Posted Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at 1:48 PM
I modeled in the early 1980s. I don't think I fully grasped how I looked, but I did use it to get into private clubs or get help: It was easy. I never brought much money because I would get free drinks all night. I even had a guy buy my dinner at a nice restaurant, and I had a date with someone else! I was so embarrassed, needless to say.
Now that I've been through a very stressful but successful career, and multiple short marriages, I did get my blessing at 43 with my son. I love being wiser, but I do miss the days of a flawless complexion, endless flirting from strangers, and a thick mane of hair. What I DON'T miss is the automatic assumption that I wasn't smart because I was attractive.
I even put on 40 pounds from stress, and an amazing thing happened besides my ass being the size of a barn. All the men I was doing my marketing pitch to all of a sudden quit staring at my boobs and looking at me with lustful daydreams.
They actually listened to me, respected, and agreed with my presentation! How sad that I couldn't be as attractive and get that same respect! But now that I'm in my mid-50s, I know I'll never look like that again and it's OK. At least I can see B.S. coming a mile away, and now I mentor lots of young folks on how to make it in their careers. So that feels really good.
I don't miss all the women at a new job instantly hating me and having to go overboard to show them I'm just a caring good friend. I have many great friends, but in my younger days I had to prove my sincerity and compassion so they could get past it. I don't miss being hit on in the elevators at the corporations I worked for. That was terribly confusing and uncomfortable. So with my little tale of beauty woes, it is not easy being that pretty, especially when you're as insecure as the next person. But I used my brains to work past it, and in the early days, my looks got me in the door, then my natural sales ability sold them my ideas. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
Answer by Cyndi Perlman Fink, retired:
I'm not sure about the "hot," but I can speak with authority to the 'old." This is what you know. You know about the wrinkles and crinkles. You can see that in other people and pretend you don't see it in yourself, at least for many years. You know about the sags and bags. Empirical evidence. Mirrors and shiny windows everywhere, but you learn not to look too closely. So far so good. Beating the game here. Feeling good. Feeling young still.
You know about the aches and pains. Ibuprofen becomes your best friend. Still good 40s, great. 50s, bring it on! 60s, not so fast...
1. You walk by that shiny window and you say, "Mom, what are you doing here?" and it's you! Talk about shock and awe!
2. In your 50s, you realize that you have become invisible to men. Invisible! Maybe that happened in your late 40s, but you couldn't even begin to accept it then. In your 50s, you don't have a choice. It's real. It's never coming back. First, younger men, gone. Then, middle-aged men, gone. When the day comes that the only men looking at you are older than your father, sad.
3. In your late 50s and early 60s, you become invisible to women. Who knew? I never even thought about this. You're walking in the mall, and you get run over by women who don't even notice that you exist. Sadder. And not just young women, all women.
4. True story. I was at Kohl's several years ago, and I had on makeup and cute jeans and a new haircut, and I thought I looked really cute. Boots. For my age, hot. Older hot, but hot. The "girl" behind the register rang up my purchase and said, "I've included your senior discount." I looked around. Who the hell was she talking to? She didn't ask to see my ID, and I knew to get the senior discount you had to be at least 60. I said, "That's nice" and went into the ladies room. I looked at my receipt. I got 15 percent off. I said, That's nice!" I wasn't invisible at Kohl's. Now I shop there a lot.
5. Picking up steam and heading towards 70, you become marginalized. The person at the grocery store who rings you up and bags your groceries at the same time leaves the bags at the end of line for you to put in the cart. The cute young thing ahead of you, bags in the cart, smiles, have a nice day, come back soon, puh-leeze.
6. God forbid you hold up a line getting out change or dropping something or asking a question at Costco. And horror of horrors if you can't find your membership card or worse, it has to be renewed! The people behind you start thumping their fingers. tapping their toes, and rolling their eyes. But you can't hear or see as well as you used to, so all that thumping, rolling, and tapping goes unnoticed. But if a hot hard body goes through the same routine, well, all smiles and who cares how long it takes. The scenery is so lovely.
But we get our revenge. We drive real slowly in the fast lane because we know it pisses off all you young people who are in such a hurry to get where? Where I am right now! Old.
I'm kidding about that. I drive like a maniac. Why I don't get a lot of speeding tickets is a miracle. I think it's one of perks of being old. I don't fit the profile, and I am off the road at night. It's not apocryphal, your night vision really goes. Sad.
Joke: One old man to another.
I hear you married. Is she pretty?
Is the sex good?
Does she have a lot of money?
Why did you marry her?
She can still drive at night!
You have to be old to appreciate how important that is...
In all seriousness, and perhaps from the above, you can tell that I am not a very serious person because you have to laugh about getting older or you could cry all the time, but it's not that bad. You miss the stares. You do feel invisible. You do feel marginalized, but you're there with all your friends and family. It sounds bad but this is the greatest ride of my life. I wouldn't change a thing.
This is one of my favorite quotes:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming 'WOO HOO what a ride!'"
-Hunter S. Thompson
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