Follow TV Tropes

Following

I Was Quite a Looker
aka: I Was Quite The Looker

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/i_was_quite_a_looker.jpg
"Can't you tell? It's Li/Lo and me!"

"People show me pictures of me when I was nineteen, and I go "Oh no", and they think that I'm embarrassed by the way I used to look; no no, I'm embarrassed by how I look now. I'm jealous of how I used to look, and it depresses me."
Advertisement:

You all know them. That kindly old lady who lives down the street. The tiny, wrinkly, owner of the local dojo. The aged, fading seductress. The crotchety old guy who hardly ever leaves his house. Wrinkled, aged, musty... but they weren't always that way.

Once upon a time they were attractive, very attractive. This will be revealed to the rest of the cast if they ever run into a Fountain of Youth, or via old photographs or perhaps just to us the viewers in a Flashback. Bonus points if this is true for the actor as well, such as Diana Rigg, who played Cool Old Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones but was also a sex symbol in the '60s due to her Femme Fatale roles.

Compare Glory Days, The Chains of Commanding (for those who lose their looks due to stressful jobs), and White-Dwarf Starlet (for old ladies who were performers in their youth). Contrast She Is All Grown Up; Silver Fox; Really 700 Years Old; and I Was Quite a Fashion Victim.

Advertisement:

Related to I Just Want to Be Beautiful for when the character misses their old beauty, and Old People Are Nonsexual when it's implied that they stopped getting around when they got older and less hot.

Not to be confused with the Pokémon Platinum character.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Mika from Akkan Baby downplays this as she's not bad looking, nor is she old, but, instead, is a Formerly Fit version of this trope, as she became fat due the eating to cope with the stress of not being able to confess her pregnancy to Shigeo, Puni's father.
  • Yolanda from the Church of Violence in Black Lagoon. The same omake also reveals that Balalaika was an adorable (and very shy) nine-year-old, and Boris was a Bishōnen before he joined the military. Dutch, meanwhile, takes off running before the omake even starts.
  • Bleach: Flashbacks show that Yamamoto's lieutenant Choujirou Sasakibe, while not exactly ugly as an older man, was a completely gorgeous white-haired pretty boy in his youth.
  • In Campione!, the ageless witch Lucretia Zola used to date Godou Kusanagi's grandfather. She tells Godou that his grandfather looked like him back when he was young.
  • Castle in the Sky's Sky Pirate Dola is old, fat, and wrinkled, but she claims that she looked just like the young female protagonist Sheeta when she was young. In fact, there's a painting of her in her cabin that shows her younger self essentially looking like Miyazaki's beautiful earlier protagonist, Nausicaä.
  • The epilogue of the manga version of Chrono Crusade shows us Azmaria Hendrich as a 90-year-old woman. She doesn't exactly look bad, but the mangaka opted to draw her rather realistically, making the contrast rather...striking.
  • Emperor Charles di Britannia from Code Geass isn't exactly super ugly at age 62, but he certainly cut an impressive figure when he was younger.
  • Madoka Mano, Yohko's grandmother and mentor in Devil Hunter Yohko, when she's de-aged at one point. She also has a habit of not wearing a top to (Yohko's dismay), which is a bit par for the course for that show...
  • Digimon
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Bulma, who normally can't stand the Muten Roshi when he's being pervy towards her, got excited when she saw a picture of him as a young man and found it hard to believe it was him. Goku later met the young Roshi through time travel in filler.
    • Speaking of Bulma, her and Chi-Chi get hit by this as well. Their looks, admittedly, haven't faded too much. But in comparison to their husbands, who age a lot slower due to being Saiyans, they're definitely beginning to show their age. It's particularly after the time-skips at the beginning and end of the Majin Buu Saga that the aging starts to show. However, this more due to her hairstyle. In Super, where she's even younger, she looks much cuter and younger when her hair is down.
    • This is also the case for the Ancestral Kaioshin in the Majin Buu Arc. In his case however, its not a result of natural aging, as he's actually young-to-middle aged by Kaioshin standards, but due to him fusing with an elderly witch using the Potara Earrings, causing him to lose his youthful looks, but gain her magical powers in return.
    • Also the case for Great Demon King Piccolo. He looks like this when he's freed from his confinement and this with his youth restored.
    • Also, Pan in the Spin-Off series. Though not painful on the eyes in her later age, we know how attractive her younger self looks.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The saddest example is the Master of Blue Pegasus Bob, who went from this, to... this. The worst part was, he was a Bishōnen. Curse, cruel fate.
    • Makarov's a short balding wrinkled man in his 80s, but flashbacks to his youth show he was basically a shorter version of his grandson Laxus.
  • Food Wars!: Fumio Daimido, the warden of the Polar Star Dorm in Tootsuki. Compare her now, to what she looked like in her flashback/foodgasm.
  • Younger Pinako, Winry's grandmother, from Fullmetal Alchemist. We also have young Fuhrer Bradley. Though he's not at all bad-looking as an older man either.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Tokaki and Subaru are an elderly couple that the heroes meet late in the story. They're actually two warriors of Byakko who fought several decades before; when Subaru uses her power to manipulate time, they can revert to their younger forms.
    Tokaki: Honey! You're so sexy!
  • Chairwoman Morinomiya from Gakuen Babysitters is depicted as an exaggerated caricature of a strict, old woman. Compare her in the present to how she was when she was a little girl.
  • Gate: Mimoza was once a student and traveling companion to the immortal Rory Mercury about 50 years ago. When the two meet again in the present, Rory doesn't recognize her, and when she figures it out, the two share a laugh about how old Mimoza had gotten while Rory stayed young. Mimoza's younger self is shown in a few flashbacks in the manga.
  • Otose, the landlady from Gintama, is a perfect example.
    • Another perfect example is Umibozu, Kagura's father. Back in his young days, he was really attractive compared to now.
    • And there is Jirocho. Despite not being a straight example since he is still attractive, he was even more in the past.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler the elderly Klaus was apparently a Bishōnen when he was younger, as shown in a photo in chapter 270. Hayate is so stunned that he first attributes it to extreme Art Evolution.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Kaoruko, as shown via flashbacks in episode 27 and her becoming Cure Flower once again in episode 44.
  • Hellsing: Walter C Dornez, Sir Integra Hellsing's butler, as revealed in The Dawn, was quite the bishie badboy back during the Second World War. He gets his looks and youth back after he joins Millennium and becomes a vampire. Though, this example, In-Universe at least, could be considered an inversion because the only person who ever comments on his looks is Alucard, who claims that he was much more beautiful as an aged man.note 
  • In Inuyasha, Jinenji's old yet still badass mother was shown in flashbacks to have been quite a cutie by the time she met Jinenji's dad.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Shirogane's father like a taller version of his son in the past; either the years caught up to him or losing his job and his wife running away took its toll on the man, maybe a combination of the two.
  • The third manga special in Karin shows the titular vampire's parents when they first met. Carrera was damn cute, and Henry was much better-looking, also—but perhaps even more so than Henry was his father, James, who was very handsome. (Although as of that point, James's only appearance had him dried up and dead, so anything would've been better than that.)
  • Kensei Ma of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a good case. Kenichi's reaction to seeing a picture of a 17-year old Kensei says more than enough.
  • To Love Ru
  • So is Michiko Menezes from Michiko & Hatchin. Unfortunately, not only her looks changed for the worse.
  • In Nobunagun, the elderly Commander of Dogoo used to be a very cute girl. In a heartwarming moment, the immortal and ageless St. Germain, who constantly hit on her when she was young, says he still sees her as that cute girl when he ran into her again after she had become old.
  • Naruto:
    • Koharu Utatane is one of the elders of Konoha. Here's a pic of her in her youth.
    • The same can be said about Danzo.
    • The Third Hokage himself was nothing to be ashamed of.
    • Nagato was a bit of a Bishōnen before he overused his powers and rapidly aged himself.
    • Mito, wife of Hashirama Senju (Shodai Hokage), was an incredible beauty who clearly passed on her good looks to her granddaughter, Tsunade. Not that she aged all that poorly, but still.
    • Tsunade herself would count were it not for the transformation technique that keeps her looking like she's in her late twenties/early thirties at all times. Without it, she apparently looks even older than she really is (we only ever see a badly wrinkled arm) thanks to her Creation Rebirth technique. For the record, her actual age is early-mid 50s.
    • Orichimaru also counts as he was quite the bishonen when he was younger.
  • Nurarihyon from Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan went from this to that
  • One Piece:
  • Miss Maria Graceburt from My-Otome. And she reverts to that youthful look of hers whenever she activates her Otome powers, much to everyone's shock and Maria's annoyance.
    "How pitiful. I put great effort into aging gracefully only to have to appear in this form again?"
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, the old woman who Panty Anarchy stays with during her time as a mortal shows a picture of herself as a young woman, and she looks rather similar to Panty. Given that she turns out to be an actor hired by Garterbelt, the picture may be fake.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • The end of the Gold/Silver/Crystal arc shows us a younger Professor Oak. He was really buff!
    • Yellow's uncle's brain breaks when he sees how attractive the old Day Care Lady used to be.
  • Sumire Ryuzaki from The Prince of Tennis was quite the bombshell 25 years ago.
  • Harundo from RaButa used to be a Bishōnen, but he suffered a head injury in middle school and it made him lose his hair and caused his eyesight to deteriorate. Kurume says she prefers his current look.
  • In Ramen Fighter Miki, Makiko Onimaru was a charming woman in her younger days. Everyone agrees she becomes she is now thanks to stress from raising her so wayward daughter, Miki.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Cologne, in her youth, essentially looked like a lot like her hot Chinese Amazon great-granddaughter, as was confirmed in an anime filler episode. (pictured This is how she looked at age 18, whereas this is how she looks at the age of 300+).
    • Invoked but subverted with Happosai. Despite claiming that he was a hot blonde Bishōnen warrior in his youth, Cologne (who knew him then) reveals that the only difference between then and now is that he had fewer wrinkles and more hair.
    • Word of God is that Genma was handsome once too, explaining how he married someone as attractive as Nodoka.
    • The old and wrinkly Harumaki and the equally old and wrinkly Gyouko insist that female Ranma looks just like the young Gyouko. Ranma does not take the news well.
    • Dr. Tofu's mother as well. In the flashback, she was as cute as the series' other young girls, and perhaps somewhat taller than she is in her old age.
  • Touhou Fuhai of Rosario + Vampire. Or so he says. The end of Season 2, Chapter 36 proves it.
  • Saint Seiya:
  • Soul Eater:
    • Mosquito from around 400 years ago, was actually quite handsome. And taller. And much more sociopathic.
    • Sid tells Liz at one point that he used to be quite handsome (not when he was younger so much as when he was alive - he is/was likely in his 30s or so). She is unconvinced. Soul Eater Not! shows that he wasn't exaggerating.
  • In Summer Wars, Sakae Jinnouchi is eighty-nine years old with gray hair, wrinkles, and missing a few teeth. During a montage of her rallying people over the phone to combat Love Machine's online rampage, the camera lingers on a black-and-white photo of Sakae in her youth, showing her to be a truly beautiful woman with the same fire in her eyes she still has now.
  • Tenchi Muyo!:
    • Tenchi's father Noboyuki in Tenchi Universe is shown to be so attractive in his youth that Ryoko is even smitten with him when the cast goes back in time for the movie Tenchi In Love.
    • Katsuhito, Tenchi's grandfather in several incarnations of the meta-series, was handsome when young. In Universe and the original OVA series, he is actually Ayeka's brother Yosho, a handsome Jurai nobleman who got stranded on Earth. He's been on earth long enough to age rather dramatically. Though this is a ruse in the OVA series and he is actually still just as youthful as ever.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lord Genome back when he was young. He looks identical to his daughter Nia - a far cry from what he looks like when he's older.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! original series, some flashbacks to Solomon/Sugurokou Mutou's past show that he was quite the fox when younger.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Kagemaru is an extremely elderly Dark Lord on Life Support. When he uses a ritual to restore his youth, he becomes a handsome, long-haired, and incredibly buff man.
  • Genkai from YuYu Hakusho. Conclusively proven due to her ultimate technique having the side effect of temporarily shifting her back to her younger state.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, it's a recurring piece of lore that Big M. was quite the dashing fellow in the past, but that changed when Doctor H. hit him with elevator doors... repeatedly... turning him into a gonk whose face makes anybody vomit on the spot when they see it. Big M.'s assistant Little M. didn't turn out too badly in a similar incident, but still looked far handsomer before Doctor H. ruined it for him too.
Advertisement:

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Selina Kyle is one of these — unusual in that we normally see her in her younger incarnation.
  • In Grant Morrison's Batman, the Italian hero Legionary was a dashing man with the build of a Greek god in his prime, capable of pole-vaulting into battle on a pike and considered quite a sex symbol in his homeland. However, the years were not kind to him: after he lost control of his city to one of his villains, he took to comfort food and let himself go. By the present day, he's fat, ill-groomed, and wearing his old cape and helmet over jeans and a slogan T-shirt, trying to project an image of a party animal that nobody really believes. That said, he does ultimately manage to die a hero, withstanding multiple stab wounds to the back and delivering a haymaker to his killer before leaving behind a Dying Clue.
  • As revealed in the flashback sequences, Gran'ma Ben of Bone was definitely quite the looker. Also a gender-flipped version if you compare Lucius Down's one appearance in the flashbacks to his present appearance. Briar, Gran'ma Ben's undead sister, is a particularly extreme example.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics reveal that Dracula was actually an elderly man when he became a vampire but uses a magical illusion to make everyone perceive him as his attractive younger self.
  • After three volumes, readers of Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things were well used to Great-Uncle Aloysius looking like this. Then came the short story "Portrait of the Warlock as A Young Man", from Aloysius' days during either the twenties or the forties. Hot damn.
  • Emperor Palpatine when he becomes reborn in a younger, fitter clone body in Star Wars: Dark Empire.
  • Frau Totenkinder from Fables used to look like this. She is also one of the few people who willingly gave up being quite the looker because she eventually got fed up with the physical urges that came with being young.
  • H'el from H'el on Earth wasn't always a scarred, grey-skinned, black-eyed man. Flashbacks and a hologram show how he used to look like back on Krypton when he was quite handsome.
  • Granny Goodness of the New Gods then and now...
  • Reborn: Bonnie Black is a very aged old woman who is nearly 80 at the start of the series. After dying and reincarnating in a fantasy realm in the afterlife, she rejuvenates to her 25-year-old self which is a tall, curvaceous blonde woman in a white catsuit.
  • Spider-Man - Aunt May Parker was cute at sixteen. Judging what Uncle Ben looks like in the same pic, he was quite the tall glass of sexy, something that May herself pointed out when she first saw him.
  • The Ultimates: The resurrection of Captain America was a big hit on Gail's pride, who asked him not to see her. He knew her back when she was young and beautiful, and now she's old and ugly. She dropped it in time, and eventually the three of them hung out as friends.
  • Wonder Woman (2011): Derinoe used to be young and beautiful just like the other Amazons, but had her youth taken from her by one of Hecate's assassins.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin's mom from Calvin and Hobbes. In this strip, Calvin finds an old prom picture and asks his dad that who's that "bimbo" next to him. She turns out to be his mother. Given that Calvin then comments on the "funky hairdo", this could also overlap with I Was Quite a Fashion Victim.
    • Then again, although she's a plain, conservatively-dressed homemaker, she's still not a bad-looking woman (well, as far as cartoon women drawn by Bill Watterson are concerned), is still slim with brown hair. She's may have lost the "glam" but she's still a cute young-ish woman.
  • 9 Chickweed Lane: Edna O'Malley, now usually known as "Gran," relays to Juliette the story of how she and Juliette's father met during World War II. A young Edie Ernst was a USO performer, later OSS agent, and genuine bundle of hotness. She once reminisced about "that thing I had going with General Patton," causing her daughter to comment, "There's so much about the North Africa campaign I just don't want to know."
  • In Dennis the Menace (US), Mr. Wilson is showing Dennis an old photo of himself, and Dennis can't believe that it's him because he's skinny and has hair.
  • Li'l Abner: One storyline revolved around Abner falling in love with a woman solely based on a photo of her knees from an old soap ad, and spent weeks trying to track her down. He eventually discovers both a full version of the original ad, showing her to be gorgeous, as well as her present-day self, which is a homely, middle-aged cleaning lady. Abner was still hoping to marry her... until he found out she had ruined her knees after a lifetime of scrubbing floors.

    Fan Works 
  • Implied in Final Fantasy VII fanfic The Fifth Act, when an adult Cloud is mistaken by his mother to be a relative of his father's due to his strong resemblance to his biological father, President Shinra.
  • In Field of Innocence, Iroh claims that this is the reason his late wife agreed to let him court her, naming the trope word for word. It makes Zuko and Azula laugh, but it's just Squick to Lu Ten thanks to Parental Sexuality Squick.
  • After being tricked into wearing a pranked outfit in Itachi, Is That A Baby?, Professor McGonagall is reverted back to her early twenties and was apparently a drop dead knockout back then. To her ire, the change is permanent because Harry thought the method to remove the outfit was a flaw and "fixed" it, therefore she's permanently in her twenties and if she doesn't want to go around in lingerie, she has to wear something "slatternly" (in her words).
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, this cover art shows that Elite Four Agatha was quite cute as a young trainer.
  • Ryuuko in Secret Sunshine downplays and invokes this. She's not old and she didn't lose her looks, except that, due to her situation, she gained weight, which makes her self-conscious. In chapter 16, she bitterly remarks to Satsuki, "I was pretty once." and tells her that she hates looking in a mirror.
  • Recovery Girl in Alliance of Amazons and Izuku is de-aged back to her twenties, revealing she used to be a seven-foot-tall blonde bombshell.
  • SmallvilleX: Evolution: Professor Xavier shows the X-Men a photo from his younger years, back when he could walk and had a full head of hair. They are very surprised and Xavier jokes that the years have not been kind. However, Domino points out he's still very attractive for a man of his age.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 1BR: Edith Stanhope shows Sarah a poster on her apartment from an old movie she was in. She did indeed look quite pretty back in the day.
  • In Annie Hall, Alvy Singer's old aunt is noted to have been quite a looker once.
  • Back to the Future
    • Lorraine in the first film, as Marty discovers when he goes back in time. Once the movie is over, her ageing is softened by the effects of Marty's time-machinations.
    • Jennifer in Back to the Future Part II, as Jennifer and her older self run into each other in 2015.
    • Depending on how you see it, Biff was also quite the Mr. Fanservice in his youth.
  • In Beerfest, we discover that Grandma was actually quite attractive when she came over from Germany. A very attractive whore. Erk.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Yiayia shows Toula a picture of herself as a beautiful young girl.
  • In the film version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, the title villain is meant to be portrayed as such, albeit with a twist since we first see him as elderly and he becomes younger as the story progresses.
  • In The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case, the rather plain housekeeper Miss Patricia reveals that she used to be a lead dancer at Walter Burns' nightclub, and is shown in flashback to have been very attractive.
  • Carlotta Vance in Dinner at Eight is now an old fat lady but she was once a gorgeous actress who had men on the string. This is why she explicitly rejects Oliver's suggestion to go back to the stage. She wants people to remember her as beautiful, instead of old and fat.
    "I was rather gorgeous, wasn't I?"
  • Father Figures: When Pete and Kyle go Gene Hunting to find their real father, a Running Gag involves them being disturbed that all of the father candidates say their mother Helen used to be a Head-Turning Beauty and a Sex Goddess.
  • Implied, but never explicitly stated, by Anna von Hagen in Fatherland.
  • Edna Turnblad, in the 2007 film version of Hairspray. On the Making of DVD extra, the wardrobe designer says that John Travolta wanted to play Edna as someone who was a real "buxom babe" in her day (hence the cinched waists, pencil skirts, and other outfits reminiscent of Sophia Loren and other voluptuous actresses of the period). After she kicks Wilbur out, Edna cries over her wedding picture, which depicts a much younger, thinner Edna.
  • In Hannah and Her Sisters Hannah's mother Norma was very beautiful as a young actress. Since Norma is played by Maureen O'Sullivan, it is pretty well justified.
  • In Kontroll, Bela (a fat greying train driver) and Szofi are father and daughter. They have a scene together in which she tells him "You remind me of an angel," and he replies "You should have seen me in my prime!" They laugh.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful:
    • The wizened old man is shown to be quite The Charmer in his youth.
    • The prequel shows that the Wicked Witch of the West was once a beautiful young woman called Theodora. She lost her beauty as a result of Evil Makes You Ugly.
  • In Somewhere in Time the protagonist meets a very old woman who begs him "Come back to me." She gives him a lovely watch but dies that night. Later, when he sees a picture of a stunning young woman, he finds it is the old woman. So he decides to try to go back in time to meet her.
  • In the film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, we see the character of Miss Foley: an elderly spinster schoolmarm who longs to be her young, beautiful self again. Thanks to Mr. Dark, she gets her wish and turns into the beautiful blonde that she used to be... with the added side-effect of blindness so that she can never appreciate her own beauty. Ahhhh, damn it all! The book takes a more nuanced approach to Be Careful What You Wish For: her youth is restored and her eyesight left alone — but she's not a beautiful young woman, she's an adorable eight-year-old girl... terrified, helpless, and alone having no way to convince anyone who she really is.
  • The witches in Stardust look like old crones, but they all used to be Hot Witches in their youth. When one of them uses the power of a star to regain her youth, she returns to her old beautiful self. The very first thing she does is take off her dress and stand naked (with Shoulders-Up Nudity) in front of a mirror so she can admire her newly rejuvenated body, even winking flirtatiously at herself. Her sisters, still old, look on in envious awe.
  • Star Wars
    • Darth Vader (as Anakin Skywalker), Obi-Wan Kenobi, Uncle Owen, and Aunt Beru are all shown to be this in the prequels; the latter three just had their age catch up to them, while the former-most obviously doesn't look so good after being maimed and burned alive on Mustafar.
  • Rose DeWitt Bukater/Dawson in James Cameron's Titanic. When her granddaughter asks if a drawing is really of her, Rose responds with "Wasn't I a dish?". The line was originally "Wasn't I a hot number?" but Gloria Stuart changed it because she thought it implied promiscuity.
  • Jane Hudson from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? whose angelic good looks were whittled away over the years by a combination of alcohol and depression. Her sister Blanche has also aged but looks relatively healthy.
  • In the fantasy movie Willow, the sorceress Fin Raziel claimed that she was a young and attractive woman before she was turned into a ferret by the Witch Bavmorda. The roguish hero Madmartigan therefore really wants to see her true form. Sadly, she had spent a long, long time in animal form, and when changed back to human, she found herself to now be a hag.
  • The Protagonist's reaction in The World's End upon seeing his younger self: "Oh my God! I'm so cute!"
  • X-Men Film Series:

    Literature 
  • In Agatha Christie's novel, The ABC Murders, when Poirot and Hastings see the dead body of the first victim, Alice Ascher an elderly storekeeper, Poirot notes that she must have been beautiful when she was young. Hastings doubts it, but later, when they find her wedding photo, he sees that Poirot was right.
  • In Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik books, the young-teenage heroine swoons over Gregory Peck, only to discover that the movies she's been watching are decades old.
  • In Ballet Shoes Theo Dane acts as if she's an Old Maid and goes on about how beautiful she used to look - when she's only in her thirties and looks very good.
  • In The Bridge Kingdom Archives Nana, king Aren's grandmother once tells Lara that as a young woman she was a spy and was taken into Lara's grandfather's harem. Lara is astonished since only the most beautiful women make it into the harem, to which Nana answers that she didn't always look like "the last prune left in a bowl".
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin is told that he's quite a looker. (Which surprises him, as he doesn't often talk to women who aren't family). Later, the reader learns that Jerin looks very much like his grandfather. He remembers the kindly old man fondly, and sometimes wonders how his grandfather managed to wrap the grandmothers around his little fingers, being such a soft-spoken, gentleman. He finds out.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Citizen of the Galaxy Grandmother, the wizened matriarch of the Free Trader Sisu's family-clan crew, describes herself this way when talking about the upcoming Great Gathering.
    I was a pert young thing, with a tiny foot and a saucy nose, and my Grandmother got offers for me from throughout the People.
  • The Cold Moons: Buckwheat used to be deemed quite a handsome badger by several sows. While his wife still admires him, he's starting to show his age.
  • As stated above, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, in Neil Gaiman's book Coraline, former music-hall artists, now elderly and swathed in cardigans.
  • One chapter of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine had a man fall in love with a beautiful girl by her photo alone, only to find out that the photo was taken a long time ago and that the girl is now an old woman. When the old woman learns of this after the two of them strike up quite a rapport, she tells him that they could probably have started a romantic relationship if not for their vastly disparate ages.
  • In John Dickson Carr's mystery The Demoniacs, the hero's girlfriend discovers that a certain very decrepit old-looking woman is younger than she looks — and might be her long-lost mother. The girl is quite upset by the possibility that she might come to resemble this hag.
  • The ancient Starwife in Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice trilogy recalls the time when she first ascended to the throne as a young black squirrel maiden.
    Memories of the past came unbidden to her and she remembered a certain night when the stars were like beautiful fiery flowers and their light fell brightly onto her lovely, young face.
  • Discworld
    • Vena the Raven-Haired.
    • Gytha Ogg (before she was simply "Nanny") as well. She certainly had an active love life...
      • Granny Weatherwax also, although she was "handsome" or "striking" rather than "beautiful". Even in the current stories' time she's not the stereotypical ugly old witch, having good teeth, good posture, and an average-size nose (much to her annoyance).
    • And Topsy Lavish (nee Turvy) from Making Money.
    • Mrs. Whitlow, who thanks to a bit of a time blip in The Last Continent was revealed to have once been a complete knockout.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the count invokes this trope to an extent. He at first appears decrepit and elderly, but he soon gorges himself on blood and appears youthful and perhaps even handsome, though since most of the novel is written from the protagonist's perspective, he is described with less loving terms at times.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Big Bad Voldemort, whose use of Horcruxes turned him into an ugly, noseless albino. In his younger days he was Tall, Dark, and Handsome, features he inherited from his highborn Muggle father.
    • Grindelwald was shown to be a very handsome blond when he was younger, yet by the time of the present he has become a gaunt toothless old man.
    • Anyone who's been to Azkaban, like Sirius Black or Bellatrix Lestrange, will presumably suffer from this as their health and appearance deteriorate. In the movies, though, these characters suffer from Adaptational Attractiveness even after their stints in Azkaban.
  • Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle suddenly experiences the transition from beautiful youth to leathery age when she is put under a spell.note 
  • The Hunger Games: When watching the video of his Game, Katniss is surprised at how handsome Haymitch used to be. And while her mother is implied to still be quite attractive, Katniss is also surprised by how beautiful she was as a teenager. Also implied a bit when Katniss' prep team sees her for the first time after her burn injury.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, Niobe Kaftan was considered the most beautiful woman of her generation. In her middle age, she let herself go because she lost her second husband and no longer cared about her looks. When she becomes an Incarnation of Fate, she chooses not to regain her old looks even though she can at any time. One of the only times she regains her old looks is when she gets seduced by Nicolai. The elderly Nicolai says that when he was young, he could very easily imitate a woman and seduce all the men around him.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien uses this in regards to his main villains:
    • Melkor, greatest of the Ainur in The Silmarillion, is at first capable of assuming any physical form he likes and often appears beautiful, especially when he wants to deceive people. He gradually exhausts his spiritual power and is left stuck in his "terrible" dark lord form.
    • Sauron, Big Bad of The Lord of the Rings, is a lesser Ainu who had the same abilities until he poured most of his power into the One Ring and then lost his body in the downfall of Númenor. His next body was "black and hideous, and his power thereafter was through terror alone."
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, The Mentor Taeris bears many horrible scars on his face but is often described as being quite handsome before receiving them.
  • In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, the narrator admits her beauty has faded.
    Tho' my Charms are now considerably softened and somewhat impaired by the Misfortunes I have undergone, I was once beautiful.
  • In Gabriel García Márquez's Of love and other demons, Sierva Maria's neglectful mother Bernarda used to be a might beauty. But after giving birth and becoming a slave trader, she became a Fat Bitch.
  • In Stephen King's Misery, Paul is looking through Annie's scrapbook and comes across a picture of her when she was young, and notes that she was startlingly pretty.
  • In Murder At Drumshee we hear about Gabor's previous marriage to Eithne and Mahon is shocked when he finally meets her. She is described as squat, sharp-featured, and slightly overweight with dull mousy hair - he wonders how any man could have been attracted to her. Then at one point during the trial, her expression changes and the narration says "and he could suddenly see remnants of beauty in this drab, middle-aged woman".
  • John Ringo invokes this with Mother Lenka in Paladin of Shadows. She is an ancient withered crone now, but with a very sharp tongue, and lots of hints of her earlier days. Great beauty is only part of it: there are clear references to her being in Stalingrad during WWII.
  • Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice was apparently a beauty in her youth. Unfortunately for Mr. Bennet, he married her for shallow reasons as such.
  • Joe Keenan's farcical novel Putting On The Ritz includes a scene in an elevator where a gossipy society dowager—in the midst of whispering very loudly to her young friends, the protagonists, about the doyenne they're about the meet—rhapsodizes about the good old days and invokes this trope almost word for word. One of the passengers in the back drolly fluffs some imaginary curls as she goes on, almost setting the protagonists giggling, but the dowager remains serenely and volubly oblivious.
  • Ruslan and Ludmila: Naina, an ugly old woman, used to be famous for her beauty. However, she doesn't seem to regret its loss too much, as she now has her magic powers instead.
  • Inverted in The Saga of Darren Shan. Lady Evanna was born looking like a wolf-human hybrid but can sometimes change her appearance to look like a beautiful woman. She notes that she chooses the uglier form as her default look because it was how she was born.
  • In one of the Sammy Keyes books, Sammy finds an old picture of her cranky neighbor Mrs. Graybill, who was apparently quite pretty fifty years ago.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel:
    • Many Elders were beautiful before they underwent the change and became human-monster hybrids. Someone says of Areop-Enap "the change was particularly cruel to her" and she's now a Giant Spider.
    • Coatlicue the Archon was once agelessly beautiful, but performed numerous experiments on herself and transformed into a monster. Josh is lucky that when Dee summons her, he hypnotizes him so that he only sees her beautiful form.
    • Tsagaglalal and the Witch of Endor appear as elderly women but can take on a younger form if they wish.
  • In the Star Wars: Servants of the Empire books, there's an elderly poet named Holshef who, when he was sixteen, was tall and strong, with a rakish black mustache.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The morbidly obese merchant prince Illyrio Mopatis reveals that the sculpture of the beautiful young bravo in his courtyard was him at the age of 16.
    • King Robert Baratheon was renowned as a tall, muscular, broad-shouldered, bearded, long-haired, handsome heroic figure who captured the hearts of many young women. However by the time we meet him in the present he has few of these traits left, his ennui and depression being such that drinking, feasting, and wenching is pretty much all he does in lieu of taking care of himself, resulting in his descent into a fat old drunk. His bastard son Gendry resembles Robert as a youth, which causes many of Robert's old acquaintances to double-take when they meet him.
    • Seeing as the Great Houses of Westeros all seem to have really good genes, several nobles that aren't described as attractive are this. Catelyn remembers her sister Lysa as a pretty girl before she let herself go.
    • House Lannister has a precedent of this if Cersei has bothered to pay attention. Her Cool Aunt, Genna thank-the-gods-I'm-not-a-natural-Frey, was renowned as being the gracefully Hot Wife in her badly lopsided arranged marriage before she "mellowed" into her Iron Lady, Large and in Charge, Big Beautiful Woman self today. Although still not exactly painful on the eyes, she's not a relatively willowy sixteen anymore — and, proud of it!
  • Dappletail from Warrior Cats is listed in the character sheets as a "once-pretty tortoiseshell she-cat with a lovely dappled coat".
  • In Angela Carter's Wise Children, the protagonist and her sister are former dancers who used to have a lot of lovers, now aged; they're determined to defy this trope. When invited to a family reunion, they're nervous about going, fearing that people will pity the decay of their looks; but they dress up showily in a manner that emphasizes their best points (legs last well) and walk in boldly, not sure if the effect is ridiculous or fabulous; some reactions, at least, prove that the latter is the case.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Angela's Wedding", Mrs. Davis' sister Angela claims to be a bathing beauty and provides her future husband, Gregory Farnsworth, with a photo of her from over thirty-years-before. Miss Brooks is asked to break the news that Angela is now a plump, middle-aged woman. Miss Brooks brings along smelling-salts to help break the news. Fortunately, Angela's fiance finds her to be still very attractive.
    Gregory Farnsworth: Oh, what a doll baby!
    Miss Brooks: (sniffs smelling salts)
  • On 227 Pearl is the old lady who always sits at her window talking to her neighbors sitting on the stoop. One episode flashes back to the forties when she was young and hot.
  • 30 Rock: Not that Jack Donaghy is all that old or unattractive, but when he shows Liz Lemon a picture of himself at age 25, she tells him he used to have a chest like Superman and asks to keep the picture.
  • Mary Albright in 3rd Rock from the Sun. One episode reveals she once posed nude in her youth. A jealous Dick tracks down the pictures and is about to destroy them when he sees how good she looks. Mary is horrified and refuses to look at the pictures until Dick pushes one in front of her. She quickly goes from protests to, well...
    Mary: Boy, I was a hottie wasn't I?
  • Awkwafina is Nora from Queens portrays Nora's grandparents as a Statuesque Stunner and a Mr. Fanservice when Nora's grandma flashes back to their first meeting. Nora can't believe that they ever looked so hot until Grandma shares their wedding photo.
  • A poignant bit in Barney Miller when an older woman insisted that a local art gallery had "smut in the window". The smut in question turned out to be a tasteful nude portrait of herself in younger days. She'd been lovers with the now-dead artist, and the picture was a private endearment, never meant for exhibition.
  • Howard's mother, Mrs. Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory never appears on-screen, but she's described as an overweight woman with facial hair. She told Sheldon tearfully that she was quite a looker when she was young as men would wait in line showering her with gifts of candy (which she ate). Additionally, it's implied several times that menopause has been really hard on her; that would explain the facial hair, and at least one episode has her using estrogen cream.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine reveals that the now overweight and out of shape Hitchcock and Scully were quite attractive in the 80s, to the point where Jake asks Boyle which one is more bang-able.
  • Charmed
    • The Charmed Ones had an enemy of the week who was an evil wizard. He modeled his handsome golem after himself as a young man.
    • Also in another episode their elderly aunt tried to get a demon to restore her youth and that of a few others. The various old people who are transformed become quite attractive 20-somethings.
  • In Coronation Street when Fred (who is in his seventies, bald and extremely overweight) was putting his picture up online, his friend asked who the man in the black and white photo was. It turns out it was a picture of Fred from his youth and he was quite the Pretty Boy.
  • Doctor Who: The First Doctor claims this about himself (using almost this exact phrasing) in the novel "The Plotters" when offended that the Historical Domain Character of the Week isn't sexually interested in him.
  • On Downton Abbey, Lady Grantham reminisces about her younger days, when she had just arrived from America in London, and says that she was quite attractive.
    Cora: I suppose I can say that now that I'm an old lady!
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Britta unsuccessfully attempts to invoke this to get on Troy's Grandmother good side.
  • Susan and her mother Grace in My Family appear to consider themselves this, but both still get plenty of male attention despite being in their 50s and 70s respectively.
  • In an episode of Family Matters, Eddie's grandmother Estelle does a photo show-and-tell for his class, revealing that Grandfather's plane back in WWII was called the "Brown Bombshell." Which may have been named after her, as the next picture she shows is of herself as she was back in those days - her knock-out looks are enough to get a reaction from the rest of the boys in the class. Eddie is mortified, but Estelle waves it off ("Ah, let the boys express themselves.").
  • Chip Gaines is good for saying this about Once an Episode on Fixer Upper. He even gets out his high school yearbook in one episode to prove it.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Similar to the source material, Robert Baratheon let himself go after becoming king, becoming jaded and lazy, while his son Gendry resembles how he used to look.
    • The blind, 100+-year-old Maester Aemon tells Sam that he used to be a real ladies man back in the day. When Sam finds this hard to believe, Aemon asks if Sam assumed he always looked like a wizened old man, and Sam apologizes.
    • Lady Olenna regales Margaery with how she seduced her future husband away from his betrothed, claiming she was "very, very, good." This doubles as an Actor Allusion; Diana Rigg is best known for her roles in the '60s as a sultry action heroine in The Avengers (1960s) and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
    • King Aegon II Targaryen. Injuries from the war messed up his, as Joffrey puts it, handsome visage.
  • Sophia in The Golden Girls: It became something of a Canon Discontinuity. In one episode, she mentioned she was a natural redhead, and in another she said she was "a tall, voluptuous blonde with a butt like granite." Although she's also claimed (among other things) that Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill actually held the Yalta to fight for her hand in marriage, having differing hair colors isn't the most outlandish thing she's said. While Sophia's claims are the wildest, it's implied that all the Girls were quite lovely in their younger days.
  • Bob Duncan from Good Luck Charlie is at present an overweight (though he loses some weight in later seasons), balding man whom the kids enjoy to pick on about how old he is (his exact age is not clear, but he appears to be in his 40s or 50s), but when he was young, he had pretty hair and looked similar to PJ. In one episode, PJ becomes paranoid that he'll lose his hair as well when he grows up, not helped by the fact that Bob started to lose his hair at just 25.
  • In Horrible Histories, Queen Victoria claims she "was quite slim and attractive as a young lady". The man interviewing her is doubtful... until she produces a picture.
  • In the BBC series I, Claudius, we see Augustus's wife Livia as a middle-aged woman, then an elderly widow, then an unbelievably old crone. But as she comments to Claudius late in life, she was quite the looker in her youth:
    Claudius: The most beautiful in the world, they say.
    Livia: There was one other. But she was in Egypt. And besides, she didn't last as long as I have.
  • The duchess from the It Takes a Thief (1968) episode "Lay of the Land", who was apparently the toast of Europe in her younger days. Noah mentions that she was "one of the most sought-after women of her day... sought after, and frequently caught." The episode's plot revolves around her Compromising Memoirs.
  • On L.A. Law, Douglas discovers his late father had a mistress who gave birth to his, Douglas's, half-brother. He goes to meet her just to see what she's all about, and Coitus Ensues when she shows him an old stag film she did.
    "I had a beautiful body! I wasn't ashamed to show it."
  • In a guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU, Carol Burnett played an aged actress and dancer. When Benson arrives at her home on the night she murders her husband, she is nostalgically watching her old films.
    Burnett: See her detective? That's the girl I used to be.
  • Legends of Tomorrow's pilot episode shows the college-age Dr. Martin Stein was very attractive in his youth. White Canary even does a Double Take when she sees him and has no problem flirting with him - to future!Martin's annoyance.
  • In Mad Men, Roger Sterling's tape-recorded notes for his memoirs provide a pretty darned funny pair of these. Apparently, back in the late '40s, Miss Blankenship — now a standoffish and somewhat prudish old spinster — was Bert Cooper's secretary, known to all in the office as the "Queen of Perversions." And Cooper himself? In his "sexual prime," apparently making quite a few conquests (including Miss Blankenship, it seems), before being, um, cut short by an unnecessary operation at the hands of a certain Dr. Lyle Evans (whom Roger believes Cooper may have had killed).
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Col. Blake put on trial after Majors Burns and Houlihan report him for "giving aid and comfort to the enemy". When Hawkeye and Trapper catch wind of this they crash the trial with Meg Cratty, an elderly American nurse who treats children from North and South Korea alike (and to whom Blake had donated spare medical supplies). After she testifies on Blake's behalf, an admiring Hawkeye leans over to her:
    Hawkeye: You're beautiful.
    Nurse Cratty: I used to be, sonny.
  • Sid has claimed to have been in the 2003 Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Sleepless in Peckham" when looking at himself in the photograph of the 1960 Jolly Boys' Outing.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Red says she was once quite attractive and laments the effects that age has on her looks. Flashbacks reveal she was indeed quite a pretty young woman.
    • Norma was a lovely red-haired girl when she was young.
  • Pushing Daisies:
    • The Darling Mermaid Darlings are not old enough to completely lose their luster, but the years have not been kind to them.
    • Jackson Lucas, the diamond thief from the episode "Pidgeon," plays this trope so straight that it borders on lampshading — though it does not hurt that we first meet him as a corpse.
  • Shoestring: Lettie Ross from "Room With A View" is a former music hall singer who shows Eddie some pictures of herself in her prime.
  • Annette O'Toole's role in Smallville as Martha Kent reminded more comic readers (and artists) that she wasn't always a grey-haired middle-aged woman, which was subsequently used in a Superman reboot when she was portrayed as a rather attractive woman in Clark's younger days. Oddly enough, take a look at Annette O'Toole in 1983's Superman III where she plays Lana Lang. Cuter than Margot Kidder's Lois Lane by a Smallville country mile.
  • In an episode of That's So Raven, Eddie mocks a Star Trek-esque show, but goes to a convention in hopes of meeting the actress who played the attractive character "Curvatia". Unfortunately, since the show was quite old, the actress is now old and fat. Eddie shrugs this off and asks for her autograph anyway.
  • In The Thorn Birds, elderly Mary Carson is in love with young priest Ralph de Bricassart, who rejects her. She bemoans that inside her old body she's still young. Mary is played by Barbara Stanwyck. If Ralph knew what she used to look like, he'd pray to God that the outside matched the in!
  • A Touch of Frost. Inspector Frost is going through a box of personal items stolen from an old lady and finds some B&W photos of a voluptuous young woman posing naked in the woods. The old lady just says "Oh, I was very naughty, wasn't I?" Frost just winks and says she'd better take this particular evidence home with her. "Else we might get too excited."
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena and Gabrielle find themselves 25 years in the future. The Xena lookalike Meg has let herself go. Gabrielle jokes that Xena should cut down on her food intake to prevent herself from going the same way.

    Music 
  • "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife" by Glen Campbell.
  • Neil Sedaka's She was the Queen of Nineteen-Sixty Four is about a groupie who gets too old to rock and roll.
    She didn't get Mick, but she got a kick and a black eye from Bianca...
  • The Menzingers' Lookers is titled after this trope, although the lyrics are more about attempting to find a girl the protagonist remembers from a photograph.
    You were such a looker in the old days
  • in "Tsuki No Waltz" by Mio Iyasama, the old man reverts back to his youth while being spun on a clock needle, and he looked like this.
  • At the end of David Lee Roth's video for "A Lil' Ain't Enough", he does a time skip to October 10, 2021 (which was Dave's 67th birthday), he appears as an overweight, barely mobile version of his 30-year-younger self.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • True of a lot of wrestlers. Many of them were quite attractive before getting into the business. Then the years of getting thrown around, endless travel, and drug consumption, both medical and recreational, start taking their toll.
  • Manager Paul Bearer, in the middle of a plot dump explaining he was carrying on with Kane and The Undertaker's mother, paused and explained to a totally-unbelieving interviewer that "I didn't look like this, then — in fact, I was actually pretty studly!". Most viewers considered this unlikely. But pictures of Bill Moody as a young man show it to be true.
  • Mae Young, who most wrestling fans knew as that revolting horny grandma, was quite the looker when she was young back in the 1950s. She actually modeled her look on the starlets of the time. Observe. WWE never even mentioned this, despite the fact that it could conceivably have made her older self funny.note 
  • Ditto for Fabulous Moolah. Although there isn't currently any footage available of Moolah in the very early days of her wrestling career, there are a number of anecdotes from her peers at the time about how attractive she was.
  • Mick Foley, believe it or not. Despite now looking like a scruffy teddy bear who's missing several teeth and one ear, anyone who's seen photos of him in his youth, generally from reading his autobiography, will see that he was a pretty good-looking guy before he started taking chair shots.
  • Ric Flair. Looks like a caffeine-crazed grandpa these days but he was a real looker in his youth.
  • Raven: Was known as a pretty boy early in his career, working under the name "Scotty the Body". Then the years of hardcore matches and legendary drug consumption started to become noticeable.
  • Tammy Lynn Sytch is a weird example. When she first showed up in the WWF, her looks were dazzling. Then her drug consumption (along with her partner Chris Candido's) spiraled out of control and she started looking very rough. Sometime around 2004, both Candido and Sytch kicked the drugs and she started looking pretty good again. Then Candido died in a fluke surgical mishap and Sytch understandably went to pieces and piled on the pounds.
  • Inverted with Bull Nakano. In wrestling, she had a fat but tough build and wore punk rock looking clothes, bizarre makeup, and more bizarre hair.note  When she quit wrestling for golf, she dropped the weird outfits and hairstyles, lost a lot of weight, and is quite attractive.
  • Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) was once a pretty sexy dude. However, the wear and tear of wrestling and rampant alcohol abuse took its toll on him. Fortunately his good friend Diamond Dallas Page helped him get clean, so even if he wasn't getting any younger, he at least looked much more healthy and happy during his final years.
  • Paul Heyman once referred to himself as a child actor when he talked about his older promos from his days in the AWA being shown on ESPN Classic. Vids at age 21-22 prove that quite right.
  • The legendary Harley Race once wrestled as "Handsome" Harley Race in the AWA in the early '60s. Those who only know him as the rough, rugged world champion of the '70s and '80s will be surprised to know that he was once a bleach blonde pretty boy.
    • On another note, the second man in that picture is Larry "The Ax" Hennig, another wrestler who's mostly known as a big, ugly brute of a man. Fans wouldn't recognize him in his "Pretty Boy" Larry Hennig days. And yes, he's the father of Curt Hennig.
    • In a similar vein, you have "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who before adopting the shaved, goateed, toughest-sumbitch-in-the-room persona, had a long mane of blonde hair and wrestled as "Stunning" Steve Austin in a pretty-boy heel gimmick.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played for drama with Ma-Ha-Suchi in Exalted. In the First Age, he was known as the "Wolf with the Red Roses", was ridiculously Bishōnen, and had a Motivation of "Bed every Celestial Exalt." And he almost pulled it off. Then came the Usurpation, and he was forced to flee into the Wyld... where he ended up stuck in the form of a hideous goat-wolf-satyr... thing. No wonder he wants to destroy civilization.

    Theater 
  • In Noël Coward's Bitter Sweet, we first meet the elderly Marchioness of Shayne in 1929, then flashback to 1875 when she, as Sarah Millick, eloped to Vienna with her singing teacher, Carl Linden. After an officer who was hitting on her killed Carl in 1880, Sari Linden became world-famous performing the songs he wrote. At last returning to England in 1895, she agreed to marry a Marquess who had been fondly pursuing her across Europe.
  • Cats: Grizabella the Glamour Cat is this to a T.
  • Dr. Daly, the aging vicar in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer. In fact, not only does he sing a melancholy song about how stunningly attractive he was as a young curate, he still makes one young female character go weak at the knees.
  • Inverted in Into the Woods: the Witch, cursed by her mother, is prematurely old and shrivelled when the play begins and has been for some time. Her youthful, beautiful appearance, which is revealed at the end of Act One and continues for the rest of the show, is in fact her genuine current self.
  • In On the Town, Madame Dilly cautions Ivy: "Sex and art don't mix. If they did, I'd have gone right to the top."
  • In the musical Out of This World, Juno has the song "I Sleep Easier Now," a List Song filled with typical Cole Porter Double Entendres about what she used to do "in the olden days at 10 P.M." but doesn't anymore.
  • In Our Town Mrs. Webb mentions that she was "the prettiest girl in town, next to Mamie Cartwright" during a reminiscent moment.
  • In Picnic, bitter Old Maid schoolteacher Rosemary grouses about all the attention given to gorgeous young Madge, saying "When I was a girl I was just as good looking as she is!"
  • Ruth, in The Pirates of Penzance, might fall into this category...
    Frederic: ...Are you—beautiful?
    Ruth: I have been told so, dear master!
    Frederic: Ah, but... recently?
    Ruth: Oh, no! Years and years ago...
  • Belle, the sleeping car, from Starlight Express. As she states in her song:
    "I had crystal lamps, Irish linen
    To set off my red velvet dress.
    Those who rode on me compared me to
    The Orient Express."

    Toys 
  • A non age-related example in BIONICLE. combines this with Bad Ass Boast:
    "My name is Jerbraz, once one of the most handsome and dashing members of my little circle of friends ... that is, back when I could be seen. Now I have to rely on my charm alone to make an impression ... that and this nasty sword that conveniently turned invisible with me. If you see someone's head just suddenly go flying off for no reason, it's not your imagination."

    Video Games 
  • In Bayonetta 2, the Masked Lumen whom Bayonetta encounters several times throughout the game turns out to be the younger version of Father Balder, Big Bad of the first game.
  • Cantr II: Averted, strangely. You can change at will your character's description, but there's no need to update it. Cue the very old (ingame term for someone over the age of 80 ingame years) "looking" the precise same as when she was 22. A most our-favourite-word example, involves a ~140 year old mundane man looking like Vash but even prettier.
  • In Disco Elysium, your player character was known for being extremely handsome in his 20s and 30s, but a combination of severe alcohol abuse, repulsive midlife-crisis-induced fashion choices and suicidal depression has mangled his looks along with most of his appeal to others. He deliberately uses a photo of himself from his youth on his police badge, as a way of denying the extent of the damage. He still retains traces of his good looks which a few characters remark on, with Lena noting his appealing cleft chin and Kim suggesting he'd look fine if he tidied himself up a little.
  • In the Dragalia Lost raid event "Fractured Futures", it turns out that the late King Aurelius has a time-traveling Alternate Self who was physically aged down to his prime in a battle against the time-manipulating villain. And, as Notte points out in his Adventurer story, the end result is very attractive.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
  • Fallout:
    • Tandi in Fallout is shown as a rather attractive young woman from the small town of Shady Sands. She reappears 80 years later in Fallout 2, aged 96.
    • Mother Pearl, matriarch of the Boomers in Fallout: New Vegas, is a wise old lady who understands the need to break out of their reclusiveness just a little. Once you drag that old B-29 out of Lake Mead, Loyal (the Boomers' master technologist who's just as old as Pearl) demonstrates that he apparently has excellent knowledge the shape of Pearl's former figure by adorning the restored plane with nose art depicting her from way back when.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Hojo lacks his crooked back, unhealthy pallor, and sunken brow in the flashback where he betrays Prof Gast. Though for some reason young Hojo looks exactly the same as old Hojo in Dirge of Cerberus.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake shows us that back when President Shinra was a young upstart he was the spitting image of his son Rufus, via an old photo.
    • Verstael from Final Fantasy XV, while there aren't any pictures of him in his younger years, his biological son, Prompto, was created via cloning, so it's safe to assume that he used to be quite good looking.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Fable I's Darkwood Bordello has Polly the old, discount-rate prostitute. It's played for Black Comedy at first but takes a heartwarming turn if the Hero has the Bordello turned into a shelter and gives her a chance to retire.
    "Name's Polly. Used to be Pretty Polly. Now just Polly..."
  • Kliff Undersn from Guilty Gear X, as shown by his ability to revert to his younger form when doing an Overdrive, was certainly quite a good-looking fellow back in the day.
  • According to The Outsider, Granny Rags of Dishonored was quite the beauty and had many men of power and status wrapped around her fingers. You can find a young photo of her in the game.
  • Halo's Dr. Halsey was apparently quite good-looking when she was young. Case in point, it's said that Cortana's appearance was based on that of her as a young woman.
  • Lorenzo Belli from Haunting Ground, who temporarily restores his youthful looks for the final battle. Apparently, to quite a few fans, his newfound appearance was hot enough that they were almost willing to overlook the Squickiness of him going after his granddaughter, Fiona.
  • Kingdom Hearts - Prequel villain Master Xehanort (the original incarnation of the franchise-long Big Bad) is a wrinkled, balding old man when we first see him. When we go even further back or rather, his younger self Time Travels from the past to the future, it turns out he used to look like this. Makes you wonder if he stole Terra's body just so he could be a Bishōnen again.
    • We also had Master Eraqus who is Xehanort's friend before he kill him and the mentor towards Aqua, Terra, and Ventus. He was really a Bishōnen before things got really bad between him and Xehanort, which is where he got the scars from. Also, he was really much nicer before.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Jolee Bindo, especially when he starts talking about "back when I had hair..."
    • Can't forget Kreia from the second game. Though we never see it, even ATTON seems to accept it.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an elderly Gerudo character named Muava who says she was quite a boy magnet when she was young. But she spent much of her younger years looking for the Lover's Pond where it is said people can find their true love; she never found it, and she ended up too old for the guys to find a lover.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Miss Petunia, the Bathing Beauty, used to look beautiful, enough to be the Miss Ghost runner-up from six years before the events of the game. When Luigi encounters her in a bathroom where he can see the Sexy Silhouette of a svelte woman taking a bath behind the curtain, but once he moves it, Miss Petunia is actually a pig-like Brawn Hilda. It's implied the silhouette is what she used to look like before she gained weight.
  • Max Payne:
    • Max Payne didn't look too bad by the time of the second game, but a comparison with the first appearance certainly shows how he managed to age somewhat in the span of only two years.
    • And then the third game was announced, with many fans outright refusing to recognize him.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Revolver Ocelot: behold the earth-shattering sound of the fangirl's jaws dropping onto the floor when the young Major Ocelot strolled onto the scene in the third game.
    • Roy Campbell. He looks like a fairly amiable old man in Solid Snake's timeline — but in Naked Snake's timeline, he's a ruggedly-gorgeous young man who isn't at all ashamed to use his sexuality to get what he wants.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shang Tsung as an old man, and with his youth restored.
  • Jujudormah from Onimusha is an old Genma crone in Samurai's Destiny. One of the hidden characters in Blade Warriors is Juju-ran, her very attractive past self.
  • Quite a few of the older members of Overwatch have fallen into this.
  • The Puni Elder of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door claims this if Mario jokingly says "I love you!" to her.
  • Pokémon:
    "I hear Oak's taken a lot of interest in you, child. That old duff was once tough and handsome. But that was decades ago. He's a shadow of his former self."
  • The elderly characters in the Power Instinct series have the ability to regress to their younger, more attractive selves.
  • Psychonauts 2:
    • Ford Cruller is shown to have been handsome and well-groomed when he was a younger man. Not so much when he's an elderly, balding man with wild hair.
    • Raz's grandmother is squat and small, but flashbacks to her youth as a member of the Psychic Seven shows that she was a tall and beautiful woman.
  • Dapper Bones from Puyo Puyo claims this about himself a few times throughout his story in Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary, although the player never gets to see what he looked like before his death. He claims to have had beautiful long, curly blond hair, but he threw all of his pictures of himself into the ocean and begs them to be left alone, claiming that they would bring back painful memories.
  • Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2:
    • Dutch starts off as a healthy, well-dressed man in 1899 but he has degraded into an unkempt mountain man with a huge bushy beard by 1907. By 1911, he is a modestly dressed, sickly-looking man that appears elderly.
    • In II, Javier was suave, clean-cut and very stylish. He can be found around camp polishing his shoes and many of his outfits include sharp vests, ascots and matching hats. By I, he has grown filthy and thin with a distinct rat-like appearance.
  • Although he never says as much, in Rogue Galaxy we actually see a younger Dorgongoa, who looks a bit like a younger, more handsome Conan the Barbarian. Consider his "present" form is a morbidly obese cartoonish pirate.
  • Carla from Shadow Hearts: Covenant was quite beautiful in her youth. Sadly, when her good looks abandoned her, so did all the men in her life and she fell on hard times. During the events of the game, she runs a fortune teller business leaving to her protegé Lucina the alluring aspect of it.
  • Tekken's Heihachi Mishima, surprisingly. He managed to lose 40 years before Tekken Tag Tournament 2, pictured here. (In truth, Heihachi's voice actor died tragically, so Namco decided to change his appearance.) While it ultimately doesn't carry over into 7, his younger self does occasionally appear in flashbacks.
  • Gary Golden and Imalia of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. To the point that they're willing to pay generously for any footage of themselves from before their Embrace by the Nosferatu. Averted with Mitnick, who shares their grotesque appearance but was apparently so unappealing in life that he actually looks better after the Embrace.
  • Yakuza 4: Downplayed example, since Shun Akiyama is still fairly young (32) and reasonably handsome. However, in flashbacks to his 20s he is a full-blown Pretty Boy, and it is very clear that age and a few years of homelessness and sleeping rough on the streets of Kamurocho have done a number on his appearance.

    Visual Novels 
  • Wendy Oldbag of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney claims in the first game that she was a mildly successful film actress in her youth. She also has a tendency to use Puppy-Dog Eyes an awful lot, implying there was a time in her life when that maneuver was actually effective.
    • In one (rather strange, even by Ace Attorney Standards) commissioned side-story involving the ghost of Wendy's Identical Grandmother and said grandmother's lover (very, very long story) proves that Wendy was right about being attractive.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! has Reiko, the dorm manager and Gakuto's mom, in a flashback.
  • Background information (as well as Fate/Grand Order) for the Fate series shows that Zouken Matou didn't always resemble a festering pile of wrinkles and evil. In fact, he used to look more than a little like Zero!Lancer (read: Diarmuid Ua Duibhne of the Radiant Face).
  • In Harvest Town, it is said that David Hanks used to be handsome when he was young. But he is now bald and out of shape.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry reveals that Shion and Mion's "Evil Granny" Oryuu was rather attractive in one of the anime-only omakes much to Mion's surprise.
  • In an (adult) visual novel game Large Pon Pon made by Overflow(the same maker of School Days), you're introduced to Tomoe Sawagoe, one of the heroine's mother-in-law, and Arisu Takatsukasa, the head nurse who may become one of your "love interest". Fans who have played Snow Radish Vacation will know that both characters were once very attractive and Tomoe was once a kind heiress. Justified, as year after year of stresses of Tomaru's adultery turns them into this.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry it's occasionally noted, and later outright confirmed, that crazy old grandpa Kinzo Ushiromiya used to look a hell of a lot like his Bishōnen grandson Battler when he was young. The manga also reveals that Kinzo's Old Retainer Genji wasn't bad-looking in his youth either.
  • Jeanne Amakawa's younger self is introduced in Rose Guns Days' Last Season, and unsurprisingly she was this, though she is closer to Unkempt Beauty, with slightly messy hair and a loose top.

    Webcomics 
  • From Bruno the Bandit there's Bruno's mother, Eunyce, who - in several flashbacks - is seen in her past identity: Eunyce, Warrior Hottie! Sadly, she still wears her old, Stripperific costume waaaaay too often. Three of her equally elderly friends showed up in one storyline as well, revealing that they also used to be Warrior Hotties, but unfortunately, unlike Eunyce, they hadn't kept up their fighting skills in old age, so they got curbstomped by the villains (one of whom was a grandson).
    • Same thing with Bruno's father Eustace, who was exactly as studly and suave as Bruno in his youth (albeit with beard stubble instead of a moustache). In the present, he's fat, balding, and lost an arm at some point before he retired as a thief.
  • Ménage à 3 - In this strip, landlady Eulice Deville claims to have been beautiful when young. However, this claim is unconfirmed.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Roy meets his mother in the afterlife. Since in the Stickverse's good-aligned heaven you look like your own idealized version of yourself, she appears as the very attractive nineteen-year-old woman she once was, to Roy's Oedipal chagrin.
    Sara: Roy, it's me, your mother!
    Roy: Uh, sorry, no. My mother has a grey bun hairdo and osteoporosis, not pigtails and a rack.
    • Roy's dad shows him a picture of mum in a bikini.
      Eugene: And can you blame me? Look at the rack on that girl!
      Roy: Gah! Never show me mom like that again!
    • The Empress of Blood was shown to be a sleek and slender, ass-kicking, young red dragon in Tarquin's flashback. Now very much larger, she barely ever moves and is a morbidly obese lump with wings (yet is somehow still able to fly).
  • Subverted in the seriously NSFW comic Oglaf, when Ponce De Leon thought he found the fountain of youth after his old assistant drinks from it and becomes young and beautiful. But then she explains that she wasn't that beautiful when she was young. Too late; he then discovers he found the Fountain of Girl.
  • How I Killed Your Master starts off with the apprentice searching for the eponymous evil master's killer, who is the narrator and central hero of the story, who is an old man. Cut later in the story to when he was 10 years old, and then later when he's in his 20s. We also got a look at the Five Dragons when Master Fei unveiled the truth about Wong's father, and apparently Fei had quite a head of hair way back when.
  • Elanor of Kevin & Kell was one back in the day, so much that a picture of her from her younger days got leaked onto the internet (by her son Ralph, who didn't recognize her at all. His head literally imploded when he found out). Her son-in-law Kevin, though, believes she still is. He did recognize her, after all.
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, Dr. Worth basically resembles a human vulture and lives in a shady back-alley clinic. A bonus picture by Tessa shows that when he was in his twenties, he looked like this.
  • Lighter Than Heir: Zeppelin's mother, who used to be a pin-up girl for war propaganda.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf. Granny Homfel looks completely different in her restored youth than when she was dying of old age.

    Web Original 
  • This YouTube video shows 102-year-old Alice Barker watching for the first time videos of herself dancing in Harlem nightclubs in the '30s and '40s.
  • Aunt Despair from The Nostalgia Critic. When she first started as a character, Tamara and Rob said she used to be as cute as Tamara before she started smoking and drinking constantly.
  • Subverted by a clickbait article where former Playboy models from decades past reenacted their cover photos. Only one looked significantly different due to age and weight gain, and sure enough, she was the one used as the image link. All the other models were still stunningly beautiful in their 40's and 50's; some wouldn't have looked out of place in the magazine today.
  • Invoked when Leslie Jordan shared on his Instagram two photos of his younger self. Since he was already middle-aged when he first became famous as a recurring character on Will & Grace, practically the entire internet was shocked to see that he was quite handsome in his 20's.
    Image caption: I just called 1980 and told it I wanted my 6-pack back — except in those days I was drinking and I'm afraid they'll think I want beer.
    Octavia Spencer (in the comments): If they call u back text me. There are things I want too.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • The Emperor's New School's Fountain of Youth episode reveals this to be true for Yzma. Yes, that Yzma (She even gets a cut Villain Song about it.) Also, Pacha was a lot more athletic-looking as a teen than he is now. In fact, this was implied in The Emperor's New Groove! It was a plot point in its previous version of Kingdom in the Sun and the series just recycled that.
    • Although this was later Jossed/Inverted in an episode involving Yzma's high school reunion, where it was revealed she was even uglier than she is now!
  • In Recess, Spinelli discovers a photo that shows that Miss Finster was quite the looker when she and Spinelli's grandmother were entertaining the troops in the Pacific. In the film based on the series, we see flashbacks from the teachers. Miss Finster might have looked better when she was younger, but she still had the exact same raspy voice. Not to mention the fact that Dr. Phillium Benedict still has the hots for her. Eww!
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • There was an episode that does this with all the elderly people (or, technically, animals, since it is Rocko's Modern Life and all) in the vicinity. Rocko and Heffer were on a cruise in The Bermuda Triangle with Heffer's grandpa (among other old people), and this gigantic clock came along and completely switched around everyone's ages — the youngsters (Rocko and Heffer) were now old geezers and the old people (Grandpa Wolfe, et al.) were all young again. After all, it was the Bermuda Triangle, and strange, unexplainable things were bound to occur.
    • A couple of episodes feature Ed Bighead like this, in one he was tall, handsome, and muscular and had a buzz cut before he became old, and another features him looking like a green-skinned Lex Luthor before Heffer while working as a paperboy hit him with a newspaper that caused him to fall into a blender destroying his face.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Bill was still a bit homely, but he was a popular, confident athlete with a lush head of hair in High School.
    • Cotton Hill was a tall, handsome, powerful soldier in WWII. Then he had his shins shredded to pieces via a machine gun and his feet were attached to his knees, causing to go from 6'4" to 5' in height. By the time he married Tilly and had Hank, he looked like a brown-haired version of his current pruny, decrepit self.
  • Archie's Weird Mysteries has this happen to Miss Grundy in the episode "Twisted Youth" when the adults of Riverdale are reverted to teenagers. She spends most of the episode aggressively pursuing Reggie, who's about to give in and kiss her when the effect's reversed.
  • Nerissa and Yan Lin in W.I.T.C.H. were very attractive once they reverted to their teenage guardian forms.
  • Irwin's grandmother, Tanya, in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. In her old age she looks like this, but when she was younger she looked like this.
  • An episode of Scooby-Doo revealed that the grouchy old waitress used to be a water skiing champion who looked cute in a bikini.
  • Harley Quinn in the DC Animated Universe. The old lady is Harley as of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
  • Old Bruce Wayne informs Terry McGinnis of this status in Batman Beyond
    Bruce: When I was younger women used to throw themselves at my feet all the time.
    Terry: What'd you do?
    Bruce: I stepped over them.
    Terry: Smooth.
    Bruce: I thought so.
  • Totally Spies!:
    • Jerry's mom, who in her younger days resembled an old-school Bond Girl.
    • Jerry himself as well. When he gets hit with a ray that makes him twenty years younger, two separate women on two separate occasions tell him that he looks amazing, suggesting that at the very least, he's seen as attractive in-universe. It's amazing what a full head of hair and fewer wrinkles will do for you.
  • Both Griffin and Faragonda of Winx Club were quite handsome in their youth. Bodywise, they still are.
  • Granny, of Looney Tunes fame, is shown to have been a very sexy Action Girl, whom Daffy initially mistook for her granddaughter, back in World War II in one episode of The Looney Tunes Show. Also in an episode of Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries. Keeping that cat from eating that bird all the time must have really taken its toll on her.
  • Simon Petrikov was this, at least by the art style's standards, in Adventure Time before he became the Ice King.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: Captain Shuggazoom, before he fell victim to the Rip Van Winkle effect.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • The Danny Phantom episode "Control Freaks" showed that Sam's grandmother was this.
  • Similarly, this happened to Mrs. Claus in The Fairly OddParents. Compare her appearances in "Christmas Everyday!" and "Merry Wishmas".
  • I Got A Rocket: Ma Duckie, as seen when Vinnie, Rocket, and Gabby end up back in the '50s in "I Got a Remote".
  • Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls might be a crotchety old scam artist, but he was a pretty good looking guy back in the day. His twin brother didn't look so bad either. Although his twin brother is still very attractive, even in his somewhat older years..
  • Steven Universe:
    • Greg, Steven's dad is currently a pudgy, balding man with a scruffy beard, but "Story for Steven" shows that he had almost literal rock-star good looks when he was younger.
    • His bandmate Vidalia was a slim attractive woman in her younger days, in the present she's a little wrinkled and unkempt.
  • The Cleveland Show gives us the Brown family's morbidly obese neighbor Kendra. However, in her youth, she was a svelte, gorgeous movie starlet with a string of rich husbands and lovers. Though for some odd reason, she rode around on her signature electric scooter even back then, despite obviously being able to walk with no problem.
    • There's also Donna. Who with a heavy dose of beauty enhancements, hides the fact that she aged badly.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Grampa Simpson was in his youth voted as the most handsome boy in Albany, New York. Flashbacks to his days in the U.S military during World War 2, as well as the direct post-war years, shows him to have been quite studly. He slowly began to age after he married Mona and the two had Homer, but he fell apart completely after Mona left, quickly reducing him to a shell of his former self.
    • Homer himself is a downplayed example. He thinks of his youth as his Glory Days, appearance-wise, but the viewers are shown that aside from a full head of hair and being much thinner, he was still kind of a goofy doofus even back then.
    • Moe Szyslak, in his youth, was a boxer who went by the nickname of Kid Gorgeous. Because he wasn't a good boxer and the repeated face-punching destroyed his looks, he went through the nicknames of Kid Presentable, Kid Gruesome, and finally Kid Moe.
    • Marge's mother Jaqueline was a dead-ringer for her daughter back in her youth, as shown with an old photo of her being arrested for indecent exposure at the beach (she was wearing an Old-Timey Bathing Suit, complete with sleeves). Grampa was very impressed.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • BoJack's mother Beatrice was beautiful in her youth as a debutante, and she’s bitter about how she looks now, which she uses to guilt her son due to believing having him "ruined her". "You know, I was beautiful before I got pregnant".
    • His father Butterscotch was also pretty rugged when he first met Beatrice, but by middle age he’s balding with wrinkles and a gut.
    • BoJack himself was pretty good looking in his Horsin' Around days, but in the years after the show’s cancellation he's developed wrinkles and a pot belly.
  • In Sonic Boom, the fat, middle-aged Comedy Chimp used to be slim and handsome. He gets annoyed when some kids see photos of him when he was younger and refuse to believe him.
  • In Doug, Doug is volunteering at a local nursing home. He's paired up with an initially aloof woman named Mrs. Whackhammer. As the two bond by the end of the episode, she begins showing him old photos. One that catches his attention is a photo of her when she was about his age. She bears more than a striking resemblance to Patti.
  • In one episode of Amphibia, while trying to find out about Mrs. Croaker’s past, Anne, Polly and Sprig find a photo of her as an attractive young frog-woman. After Sprig runs off to find the mystery man in another photo, Anne and Polly elect to continue looking at “hot Croaker”.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Was Quite The Looker

Top

Granny

Granny told Daffy that the pretty lady in the portrait is actually her in her youth. <br>she also claims to be a spy as well, much to Daffy's surprise.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / IWasQuiteALooker

Media sources:

Report