is an adjective describing a person or thing whose age
cannot be defined, is nonexistent or does not change.
It can also describe immortality, most specifically eternal youth.
Agelessness can be attributed to people whose physical characteristics do not match their age.
The Castrati singers of the Renaissance aged differently than other men due to the lack of testosterone and other hormones, which took a toll on their appearance and stature. Specifically, Alessandro Moreschi (1858-1922) was described as having no facial hair and a young voice and appearance.
Agelessness is also something with which many Hollywood
celebrities have been known to strive for, sometimes undergoing cosmetic surgery to attain it. Demi Moore
, Naomi Campbell
, Jamie Lee Curtis
, and Madonna
are particularly known for their efforts to appear 'forever young'. Television host Dick Clark
has been described as "America's Oldest Teenager." Many viewers have hardly perceived his having aged since the 1960s, despite being born in 1929. The appearance of Andy Milonakis
is also ambiguous since he suffers from a hormone disorder, allowing him to perform the role of a young teenager in his shows.
Actor Suzanne Somers attributes her youthful appearance to the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Her 2006 book Ageless continues the theme of her 2004 book The Sexy Years that restoring hormones (especially sex hormones) to youthful levels is the key to agelessness.
Methods to achieve agelessness
exist largely to aid in attempts to diminish the effects of age. This use sometimes creates conflicting age indicators (for example, red hair belonging to a wrinkled face), making age determination difficult.
Botox, silicone implants, tummy tucks, facelifts, and nosejobs are examples of surgeries that attempt to remove the signs of age. Sooner or later, however, the effects of the passing years do start to show on the body as it endures wear and tear. Scientists across the world are also working on finding the reason of aging and have come out with various theories, but still have a long way to go before this phenomenon is fully understood and controlled.
Gods and goddesses were considered eternal in most ancient mythologies, and were endowed with eternal youth
. In Greek mythology
, this was achieved by the gods' eating ambrosia
Media and fiction
Comics and cartoons
Agelessness is prominent in cartoons
, comic books
, comic strips
, and other illustrated media. Characters and situations are staged in an eternal present
where change and causality are considered arbitrary and disposable. Ageless characters in comic books often appear as superheroes
, deriving immortal or timeless properties from accelerated or supernatural healing
, time travel
origin, and other fictional devices. In cartoons and comic strips, agelessness is used to preserve continuity in an episodic format
Long-running series of pulp novels
can develop ageless characters. The main characters in The Hardy Boys
have remained 17 and 18, and have been located approximately in the "present day" since 1926. The same can be said for The Nancy Drew series
. Nancy has remained 18 years old for many decades (although she started out at the age of 16).
James Bond is a realistic ageless character. Some of his ally characters, including M, Q, Miss Moneypenny, Bill Tanner and Felix Leiter also do not age throughout both the novel and film series, which began in 1953 and 1962 respectively. Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond, tinkered with details of Bond's early life and changed dates to ensure Bond was always the appropriate age for his stories, a practice called retconning.
are an iconic example of creatures who are ageless. They are not subject to entropy
and decay, unlike Men
and the rest of the Middle-earth
. Tolkien described his elves as young, yet with some 'wisdom' and experience in their eyes and behaviour; he also stated that Elves do change and age—not by growing old, but by changing other features in their appearance. The combination of youth and overwhelming maturity makes the age of an Elf undefinable and alien by mortal standards.
The Aes Sedai of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series are described as ageless. A feature of their magical abilities extends life and makes their age difficult to place despite their white hair and physical frailty.
Television soap operas
On television, the process of a character (usually a child) aging unusually fast has been a common feature in soap operas
and is known as Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
or "SORAS". The reverse effect, where characters fail to age at the rate they should be or in fact even get younger, is known by a the newer, opposite term known as de-SORAS