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10:50 a.m. - 2011-08-10
Game Changer.

The yard kid was supposed to come day before yesterday but canceled at the last minute and offered to come yesterday instead. When I got the call I was ticked. I'd just spent the morning being decently clothed and groomed for nothing. Something, btw, which is trickier than you think. Call me paranoid but it's tough to figure out how to dress when a 19 year old is coming over and your husband's not home. It's convoluted but the one thing I didn't want was him thinking I believed he thinks I'm all that. Got it? No? I'll explain.

I'm 48. I'm overweight. I am probably older than the yard kid's mother. I sometimes have trouble believing my 52 year old husband wants my baggy bod- forget thinking anyone else would want it. Nothing here for the yard kid to go all Mrs Robinson about. I know this, but it's more important that HE knows I know this. I'm afraid of the yard kid somehow getting the idea that I'm self-deluded enough to think he'd be on me like a rash if I gave him the go-ahead. I want it absolutely clear this is one old lady who isn't at all interested in getting a rise out of the kid with the lawn mower and he's safe from any awkward predatory moves from me. To that end I've always called him 'Child' or 'Young Man' and have cultivated a 'nice grandma' attitude. This includes my clothes. My bum-around-the-house summer clothing tends to be on the scanty side but when he's here out come the bloomers and one of Mick's ginormous t-shirts.

I know it sounds ridiculous but the self-deluded horny old bag trope haunts me a little. In her most recent entry Stepfie was talking about this too. The horror of becoming a joke. An older woman who still dresses like she's 25 and HAWT!!!, when in reality she's laughable and sad.

Can you be of a certain age and still be smokin'? Sure. But not if you undermine it by dressing like a pole dancer.

And if you're like Stepfie and me, women who've been showstoppers since jr high, rather loud in our babe-i-tude, how the heck do we switch things up so we still recognize ourselves yet avoid becoming caricatures?

And what to do with the surprised resentment when the world (and our physical appearance) decrees us 'over' when inside we don't feel 'over' at all?

That's a tough one. Really tough.

I think I'm mostly past my mourning for the babe who used to be me. Making peace with this new stage and the knowledge ain't nobody looking no more. I'm finding I'm okay without that kind of validation. I've stopped checking on who's checking me out. Truly don't care. As long as Mick still pinches my fanny and calls me 'Beautiful' I'm good.

The question remains though, if I'm not my former self who was smart and disarming but above all sexy, then who do I want to be? Which parts of myself do I wear in public now? I have to navigate in a whole new way too. When I was a babe I knew how it went, what the rules were and most importantly where the boundaries were. I knew how far my expectations of notice and deferential treatment should go. LA the Babe could go swashing into the deli and expect to go to the head of the line. LA the ? cannot. LA the Babe never paid a cover and always drank for free. LA the ? gets weird looks for even saying I'd like to go clubbing.

I've not been pulled over in a long, long time but I'm pretty sure if I were I'd get a ticket.

Though I kvetch about losing the perks that come with being a young woman I am discovering some cool stuff about being an older one.

First and foremost is the freedom to be myself. What a relief to just relax already! I'm not contradicting myself from above. Sure, I am concerned at times about being seen as a grabber granny, no one is ever totally free of the onus of fearing mockery and being misunderstood, but mostly I bop along doing exactly as I please. Something I did all along, never could get that 'normal' thing right. But I also allowed others' opinions to hurt and shame me. I accepted their gibes and nastiness as the price of not being 'regular' enough to please. I handed my power over to anyone with a mouthful of bile and an axe to grind. Spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy trying to wring approval from those who hated me most. But there's no pleasing the unpleasable. Never. If somebody has a bug up their ass about the way I live and love then no amount of tap dancing and erasing the 'unacceptable' bits of me is going to help. My misfortune was to want to be liked by everyone. Silly. Colossal waste of time. The only one who needs to like me is me.

An offshoot of this new freedom is giving myself permission to try stuff. I even do things I'm bad at. A whole new world opens up when you allow yourself the luxury of screwing up. People pleasers are risk averse. I held myself back from a lot of things because 'they' might not like it. Especially men. Oooo, the world would end if a man didn't like something I did!

Right.

But hey, once men (in general, not every man obviously), but once men decide they don't want to fuck you anymore the need to keep them happy goes right out the window. I don't nod and smile anymore if some dude is running his mouth about something he knows jack shit about, if it matters enough to me I'll set him straight. If not then I walk away. He can go be an obnoxious blowhole to someone who gives a crap. But in either case I don't worry if Mr Man thinks I'm a bitch.

A 'bitch' by that definition, btw, just means a woman with enough sense of self not to be shit on by every and any gasbag with a penis.

Though at first it felt like I was being forced to discard the flagrant spoor of my sexual self because the idea of an older woman with a pussy was a disgusting joke, I'm finding I don't want or need to shake my tail feathers anymore. It's a lot of work to keep whittling and exfoliating and starving and primping myself to maintain the agreed upon standard of fuckability. Nuh uh. Nope. Especially when it means keeping my breasts high and my mouth shut. Trading off my hard won experience and wisdom and physical comfort just so I can come across as dim-witted and flat-bellied enough to get laid?

I don't think so.

Sure I was lost for a while when first cut loose and set adrift in the sea of 'used to be me'. What do I do now? Which way do I go? Then it dawned on me I can go anywhere I want. Why keep fighting tide and time to get back to a place that doesn't want me as I am? Dopey. Completely dumb. So I picked up my paddle and set off to see what else was out there. And look what was waiting! In giving up my quest for the fountain of youth and universal approval I found something far, far more valuable… I found me.


Chins up, girlfriends, the game ain't over, not by a long shot. It's our turn at bat and we play by our own rules now. ~LA

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