Maybe it’s me, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of guff from pop culture’s most notable hipstersnappers on the subject of girls of a certain age.
For example, on New Girl where the medium age of the characters is infantile, there was a whole plot line around how a 45-year old boss was forcibly retired before age-related health ailments compromised her ability to be a work whore (oops, sorry, horse). And on The Mindy Project, when Mindy is invited on a tropical getaway in January by her new beau, she riffs on the agony of “wearing a skirted bathing suit like a woman who gave up on life!”
For the record, my creaky knees do not keep me from going anywhere, and fast (probably because I wear sensible shoes with orthotic inserts), and my skirted black tankini would make a woman of any age look adorkable and sexy(ish), 12 months a year… especially if the poolside admirers aren’t wearing their prescription glasses.
And not that People magazine is a bastion of youth, but I took particular offense at the line of questioning in the Michelle Obama interview for her 50th birthday. Among the probing and meaningful gems were, “When do you think, ‘I’m getting old?’,” “Do you have a philosophy on plastic surgery, Botox, fillers?” and “Anything you won’t wear anymore? Do you ask, ‘Is this age-appropriate?'”
That Mrs. Obama didn’t crush the interviewer to death with her toned, python-like arms is a testament to her class and wisdom culled from years of dealing with ageist, demeaning questions from the press.
Actually, the whole aging thing is a very interesting process. In my mind’s eye, I feel younger and hipper than ever before, but apparently the whole world is busy sweeping Generation X into the dustbin with the Boomers before us. Still, I can’t help but be grateful that I’ve got a couple of decades distance on today’s foibles of youth.
Here are just a few benefits of being a woman of a certain age:
1) Ladyscaping is a snap: First off, I’m happy to have missed the whole extra-low slung jeans and hairless down there trend that’s been plaguing young women for the last several years. Still, even for us older gals, a full-on ’70s bush is a punch line, too. Thanks to diminishing hormones, I’ve hit the sweet spot of hassle-free ladyscaping — and when in doubt, the aforementioned skirted bikini bottom means even a spontaneous winter dip in the pool is a breeze. No muss, no fuss, and no wax necessary.
2) We’re not held hostage by the latest manscaping trends, either: Just looking at those long, straggly beards that the Williamsburg set favors makes me nauseated. The only benefit I can see in making out with a dude with a big bushy beard would be finding a second dinner in that glorified food catcher.
3) The social media camera rarely turns on us: I don’t know how young ‘uns, especially girls, today grow up without a fully exacerbated looks complex, thanks to the ever-present lens of social media (especially Instagram). Actually, I do know — thanks to copious studies and activist statements like The Public Profile Project, it’s very damaging to feel like you have to look beautiful, sexy, and well-put together every second of your life. I don’t know about you, but I am eternally grateful that my unkept, unhygienic college years in particular are relatively undocumented. And I’m thrilled that the expectation of my current social media feed is reserved to arty pictures of food I make/eat, interesting scenery, and of course, my kids.
4) I’ll never have to know how to make an Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, 120-degree, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte. Ever. And my post-college career doesn’t depend on my Barista skills, either.
5) I can go off the grid, and nobody gives a shit: Kids, on the other hand, have about a zillion apps that force them to check in, and if they miss a text, tweet, or other IM, their phones go off like psychotic, unstoppable alarm clocks. Also their parents track them on a variety of GPS-based apps like Find My Friends. Not that I’ve ever done that.
6) My parties are way better than the young’un’s: Despite an abundance of complicated designer drugs and artisanal drinks that the young ‘n hip seem to always have around, I just can’t get it up for hanging with a crowd of people locked in their own universes with faces lit by tiny, individual, glowing screens. At my parties, people actually talk to each other because being at a party is an excuse to put our phones away; the booze is simple; and the drug of choice is medicinal marijuana… which my friends have legit prescriptions for. Or not, but at least it is plausible as we soldier on into the glaucoma years. (For more on why GenX parties are better, you gotta check out this funny ass blog from OC Weekly.)
7) Hooking up is an arms-length away: Simply put, I can have sex with my husband whenever I want. And I don’t have to put on makeup, choose a cute outfit, or spend hours talking to losers at a bar, contemplating the wide-range of ambiguous sexual choices afforded in the modern day. No early morning walk of shame, either. (I will, however, leave how often the hooking up happens to your fertile imagination. Now that reproduction is off the table, I do admit the urgency is diminished and sexy time can be pushed aside by say, a Netflix binge or even just garden variety sleepiness.)
While these are just a few plum reasons the old school rules, the cherry on top of aging is that ultimately, you just don’t give a shit what other people think anymore. Not in a nasty, I‘m gonna go do some crimes kinda way, but in a healthy, holy shit, this is what self-esteem feels like kinda way.
So if you see me rocking a skirted tankini, just know I haven’t given up on life at all. Life’s finally my bitch, and that is the best part of reaching a certain age.
Now enjoy this clip from “Old School” that sums up life at a certain age: