I got an email recently, or rather I was cc’d on an email recently saying how I was in my mid fifties, but that I was pretty awesome. Mid 50s?
As my friend would say “Shut the front door!“
When did I go from always being told I looked younger (way younger) than I actually was to looking like a generation ahead of me? When did this occur?
Better yet: why did it occur?
Am I insulted? Admittedly so. It’s not the first time this has happened with this person. Last time I told her “Whoa there Nelly, I’m not 50 yet!” She insisted it was an age she’d heard from someone else. You’d think she’d remember and have the delicate touch to not add even more digits on her guesstimate.
Why am I so age obsessed? Growing up, I’d always answer “Anything that’ll make me look my age” when asked the age-old question “How do you want your hair cut today?” Throughout my twenties people assumed I was in my teens. Through my thirties, most still assumed I was in my teens. When I first started dating Leonard at the age of 37, his friends’ wives ignored me thinking I was another 20-year old.
Like his ex.
Colleagues assumed it was my choice of clothing, so I’d show up to the office wearing “power suits” and designer dresses. Then the conclusion on their lips was “lost cause.” I’d forever be a woman-child. A She-Peter Pan or a Penelope Pan of sorts. I know the one who labelled me that meant it as an insult, I think, but to me – oh what a compliment! I told him my
insult forever-young character of choice was Pippi Lonstocking. I mean… there are the socks to consider!
I blame my sudden coming of age on the years of living on a boat. And spending many hours outside. In the sun. And its reflection on the water. Without sunscreen. I may not be as bad as THAT woman in Something About Mary… but still: mid fifties?
Mid fucking fifties?
“Beware of what you wish for” you may be thinking. Shut up. Just shush your dirty mouth! My wish was to look my age and be treated as such. When you’re in your thirties, and assumed to be in your teens, you never get the respect a professional woman deserves or has earned. Then again, every time I spoke at a conference I’d get a standing ovation. Of course I did, I was so eloquent and well spoken for an 18-year old. They thought. Had I told them I was thirty-something my level of smooth eloquence would have dropped like spit at a race track.
Which makes me wonder, why do men spit so much at a race track? Because, trust me, they do. And which also makes me wonder, what ever happened to the cast of Thirtysomething? Do you remember that show? I think they even coined the expression “dramacom” on that show. Up until then all we had were sitcoms (situational comedy) and then came the dramatic comedy Thirtysomething. That was a new standard in tv programming.
But I digress.
I don’t like looking older. I don’t care for it whatsoever. Not too long ago, at roller derby, I’ve had a friend, a junior, report to me that so-and-so said I was an old lady. That broke my heart. First of all, I didn’t need to hear that, but this junior in question had my best interest at heart and was watching over me. What broke my heart was the impression I’d left on this so-and-so. What had I done to be labelled as an old lady? Because I did ask for deets, “Did she mean old, as in the fact that I am old to her? Or old-old, like what-the-hell-is-she-doing-trying-to-play-roller-derby old?” She said the 2nd one. The one I didn’t want to hear, but needed to.
I never did find out what I’d done to deserve that shaming title. Maybe nothing. Maybe just the look of my overly sun-kissed face from the waves and reflections and those four years of living on a boat and spending hours and hours on the water! Shoot. That I can live with. Nothing beats paddling for miles and miles on the open ocean. I’m not taking those fun years of experience back.
And I do have greys. Right smack in my bangs. The first thing you see is that streak of shining silver flicks of hair. I refuse to wash those greys away!
So take that. We know what became of Amazing Amy, but we never did find out what happened to Pippi as she got older. Look no further, I think I may have the answer to that question!