A while back I read a science-fiction short story that I very much want to re-find. If you've read it, my plot description will hopefully ring a bell and maybe you'll recall some vital stats about it.
I probably read the story in a "Best of the Year" anthology or a "Best of 'If'" type collection or the like. The story has got to be at least 10, 15 years old but likely way older (from the 1950's, 60's, or more likely the 70's or 80's. Maybe 90's, but again probably older).
PLOT: A current-day (or 20th C.) man finds himself in the future—I don't remember how but I think via cryogenics, maybe he was ill & had himself frozen till there was a cure. Doesn't matter. The main plot point was, in the future everyone is healthy and young, they have some sort of procedure? or substance? that keeps them so. And beautiful too, I believe. And, if I recall correctly, immortal (or very very very long-lived).
It's a pretty cool society, fairly Utopian.
ANYWAY, the guy attracts women who are wowed by his "savage", natural 'ugliness', and he enjoys his sort of Rock Star status.
I think he wants to get the "stay young forever" procedure but they don't want to give it to him for some reason? Don't recall details. They're a very gentle, permissive, even innocent society. Maybe there's short supply of the procedure? Or they want him to remain "as is", special & unique?? Or maybe someone has to die, which is rare, in order to make room for one more immortal? I think that might be it.
Anyway. He starts trying to denigrate & criticize their society's "superficial" beauty, & keeps extolling the virtues & value of aging naturally—I definitely recall he keeps using a catchphrase/ theme in his PR campaign, something like "there's nothing like the dear, grey-haired dignity of my dear old mother" (or grandmother; maybe "white-haired"). ANYWAY, he pushes this idea in all the talk-shows & stuff, and he really tugs at the heartstrings, tears in eyes, playing it up, and people eventually start following this idea—forgoing their 'superficial' rejuvenating treatments so as to achieve the 'dignity' this guy is reverently extolling.
The kicker is, he's doing this to manipulate the people (they're not used to con-artists, have no wariness or immunity to bullshit & lies), I THINK it's because their new 'fad' of naturally aging/ dying somehow allows HIM to access the youth treatment (because there's lower demand?? Opens a slot for him? Don't recall). So HE gets the rejuvenating treatment—complete hypocrisy, & his intent all along during his "beauty of natural ageing, my dear old white-haired mother" etc PR campaign.
I don't recall if there's any further punchline/ denouement for his trickery—but anyway that's the basic plot. The people in this future society are no match for his trickery… he snows them till most follow his shaming-of-perfection / glorifying-of-natural-aging campaign—a disingenuous manipulation for his own purposes.
No clue what author. Not even sure which decade. I DO NOT recall this being a widely-anthologized or classic, well-known story—but it's pretty good.
I've read tons & tons of SF short stories (not recently though), & again, I do NOT think this is a particularly famous one.
Hey, I sure hope someone recognizes the plot & can help me out here! Even just any other details might help in my search, even if you don't recall the title or author.