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.
By contrast in 2014 Jennifer Aniston is the face of 45.
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.
If Jen and Courtney are not painful enough here’s the new poster girl for 73 – Raquel Welch.
Its making me lose to the will to live. I may as well dunk my head into a tub of Caramello icecream.
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.
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.
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.