ageing

On becoming a superhero

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Are you a woman under fifty? If so, prepare to receive a surprise gift on your fiftieth birthday. This gift is something you may have spent your younger years wishing for, and believing you could never have. It is however, something you will find out is nowhere near as cool as you think it would be. I love a superhero movie as much as the next person, and have often thought it might be cool to fly like Superman or Ironman, have X-ray eyes, or the power to become invisible. Well you can become invisible, and you won’t have to undergo any horrible painful tests,  there will be no need to drink a nasty tasting concoction, and no scary injections of dreadful chemical mixtures. What must you do, I hear you cry? It’s simple, just be a woman over fifty.

This phenomenon creeps up on you without you realising until it’s too late and then, bam, you’re invisible with no way back. Like a spectre you glide into crowded rooms unseen by those present until you throw a cup across the room and scream. You queue in stores and fast food joints and when finally you get to the front of the line, the sales person looks right through you and serves the guy behind you. Your fifty plus year old joints complain more and more, but you will never get a seat on a bus because no one knows you’re there.

Hoping to get yourself a younger toy boy? Forget it sister. Unless you walk down the street stark naked, singing a falsetto rendition of The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins to get their attention, Most men will cease to notice you. There are some men who will notice you, but that will most likely be for all the wrong reasons. The fat, balding, paunchy, toothless, beer swilling, farting sofas will notice you, but only because they know that the younger and better looking chicks won’t give them the time of day. They’re trying to ‘settle for second best’ by trying it on with the invisible older women, and assume said women will be grateful for the attention.

I turned 53 a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been aware of my superhero status for a few years now. My 83 year old mother and I have discussed this topic often and she reports to having noticed the same thing happening to her from middle age. She also informs me that this superhero status, once gained, is permanent. Once invisible, you can never hope to be seen again.  You are doomed to wander through your winter years like a ghost wandering a lofty mansion, the occasional grunt or shriek to shock people into wondering what the hell that noise was, and if their house is haunted?

This new found ability does have one or two advantages though, that help to temper the shock and disappointment. No longer must you spend hours wondering what to wear. No longer do you have to spend hours applying layers of make up. You don’t even have to bother shaving your chin or plucking your eyebrows anymore. Your middle aged spread can wobble unashamedly, and you can relax about the diet. After all, you’re now way passed such concerns. No, your priorities now are tracking down cut price life insurance deals, funeral plans, and dealing with bladder problems. The younger generation don’t know how sweet their life is, do they?

But of course, this is what society wants us to believe.

Why should we suddenly become invisible? What is wrong with our society, that a woman who has worked hard bringing up children, working, caring for elderly parents and useless husbands, is rewarded for her efforts with indifference and a yawn? Without us, the younger generation would not exist to enjoy the life they take far too much for granted, so why can’t they be grateful? Because that is the way of life today, that’s why. Old is a dirty word, something to be afraid of and avoided at all costs. In choosing not to notice us, they are admitting their fear of confronting their own mortality and the march of time. We cannot all be Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, with enough money to hire clever people who can help us come out from behind our cloak of invisibility. Most of us just have to accept that we no longer exist, and some of us will end our days alone, not found for weeks. Our mouldering corpses will still be sitting in front of the tv and finally, for a moment, we will no longer be invisible. The younger generation will shake their heads and mutter, “What a shame, how could an old person go unnoticed like that.”

Its seems the only way to stop this unwanted new superhero ability, is to become the neighbourhood weirdo, the crazy cat lady at the end of the street, the old bat who talks to her plants and probably has a body hidden in the cellar, “so the guy in bar told me.” Not all of us fancy any of those roles for ourselves. Most of us would like to be just as visible as we were when we were thirty years younger. We’re not asking for wolf whistles, (although that might be nice once in a while), we don’t want to be thought of as man eating cougars or new age converts embracing veganism. We want to be ordinary women, just like always. We want a smile, a nod, a “good morning.”

Is that really beyond the realms of possibility for a civilised society?

A milestone I didn’t want to reach

Something just happened that I’ve been dreading for years.  I knew it had to happen but somehow you always think that a miracle will occur and it’ll pass you by.  I’ve reached a milestone.  A milestone that all of us reach at some point; some earlier than others.  I’ve been lucky to get to 50 before reaching it; I’ve known people who had to deal with it years earlier than me.  It’s a milestone that not only brings anguish but questions.  I now have an important decision to make and I haven’t a clue what to do.

I found my very first grey hairs today..!

So now I have to decide – to dye or not to dye, that is the question.

The problem with dyeing is that grey hair takes colour in a very different way than naturally coloured hair.  My mother once decided to try a coloured mousse that advertised itself as ‘semi permanent – washes out in 6 washes’ and she went bright orange; I’m talking day glow here.  It didn’t wash out in 6 washes either and she had to go around in a headscarf for months until it faded and grew out and I teased her mecilessly.  In order to dye grey hair well, you need a salon do and they’re expensive.  There’s the roots problem, which entails a continuous expense that I don’t know I can guarantee to afford.  There’s also the hassle of it all; worrying about the roots and looking like a skunk if you let them grow out too much.  At least if you’re all grey it looks better than looking like a skunk with grown out roots.

If I choose not to dye, then I have to get used to looking like an old woman in a world where being young and beautiful is everything.  My problem is I’m neither young nor beautiful.  I’m 50 and physically ugly and being grey as well is going to be too much to bear.

I simply don’t know what to do.  I hate getting old.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I was beautiful to begin with.  Ugh, I wish I was dead…!

Male celebs & the distortion of a generation

I’ve just seen a photo on my facebook wall about a couple who were arrested after being discovered having sex in the back of a Buick. Now I’m all for being discreet but it’s not what they were doing that bothers me, it’s the comments underneath the photo that have enraged me.

The man was in his 50’s and the woman was 71. When the cop asked what they were doing (naked in the back of a car..? Helloooooo..!) the man replied “I’m f***ing this chick.” The vast majority of the comments attack the woman for her physical appearance, state that she obviously hasn’t had sex in a very long time and may never have it again, give the opinion that she isn’t worthy of attention by any man because of her age and state the belief that the man’s male friends will forever tease him for wanting to have sex with her.

The woman has white hair and her skin has a few wrinkles but her eyes are bright and full of expression, she has fantastic bone structure and her smile is radiant. She is slim and is a remarkable ambassador for a woman of 71. So why the ‘ugly’ and “eww” comments? Why has she obviously not had sex in years? Why should the man be embarrassed to have had sex with her? Sex is not a privilege afforded only to the under 40’s, it should be a physical expression of mutual pleasure, joy, attraction and love and those of us over 50 deserve to have those experiences just as much as anyone else. It incenses me that women are seen as immediately unattractive as soon as we hit the big five oh and those in the media spotlight are largely to blame for this distorted view the younger generation have of how people should and shouldn’t behave.

So many male celebs toss their women aside for a young, brainless Belsen victim just because she doesn’t have any lines around her eyes, or because she may have grey hair that it seems normal nowadays to ‘trade her in for a younger model’ every few years. The younger generation who look to these celebs for inspiration as to how to act, get a very distorted and dangerous view of how to handle relationships and how to view women and our place in society. One very well known American actor tossed his wife and daughter aside for a well known ‘celeb whore’ he’d been cheating for ages with, just because she was younger and unlined.

The only thing that gives me any sense of calm is the knowledge that within a few years this actor will no longer have those huge biceps that years of steroids have given him. His pec implants will look ridiculous above his ageing, sagging paunch and as he goes for the first of many facelifts he will find those brainless but unlined Belsen victims are no longer interested in hearing his hoary old catchphrases or admiring his cabinet full of awards. The hollywood whores will be lining up outside the hotel rooms of younger, taughter buttocked beefcake and his beautiful, mature wife will be a successful business woman with a healthy sex life with her younger lover while his daughter will be embarrassed to be seen with him.

It’s not me, I know I’m ugly and will never attract a man worth having, but women in general are being written off as not worthy just because of the time they’ve been on the planet and those with the power to inspire a generation into a healthier way of interacting, are teaching the younger generation to be more negatively judgemental.

These male celebs make me sick…!