Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hot at 63? I'll take lukewarm.

What would I do without the Globe & Mail to feed me so many of my blog ideas? This morning's blog food comes from Judith Timson's column (I read her faithfully). Her blog (er, column) today addressed a subject near and dear to my heart these days - women aging in a youth-obsessed society. She had been to the Tarragon Theatre to see Body & Soul, "a provocative play about the second act of womanhood" by playwright Judith Thompson. Essentially the play is about 12 "real" women and their varied life experiences told in an interweaving monologue. It talks to the reality of being older than 45 in this world of ours. I have not seen the play, but after reading her take on it, I think I'll grab a couple of my 45 plus friends and check it out. Sounds a bit like the continuing saga of the "Vagina Monologues" that I saw a few years back, only more poignant and less focused on any one body part. Timson referred to a recent photo that is making the rounds in the tabloids of Helen Mirren in a red bikini looking incredibly "hot" at 63. She eventually concludes that although looks may be important (at any age), the thing that makes women both "powerful and sexy" is her past and what she has learned from it. Although I would concur with that sentiment, it's not an easy road to that state of self-acceptance. I have one friend who once told me she "felt invisible". The mother of two beautiful daughters, she had come to the realization that she could no longer count on her own beauty to attract male attention (or any attention for that matter). She said she really noticed it whenever she was out with her daughters and she may as well not even be there. I think it is surely more difficult for women who were particularly beautiful in their youth to accept the shift from "visible to invisible". Another friend had a "cougar" experience much like the one I had in New York a couple of years ago. She had attended her high school reunion and one of her old classmates said she looked like a cougar. She was not so familiar with the term (not sure where she has been), but regardless, being referred to as a "cougar" is actually now considered (by some, myself included) a compliment; not the insult it was originally meant to be. God, at this age, we'll take anything we can get. As long as the "cougar" moniker is only applied as the result of one's looks, and not toward any action one may have taken, if you know what I mean. So, let's say you still look fairly put together and the gene pool has been kind to you, to the point you may look a few years younger than you really are, and all that helps with the transitioning to mid-life. What's next? No matter how many Pilate's classes and rounds of botox, the next stage is just looming out there, sneaking up daily waiting to pounce. You better be ready ladies, there's no where to hide. Even if you had Joan River's surgeon on your speed dial, the clock is ticking and life is short. Too short to worry so much about why you don't look "hot" in a bikini at 63. That's why I loved the final paragraph in Timson's piece about the play. Apparently, one of the characters sums up her thoughts on aging, saying that one of the real advantages to growing older goes something like this: "I used to care what people say. Now I don't give a shit!" Amen to that, sista!

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