Scary Age


In just two short months I will be turning 44. It brings to mind an episode of the that much cited sociological documentary Sex And The City where the Miranda character declares 44 to be her “scary age”. By that she meant it was the age where it was “all over Red Rover”. If one hadn’t gotten themselves hitched and sprogged up by then it was never going to happen. Luckily for both Miranda and myself we impregnated and married (in that order) in our late thirties – just before hells gate slammed shut trapping us in the eternal damnation of spinsterhood.

Now that the ominous double fours are approaching it doesn’t feel so scary. I’m not monstrous to behold. My capri pants from over ten years ago still fit and I feel more or less the same as I did when I originally purchased them. (from Petites in DJs – because I am a short ass)  In my own mind I am perennially in my early 30s. Sadly every now and then I catch a glance in the mirror and get a mighty shock. Middle age is the new black in Chez Abulous (just as long as you don’t wear the black too close to your face because its aging).

Fortunately for me and the pre-menopausal sisterhood, the font of cultural wisdom that is Esquire Magazine has decreed that sleeping with a woman over 40 is now acceptable. Hooray!

The article points to Hollywood A-listers like Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vergara, Leslie Mann and Amy Poehler to support the argument. Fair point – most straight males above puberty would not kick these ladies out. Thanks Esquire for establishing that its hawt to be over 40 as long as you don’t look like you are.

It seems to me that in the past once a woman reached a “certain age” she was let of the hook aesthetically speaking. Now the expectation that we will remain hawter for longer is unrelenting. Of course we are smart women. We understand the futility of comparing ourselves to models and actresses at any age. Nevertheless the pressure to conform to cultural standards seeps in almost like osmosis.

Back in 1967 Anne Bancroft played the original cougar Mrs Robinson in the movie The Graduate. She was only 36 – but was thought of as an “older woman”* . The legendary Ava Gardner was rejected for the role. At age 45 she was considered geriatric.

Anne Bancroft the face of middle age in 1967

Anne Bancroft the face of middle age in 1967

By contrast in 2014 Jennifer Aniston is the face of 45.

Just an Eastern Beaches mum on the school run.

Just an Eastern Beaches mum on the school run.

Even more alarmingly Jen’s friend Courtney Cox is the new face of 50. Bloody Hell! Of course there’s airbrushing, botox, personal training, more botox and more airbrushing involved but still – Bloody Hell.

My middle aged friend.

My middle aged friend.

If Jen and Courtney are not painful enough here’s the new poster girl for 73 – Raquel Welch.

Now that's what I call a cougar!

Now that’s what I call a cougar!

Its making me lose to the will to live. I may as well dunk my head into a tub of Caramello icecream.

Like this one.

Lucky I had this one handy.

At what age will society deem it acceptable for women to “let themselves go”? Some are still trying to cling to youth (with questionable success) into their 80s.

Former sex symbol Kim Novak at the 2014 Oscars.

Former sex symbol Kim Novak at the 2014 Oscars aged 81.

The problem is that for every individual who manages to delay the ravages of time through a combination of good genetics, hard work and quality cosmetic intervention there are dozens who overdo the cosmetic intervention and end up looking as scarily unnatural as a robotic Stepford Wife. It seems that the wealthier strata of society is spawning an army of middle aged fembots with immobile foreheads and frighteningly tight jawlines. I’ve seen the future and I’m terrified.

In the future society will be overrun by Joan Rivers clones.

In the future society will be overrun by Joan Rivers clones.

I realize that I’m enormously privileged to even have this as a concern. I’d wager that the botox vs notox argument is not a hot topic of conversation in the refugee camps of sub-Saharan Africa, the Gaza strip or the Crimean peninsula right now.  Nevertheless a first world issue is still an issue.  As medical science has not yet uncovered an elixir of youth, aging is here to stay. When is Western society going to collectively deal with it let alone celebrate it?

Do you feel there is too much pressure to hold back the years? What is your scary age?




*Anne Bancroft was only 6 years older than her co-star Dustin Hoffman.

35 thoughts on “Scary Age

  1. I struggled with 42, but then, Douglas Adams. Kx

  2. Ugh – I feel the same age, and have what people refer to as the tastes of a 12 year old boy (in movies, music and reading material, not pervy) but when I look in the mirror, I recoil daily…and when I try on clothes I discover what I think looks fabulous on the hanger looks ridiculous on me…that word ‘mutton’ jumps in my mind…

  3. Embrace the growing bit – but like the best of us don’t just grow old, grow old disgracefully. It’s a lot of fun. Ohhh, and get rid of the mirrors. What do they know!

  4. My scary age was the age I started forgetting what my actual age was; in may case it was 36. I spent almost the whole year thinking I was 37, until I realised I wasn’t.

  5. Hell yes! I think I’ve been depressed every birthday since turning 40! And sadly – I’m one who’s still single and childless. What freaks me out is the fact that the ‘it’s okay to be older’ proponents are talking about the likes of Jen et al. Not frumpy old me! #pityparty! 😉

  6. Don’t worry Mumabs, if you can still fit into pants from ten years ago, you’re in great shape. There is no fucking way in hell anything I wore ten years ago would budge past my knees. Yet I continue to shovel in cake, somehow deluded that I still have the metabolism of a 25 year old , despite evidence to the contrary. See above. Botox is not an option for me because a) I’m terrified of needles, and b) I can’t afford it anyway. I’ll continue to dye my hair while it’s still salt and pepper. Once it’s totally white I’m embracing my inner Pru/Tru and going for the silver bob or pixie cut. xo

  7. So I still feel ridiculously young and at 65 I might start to let myself go. Until then I have to try to look respectable – age is just a number and I’ve never been hung up on it. But that could be because I’m not 40 yet! I just want to have my youthful hawt body back. But alas no, I like alcohol and indulgent food too much! Thanks for linking lovely x

  8. I am coming up to 42, and I don’t like to think about it. It is just a number, not one that reflects me at all, except when I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles outlining all my youthful features….dang! It may be time for some animal print…..

  9. As a former work colleague of yours surely once said, you’re only as old as the Margaret Thatcher you feel.

  10. I think next year (38) will be my scary age. I think it’s because I will have cruised the line from mid-30’s into late 30’s territory! But generally I’m not too bothered about it. Give me a decent bra (to hoist the girls into position), some lipstick and glass of bubbly and I’m ready to go forth and conquer!!

  11. Motherhood is proving very much more the gate to eternal damnation. The word spinsterhood is really unhelpful. I’m 29, no probs getting guys, but I feel for the millions of women who are stigmatised by that shit word. Because ppl like you, who others have come to like, throw it around. And if ppl weren’t so busy calling single women spinsters, and writing articles about spinsterhood, and spending money fighting aging, women might have a chance at equality.

    Fairly sensitive on the subject, yes – but that’s because I’ve tried to figure how my business can come to fruition into my 30s and not be one of those Mums that pretends to have it all but never sleeps or gets to smell the roses. And if I make that decision to go without kids – to put my business first and build it like a gigantic structure i can be do proud of – I won’t want ppl calling ne a spinster.

    Wow I really flew off the handle there and burnt a pizza one-finger typing *heartbreak*. But I’ve agonised about this and my neices, and ur daughters, deserve a chance at gender equality that they can’t achieve if they’re stigmatised as ‘spinsters’ if they don’t have babies.

  12. I cannot believe AB was only 36!!! She was gorgeous, but looked 45 at least! (in a good way). I turned 39 last week and I think I’d like to stay looking 30s forever. Loved your funny post I found at Have a Laugh on Me. Cheers!

  13. I keep moving my scary age – I thought it was 40 and then 45 and now, having turned 49 yesterday, I think 50 may be my next scary age – mainly because 50 is half a century – that has to be scary on some level !!!!
    Have the best day !

  14. There is only one scary age!!! 26 was one for me and 25 and well you get the point and now 28 and 30 are scary as hell. I know they are still considered young but well you get this plan in your head of what life will be like by a certain age and it isn’t playing out quite like that. Really age shouldn’t matter so much as long as we are happy. I’m not scared of looking older maybe it would be nice as I haven’t changed that much since I was 12, okay so I don’t look 12 anymore but I didn’t look 12 at 12. I’m happy to avoid the botox (eww needles) and even hair die at this point but who knows how much that will change. I just wish my waist line wouldn’t change, damn cake and chocolate. Geez if I can look like Jen, Courtney or Kim as I age I would be eternally shocked. I really am not that committed to looking great, takes too much work. I’ve better things to do. By the way on your pin you are ageless!!!

  15. 46 is my current scary age (as of last week) and it will move on to 47 and 48 etc (at least I hope it will move on). I’m with you though 44 was particularly scary for me too. I think mostly it was scary because having never given birth (adoption being our path) I had to face facts that the ship had sailed. Now I just have to face sex.

  16. I agree that every birthday after 40 is a little bit scary beforehand, but then I’m surprised by how OK I am with it once it’s happened. It just is what it is. I like all the double digit ones, 33, 44…there must be a bit of Chinese number magic in them.

  17. Is it just me or does Kim Novak look like Mickey Rourke? Gawd… your’re all spring chickens compared to this old bag. My scary age was 40 and it’s all been down hill since then 🙂

  18. I love the idea of being a little old lady, and wearing dodgy floral skirts and eating cake because it’s morning tea time, and I’m too old to count calories.
    If anyone takes that away from me, I will cry.
    I just want cake!!!

  19. My birth certificate says early 30’s; my non-sleeping, parenting-toddlers-face says 44.

  20. I always thought 35 would be my scary age, then it came and went. Now at 50, I still feel 35, so I guess that’s a good thing. As long as I don’t look in the mirror, I’m good 😉

  21. I don’t think I have a scary age. I have always looked forward to getting older. 18 to drink. 20 to mother. 30 so that people would think I’m old enough to mother. 40 will be teenagers and my business. 50 to travel and it can be just my husband and I again and be post menopausal! And goodness knows what’s after that! I am loving ageing. I love my wrinkles. I love that people now see me as old enough, rather than always commenting that I am too young, I sound too wise. I am growing my grey out. I am totally embracing this life and each new moment that it has to offer me.

  22. I don’t believe anything about that photo of Courtney Cox. Jen Aniston on the other hand does have an enviably effortless chic kind of vibe going on. I have 3.5 years to emulate her glowing representation of 45. Not holding out much hope!

  23. 40 was my really scary age, but it was probably the best year I have had since I was 28. I would however gladly give up eating ever again if you could guarantee I would look like Jennifer Aniston. I have had a huge girl crush on her since Friends x

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