Earlier I wrote about 'place' because it's on my mind but not simply as a piece of land. At nearly 62 years old, I find myself in the unexpected situation of being uncertain about my place or purpose in life. What the heck went wrong? Is this not supposed to be the age of passive reflection, sitting back enjoying the fruits of your labors, grandchildren on your plump lap, mellowing out into the end years while you play bingo? Has the world changed or was that never how aging was?
When I reached official old
, which I am not sure where that begins but sometime after 60 probably, I felt like a person who got there
and found out there
had moved. I am by pretty near any definition old. Heck, I could apply for Social Security this year which must mean at the least my government defines me as old. I have seen some newspaper articles where it refers to the elderly woman being attacked and find out she's only 64. That's elderly? If so, what is left waiting when I get to 80? Do we have a word for elderly elderly? I won't argue about being old though. After all, I can get into some movies at the matinee price, eat at a few restaurants on the senior menu, and even get a pass to the national parks that lets me in for the rest of my life for $10. But if this is old, it's not what I expected.
I had a male friend who said (much to his later chagrin although he has never admitted he was wrong) that no woman was sexy over 50 (a mark I long ago passed). Perhaps sexiness equates to fertility and although it's not impossible for fifty something women to have children, it's rare. I think though he was referring purely to looks. If you can't look sexy, you definitely must be old-- and that would have been starting at 50. Now he was not saying beautiful was impossible, but just that juicy, make a man want to bed her
, sexy look.
So now the fact that one man might no longer see me as sexy, doesn't mean I couldn't be; but it means I am not seen as being-- by at least him and he's not alone in his thinking or why would guys want porn magazines filled with 20 somethings (or younger) and why would actresses over 40 have a hard time getting starring roles as anything other than moms? Does that matter? In a word-- yes!
In the realm of justifying that I really don't care-- when I do-- I can tell myself that however others see me, I can still experience all of those young juicy feelings when I write fiction or do a sculpture or painting but what about me? Am I ready to give up being
sexy? Not that this is totally my choice as age has a few dictates we can't ignore no matter how much we want to.
Some women have plastic surgery in an attempt to hang onto sexiness but it doesn't
work. They can have plastic Barbie doll faces and mouths that pout way out when they never did in their youth, they can find it impossible to smile or frown, but can they look sexy doing that? Nope. Sexiness is the opposite of plastic. Sexiness is moving and alive, filled with passion. Plastic is not.
Another question comes to mind-- is it even appropriate for a sixty something to want to be 'sexy'? Is there something... well unamerican in that? It's certainly true that we can look ridicuous when we try to be something that goes against our age. So the mini-skirted grandma with a smooth face, wrinkled neck and hands seems more to be pitied than admired. I think maybe sexiness when we are old has to have a new way to be described, and it is not trying to duplicate a 20-something.
But, yes, I admit it. I still want a man to look at me now and then and be wishing he could bed me, not wondering if I need help getting across the street. I guess it's all about finding new ways to define myself that stay true to where I am living, not kid myself as to who I am and what cycle of life this is; but it is also accepting my grandma's way of being old is not going to be mine.