Is grizzle and paunch more sexy than long gray locks and a bit of meno-pot?
They are essentially the same thing, are they not?
Laugh lines and double chins for men are in.
But crow’s feet and waddles on women are sins.
What’s sauce for the gander should be good for goose.
Reality though is that men have choice while women still lose.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss, I poetically pondered the dilemma of “women of a certain age” and am forced to conclude that on the issue of aging, we are as disadvantaged as we seem to be at nearly every other mile marker in life.
Men are not put under the same fine tooth microscope that women are when they begin the approach to fifty or sixty. Men are thought distinguished. They have lines of character and wisdom. It is women who get frumpy and dumpy and wizened.
While this may have held true for our grandmothers and maybe even a bit for our own mothers, it is a stereo-type long past its prime. Even women who have sense enough not to buy into the myth of 50 is the new 30 with all the pressures to tuck, camoflage, under-eat and over-exercise are hardly subject to the kinds of conditions that once turned a fifty year old woman into the farmer’s wife in American Gothic.
Though there are those among us whose genetic luck allows them to look far younger than their years, most middle-agers cannot hide the evidence even with a great colorist and personal trainer. Middle-age shows, and what is wrong with that? Beauty should not be so limited.
But what irks me most is that men are allowed to skirt the rules and pass themselves off as superior in an aging game that clearly hasn’t let them off the hook either. And what is worse, they have us believing they are correct in their self-delusion. We berate ourselves for what is normal and heap praise them for weathering the years.
But they aren’t any more or less physically attractive than we are.
Bald is sexy in some eyes but more beautiful than silver streaked locks? Says who? Nor is a little bit of muffin top a sign of anything other than a refusal to admit that one’s caloric intake is exceeding the necessary cardio output. And “character lines”? Wrinkles. They are called wrinkles regardless of one’s gender.
Slowly I am accepting that I am older and destined to get much older, but I refuse to buy into the idea that I am not just as wonderful to behold as my two years older husband is handsome. Our looks are meant to change. They reflect our experience. They tell the world that we are not the same careless young people we were. We have grown, lived and loved. We have balked, hid and been alone. We are not a “certain age”. We are of age. Tempered and hopefully wiser for wear.
This was an original 50 Something Moms piece.