In her new book Happily Ali After, Wentworth shares her secrets to a long and happy life with husband George Stephanopoulos

Like many hilarious ladies in Hollywood (Amy Schumer, we’re looking at you!), actress and author Ali Wentworth acknowledges that men have the luxury of not having to worry about their looks when women are scrutinized. “Men get more distinguished as they get older. They just look smarter and more worldly,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Richard Gere has white hair, and everyone’s still like, ‘Oh, he’s so sexy.’ But believe me, if he had a wife with white hair, everyone would go, ‘Why is Richard Gere married to this old lady?’ It’s a double standard, but it’s not going to change for a long time.”

So when chatting with Wentworth about her second book, Happily Ali After, we had to dig deep on her aging philosophy, her marriage to Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos and just how she maintains such a healthy body image (remember, this is coming from a woman who uses her daughter walking in on Wentworth and her hubby having sex as a teachable moment). And we came away totally sold on her life philosophies.

Ali Wentworth at home

Christopher Testani

If you want to get work done, consider your options, and go for it! In 2012, Wentworth video-blogged her blepharoplasty procedure, which is a surgery that reduces the bags under the eyes. She documented every facet of her process — from the initial decision, to doctor visits, the surgery itself (she’s really funny on painkillers) and the often gruesome aftermath. Her undereye circles “were such an issue” on set, says Wentworth. “It started to really eat away at me. I just wanted to fix it and make it go away. So then I thought, ‘I get it, I get how you can have something that really bothers you, and it’s okay.’… I wasn’t going to be one of these women who’s like, ‘I haven’t had any work done’ or ‘I just drink a lot of water,'” she says. “I disclose … and I don’t judge.”

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Don’t compare yourself to your peers. “I started to feel bad … why don’t I like to do this or that? Why aren’t I that kind of mom? Why aren’t I into SoulCycle?” she says. “It was definitely like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m supposed to be into this.’ I have a lot of friends who, particularly in the wellness department, are loving these exercise programs, and taking their calcium, and doing cleanses. And I just go, ‘Jesus! I want some cookie dough.'” For Wentworth, who loves to bake, tasty treats win. (Every. Single. Time.) She says she’s inspired by actress Candice Bergen, who wrote in her memoir that she’s “fat” and totally over watching what she eats. “When I’m 70, I’ll try to maintain bone density, but I’m gonna have fun — I’m gonna have fried chicken,” says Wentworth.

When it comes to compliments, simple is sweeter. “At the end of the day, all George has to say when I get dressed is ‘You look so pretty,'” she explains. “He can even say it robotically and not mean it, but that’s all I want to hear. And I’ll say to him like you look handsome. But that’s it, besides the ‘I love you’s and all that. I don’t know say ‘Oh you look so distinguished; you look like an elderly statesman.'” She sums it up: “You feel good as long as you feel like people would have sex with you. People talk about Helen Mirren like that: ‘I would still have sex with Helen Mirren.’ That’s what it comes down to.”

Stumped on what to wear? Trust the fashion critics in your fam. “My style is very low-key. I dress like a college student: every day, just jeans and a T-shirt,” she says. She relies on her now 12-year-old daughter Elliot for sartorial advice. “The first time I met Sarah Jessica Parker was at this New Year’s Eve party … Elliot was shopping with me and picked out this green dress. And I said, ‘I’m going to wear my ballet flats.’ And she said, ‘”No, you can’t, oh my God no,'” says Wentworth. “She was eight or something. We went to Barneys and she saw these suede fuchsia Manolos. The first thing SJP said when she met me was, ‘Oh my God, I love what you’re wearing.’ And I was like, ‘It’s my 8-year-old daughter. She totally has an eye.'”

Every year counts. Play it up! Wentworth was 36 when she married Stephanopoulos, and he was 40. Their teensy 4-year age difference “doesn’t really affect us, but I do use that as a common joke in our house,” she says. “I introduce myself sometimes, ‘Hello, I’m George’s much younger wife.’ Or you know, ‘George robbed the cradle.’ I love to pretend. When he’s talking to our kids, he’ll say, ‘When we were your age…’ and I’ll go ‘No, no no, different decades, different times.'”

TELL US: Do you agree with Wentworth’s graceful aging philosophy?

–Catherine Kast

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