I am 35 years old.
Oh, shut up! I know I’m not 35 – let me explain!!
I seem to have frozen in time at that age. I have not advanced one second past that age. I would say I will die at the age of 35 even though most people will argue that I will be more like 95 (and a HUGE pain in everyone’s ass).
I felt my best at that age and decided I’d hang out there indefinitely. At 35, I was in good physical shape, blazing trails in a successful career, had disposable income and was under the misguided impression that I was in control of my destiny.
I was not too young, nor was I considered old. I was in my sweet spot.
But, my body clearly did not get that memo.
So, this being the case, I feel I’ve become somewhat bi-polar with my insides and my outsides not matching up. I have a good angel/bad angel on each shoulder giving me opposing views.
Sitting on one shoulder sits the woman who will stop at nothing to remain young and beautiful. Let’s call her Carrot Top.
I know!!! I totally look like a woman!!
On my other sloping shoulder sits the gnarled and bent figure of the aged and self-possessed woman. We will call her Kathy Bates.
Yep, I’m naked and I’m OK with that, goddamnit! Get over it!
It doesn’t help that I live in the land of happy, shiny, perky breasts. The buying public, and no matter what my Visa statement says, it does NOT include me, has set the standard for what beauty is all about. The buying public is named Stassi, Shauna, Brandeeeee or some other made-up name.
Do I, like, have something in my teeth?
So, back to Carrot Top and Kathy. Let’s start with Carrot. He sits there with his plump lips, surprising eyebrows and permanent eyeliner. He is telling me that all I need to do is a lift here (to help those falling butt cheeks), a tuck there (to shore up the jowls that make me look a little more like Nixon every year), a tweeze (because what is it that makes you turn into the Fly after 35?), and a few good shots of some unnatural material to plump you up in just the right spots.
All this for the special package cost of your soul.
But there is Kathy sitting there, a little stooped and a bit androgynous in her look. She wears no makeup or adornments because, well, what the hell’s the point?
She whispers into my ear in a raspy voice “We’ve worked at this beauty thing for decades. We’ve bought every lip plumper, push up bra, gut-sucking underwear, and spent the national debt on anti-aging everything like good little soldier.
Aren’t you just weary of all that work and wasted energy? You could have written several novels, found a cure for the common cold AND found Bin Laden way earlier with the time and brainpower put toward “beauty”….which is a subjective word, by the way.”
(We will pause here while Shauna looks up the word “subjective.”)
So I ask, is there a happy middle ground? Aren’t we supposed to learn moderation as we get older (along with where interest rates are and how our 401K is performing)? Can we learn to love ourselves enough to allow our bodies to age gracefully, as intended?
I see you getting all indignant, shaking your fist at the sky and bellowing “But it’s not us, its MEN who make us this way! It’s MEN who expect perfection!” This may well be at least part of the problem. I don’t know of any men who hang posters of Madeleine Albright in their rooms because she has a really big brain.
And, yes, most men would take a killer rack over a sagging one any day of the week. Who wouldn’t?
I know we’d like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures, but the bottom line is, we’ve been doing this little dance since we crawled out of the primordial slime. The vision of a healthy, big-breasted cave woman with childbearing hips sent all the knuckle draggers into a frenzy…just like today.
Oh, our foreheads have come in a bit (except for James VanDerBeek), we’ve discovered bathing (except for Joaquin Phoenix), and now we can talk (often, this is NOT a good thing), but those pesky little DNA strands are still calling the shots.
Don’t you give me the stink-eye young man, you get in that shower NOW!
Women still want to look attractive to men and men still want them to look attractive.
So, do we go against our very nature? Do we thumb out nose at our chemical make up? Why are you asking me? I have no freakin’ idea!
But, it would be nice to think that our intellect would have exceeded this need by now. It does seem like we should know better and would be able to hold other deeper traits in higher regard.
So, it may seem obvious that the Kathy Bates has won the fight. She has triumphed over shallowness and has driven her point down our turkey-like throats. We will be happy with who we are. We will find healthy, graceful, and proud examples to follow. We will love ourselves, cellulite and all.
And, only the evolved, forward-thinking men will be allowed in our sacred presence.
Only the men who, themselves have reached that inner peace. You know, the ones with the “love handles” because somehow that makes fat cute. The ones with arms that jiggle like your grandmother’s…
Gotta go now, Carrot Top is driving me to my Liposuction appointment.