photoshoot and an interview. I think he’s striking and handsome. You will never confuse Mark for someone else. 

This was my second husband’s Uncle Gid. He was a Native American. Tell me that isn’t a magnificent face!

Then there was Charlie Watts. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I’m heartbroken. Like the other members of the Rolling Stones, when Charlie and Mick, and Keith and Ronnie got some mileage under their belts, they became far more interesting looking than when they were younger. I love each of the Stones for different reasons, but if I’d been stranded on a desert island, I would’ve wanted to be there with Charlie.

I, too, have irregular features, especially my eyes. One is smaller than the other. It used to bother me until my first husband said it was one of the reasons he found me attractive. If I’d been little Sandra Dee, I would have missed out on that relationship, and it was a pivotal point in my life because it set the tone for who I am now. And then there’s my 10 breast cancer surgeries: My breasts are scarred and mismatched, but I’m still here! Such a small price to pay. 

Do you like the things about you that are different and unique looking? I hope so because we need to be our biggest cheerleader, and the confidence and ability to do that starts with how we feel about ourselves. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves as we age. Getting older is a privilege. We’re the lucky ones.

Love, Brenda


  • Donna Nance September 11, 2021 at 7:01 am

    Preach it, Sistah! We need to love ourselves (the heck with the rest of them) because of who we are and how our Creator made us. The ladies who go under the knife time after time, seeking “perfection”, are not the least bit interesting. It’s kind of like going into a room that is sterile without a pillow out of place. It’s akin to wearing polyester clothes that don’t wrinkle. One side of my face is a tad lower than the other. Makes it a little difficult drawing on eyebrows….ha!

    Enjoy your weekend. Shabbat Shalom! xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      Donna, I love your analogies. A couple of weeks ago I saw a woman on Instagram I know, and I didn’t recognize her. At all. Too much Botox and fillers I suspect, but it made me sad, because I thought she was an attractive woman. Shabbat Shalom to you dear one. xoxox, Brenda

  • Sandra Hart September 11, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Brenda. Well done. I have always encouraged those that I love to embrace their uniqueness. We all are beautiful in our own way. There are no ugly people, just ugly actions. Sandra

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Hello Sweet Lady, I just watched one of your YouTube videos about the mementos you keep in the tote. Our memories are everything. “No ugly people, just ugly actions.” How true. It’s the character and heart of a person that makes them beautiful. xoxox, Brenda

  • Hilda Smith September 11, 2021 at 8:06 am

    That is one of the problems today. Young girls want to look the same. So being unique is unusual. And I agree with both Sandra and Donna.

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 12:53 pm

      Good point, Hilda. When we were girls I’m sure there were clothes and hairstyles we wanted because they were “in,” but we didn’t set out to look like carbon copies of one another. Now when I see a girl or a young woman like that I have a tendency to look at something else, because there’s nothing unique about them. xoxo, Brenda

  • Donna O'Klock September 11, 2021 at 10:11 am

    I wholeheartedly agree, Brenda! People’s uniqueness, their differences, are what have always attracted me to them… that, and I’m a sucker for a very strong nose or a quirky face; Ringo, Barbra, Lyle, Idina Menzel, Bill Nighy, Carly Simon. All fascinating. As the French say, “Vive le différence!”

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      Donna, What a great list of uniques! That’s not to say I don’t stare in wonder and admiration at Grace Kelly’s perfection. I have a framed photograph of my mother and stepfather, talking with her at a la-de-da cocktail part in Dallas. Grace was so exquisite, she was almost ethereal. Very few of us look like that. xoxo, Brenda

  • Colleen September 11, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Brenda, I love these faces! The French would call Barbra Streisand jolie-laide. Perfection often is boring.

    • 1010ParkPace September 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      I love that term, Colleen. Jolie-laide. Thank you! An imperfect face lends character that perfection could never duplicate. xoxo, Brenda

  • Colleen September 11, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Brenda, I love these faces! The French would call Barbra Streisand jolie-laide. Perfection often is boring.

  • Dovanna Pagowski September 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Great story, Brenda = love that you featured Mark & YES! that you are one of the top 10 blogs for women over 50!

    Keep on keeping ON!


    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you, Dovanna! I appreciate that. Mark is the one who introduced me to you. I’ll never forget going to your apartment and thinking what a beautiful, interesting woman you are! I still remember our conversation about growing up “different” and doing the “lady swim.” Be well. xoxox, Brenda

  • Mark September 11, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Agree 100%! Unfortunately, with all the masking, all we get is the eyes. Reading expression thru the eyes has become an enhanced ability.
    Shine On Brenda, you are a magnificent woman!

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      Interesting you mention that, Mark, because I’ve been thinking about this generation of babies and small children. Wondering if they will learn how to read people… their sincerity and their ability to BS. There will be a group of them who will succeed at that and other who, sadly, will not. Thank you, sweet man, for the compliment…. I’m assuming you’re “my Mark.” xoxox, Brenda

  • Barbara September 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

    I wish I’d read this when I was younger. I’vehad problems with the way I look. Especially my weight but years of therapy and a man who loves me I feel better about myself. Thank you for this. Xo

    • 1010ParkPlace September 11, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      Barbara, I might know how you feel. My senior year of high school was very difficult for me because of my relationship with my mother. I gained 20 pounds and the added weight changed how I felt about myself. In our own ways, life and how we feel about ourselves is challenging, but we must never lose sight of the person WE know we are. Keep that image in the forefront of our mind and let it become our north star. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jo Floyd September 11, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Another great thought provoking post,! Thankyou !
    You are a great lady !

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Hello Jo! So great to see you here again! Thank you, sweet lady! Everyone here is a great lady, don’t you think? This is our meeting place. xoxox, Brenda

  • LA CONTESSA September 11, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    I LOVED BARBARA S. growing up and still do!I want that haircut you showed I believe that was from FUNNY GIRL ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES!
    I have NEVER noticed your eyes are different sizes…………….FOOEY!WE DONOT SEE THAT!

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Yes, Elizabeth, my mother was depressed, lacked self-confidence and was jealous of me, I do believe. She was a sad story as was our relationship, but she was also a role model for the woman I didn’t want to be. With that haircut, Barbra Streisand looks like a Grecian Queen. xoxox, Brenda

  • Mark Grischke September 11, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Love the mention, Brenda, thank you! And I’m flattered to be in such illustrious company,

    xo Mark

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      You’re always in illustrious company and at the top of my list of cool and talented men. xoxox, Brenda

  • bonnie September 11, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    ha. i do have a ton of self confidence, but i will never love my nose!!! lol. really, tho. came from that day in maybe 4th grade when someone said it looked like a guinea pig nose. i mean, that was 65 years ago and i will never forget it! loved this blog. always attracted to faces/people with character.

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 2:02 pm

      I know what you mean, Bonne! It’s those cruel comments made by ignorant people that have the power to change our perception of ourselves, especially when we’re young. The 4th grade!! By then I almost thought my name really was Poor Little Thing. Work hard to banish that remark from your mind. xoxox, Brenda

  • Nancy September 12, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Now I have to research guinea pigs. Sounds adorable.
    My mother called me bird brain. Mothers, honestly.
    I know I’m ADHD and I am going to seek treatment as soon I can look up a doctor, make an appointment and keep the appointment….

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      Nancy, Most mothers make these comments out of ignorance, and they’re not based in truth, but if you’ve had ADHD since you were a kid, that must have really made you feel less than. Yes! Find a good doctor. Make an appointment and KEEP it.There may be a treatment that will help you. Then rejoice and break out of those old patterns that haven’t been your friends. xoxox, Brenda

  • Candace Wilson Culp September 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Well said. And so true. I once read that beauty has to do with the millimeters between features. Possibly, if you want cold perfect symmetry like a formal house that doesn’t allow for surprise. Like Stepford wives.
    None of that takes into account the life behind the face.
    I recall wondering how a beauty like Julia Roberts had married Lyle… and the I watched him sing.. wow, sexy as hell. I am obsessed with Bill Nighy, most charming man I’ve ever seen.

    • Brenda Coffee September 12, 2021 at 2:42 pm

      Candace, I totally got why Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett. He’s smart, talented, has a wicked grin, and he’s beautiful. Bill Nighy is another beautiful man with unusual features. Cold perfect symmetry is often not as attractive as the flawed face. There are some apps where you can use a picture of yourself and see how you’d look with two left sides of your face as opposed to two rights side of your face. I found an example where they’d used Johnny Depp. He’s much better looking not being symmetrical. xoxox. Brenda

      • Candace Wilson Culp September 12, 2021 at 3:49 pm

        Hello Brenda….also people are not alive in photos… that’s the best part, their life.
        All best,

        • Brenda Coffee September 13, 2021 at 2:52 pm

          You’re right, Candace! xoxox

  • Cindy Graf September 12, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    You are beautiful as you are Brenda. I so hate your moms need to criticize. I can’t imagine dealing with that as a young girl. Things like that have a deep and profound effect on young women.
    I find I like myself better as I’ve aged, I’m definitely NOT more beautiful on the outside but my mind and heart have learned to appreciate all I have rather than what I don’t have. Fillers and Botox and plastic surgery can change you on the outside but none of those can fix an ugly heart ❤️

    • Brenda Coffee September 13, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      Thank you, Cindy! xoxox I think about Botox, but I haven’t done it yet, and it won’t change who I am, and like you, I’ve come to like this me! Love, Brenda

  • Heidi September 14, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I’m sorry your mom was not nice to you. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons you became the strong woman you are now.
    My mom complimented me but I found it difficult to live up to her ideas of what was beautiful about me. I have friends who complain about their looks and all I see when I look at them is their beauty, their kindness, their wit. It’s always easier to see our own perceived flaws, and to forgive those so-called flaws in others. I’m trying to be gentler on myself as I’m noticing the map of my face changing as I age. Trying to be more loving and accepting and forgiving of myself.
    Xo Heidi

    • 1010ParkPlace September 14, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      Dear Heidi, My mother didn’t know it, but she was a role model for the woman I didn’t want to become, and our difficult relationship was one of the reasons I didn’t have children of my own. In my mind, parent/child relationships are painful, and I didn’t want to go through that again. I now realize lots of joy comes with having children as well. And like you, as I age, I’m trying to be more compassionate and forgiving of myself, because my relationship with myself and God are the most important ones I will have from now until the end. xoxox, Brenda

  • Beckye September 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Brenda, you are so beautiful and I can’t imagine that your mother couldn’t see how lovely you are! I’m so sorry she led you to believe anything less than what a beautiful lady God designed you to be (and that you are!) And my goodness, no one would ever see a difference in the size of your eyes. We all have such quirky individual designs and God loves the way He made us! It makes us unique. And that is beautiful. Love you inside and out, Brenda, and giving thanks today for the beautiful, shining, lovely lady you are. Hugs!

    • 1010ParkPlace September 16, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      You make me smile, Becky! Thank you for the love and sweet words. My mother had an inferiority complex and was jealous of all the advantages I had that she didn’t have growing up. I always thought a mother wanted a better life for their child, but my mother’s wants revolved around her and they pretty much stayed that way until she died. She was difficult, and our relationship was strained. Always. I’m sad for both of us. Thank you again. Love, Brenda

  • Joanne September 20, 2021 at 11:26 am

    She’s back! Really enjoyed it, Brenda. I appreciated all of the magnificent faces too.

    And btw, you are stunning! I was trying to find your venom skin care after you mentioned it on insta…..


  • Lesley September 20, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I couldn’t agree more.
    PS You are a beautiful woman. P.O.P should have stood for Pretty Little Thing!

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