middle-aged women

Found this via Jezebel and had to share.

My husband sometimes comments on how young I look when I have my hair up in a ponytail. It’s difficult for me to pull off “young” anymore, but I don’t have that turkey neck thing going on yet so pulling the hair up and back isn’t like tattooing my age on my waddle.

I wasn’t aware that ponytails were an IQ measure. It’s a matter of practicality really when cooking or working out especially with the wild curl and thick mane I have. When my hair is straightened, it’s a bit easier to leave hanging but in it’s natural state, it impedes vision, tangles and gets in everything.

Ask my husband.

I get regular updates on the proliferation of hairballs in sink and tub drains, and the last time he emptied the house vac cannister, he expressed incredulity about my continued lack of baldness.

“Several people would have more than adequate scalp coverage with what I found today,” he informed me. “I still can’t figure out why you’re not bald. I find hair everywhere and daily and you still have more on your head.”

It is a wonder.

Or not, I am a daughter of Zeus after all.


Blond long-haired young lady woman watching th...

Image by mikebaird via Flickr

Dee insisted on having her long hair cut to shoulder length just before the start of the current school year. I quizzed her extensively right up until the stylists began shearing because Dee’s hair has always been long and I wanted no teary trauma in the aftermath.

But she has been quite chipper and pleased with her shorter do. I don’t see her growing it out again and in her dream world, it would be shorter. She balks at pixies only because her curl would never succumb and she isn’t a fan of fussing with her tresses.

I admit to toying with the idea of cutting my hair as I watch my daughter delight in her new look. Aside from the curl, our hair is not of similar texture or thickness. My locks are dense, coarse and the only way I could go short without adding fuss time to my daily routine would be to have myself sheered like a sheep.

And then there’s the whole aversion to short hair thing I have.

Part of it stems from my parents’ stubborn insistence that I have short hair as I was growing up.  It was a curly tangle that I resisted allowing anyone to comb when I was quite small which accounted for some of their stance, but it was also a way to deal with the fact that I was not as feminine as they hoped I would be.  If I would not be a proper girl, then perhaps I should look more masculine.

I talked them into letting me grow out my hair when I was in fifth grade.  It made it to my shoulder before my father ordered my mother to take me to the beauty shop and have it hacked back to my ears.

I liked it long. He didn’t. The battle was on until I simply declared my independence as a junior in high school and let it grow out. I didn’t do more than a cursory trim and thin for the next ten years. In college, it hung to the middle of my back. As it was the most feminine thing about me, I treasured it. And as it attracted the most attention from men, I wore it down as often as I could.  For a girl who’d never aroused much male interest, I saw my long hair as a plus.  It enabled me to shake labels like “tomboy”.  A notion that I still regard as an attempt to force me to be someone other than who I was.

When I hit my early thirties, the questions about when I would finally go back to short hair for good began.

I watched as some of my peers cut their hair off, prompted by birthdays or babies. And I noted that in the press there was an obsession with fashion gurus and their opinions that long hair and old women didn’t mix.

There’s lot of bunk about hair changing as we age and that it simply looks ratty on older women. A lot of that though is damage to hair caused by the shampoos, dying, heat from blow dryers and curling irons and other artificial things we do in the name of shaping and styling.  Hair, like skin, changes but probably not as drastically as the movers and shakers in fashion would like us to believe.

Long hair as seen as a desperate attempt by older women to retain youth.


I see more desperation in boob jobs, Botox and extreme dieting, but oddly that is largely ignored or worse, is seen as a rational response.

Long hair is an act of rebellion. Women have their life stages, right? Maiden, Mother and Crone. We should go gently shorn into that good cronehood. I question the “crone” stage. I am betting that it’s a male term plastered over a much more realistic female one.

My hair began in rebellion but it remains because it just works better for me.

Whether women can go short is more about hair texture, face and skull shape and neckline/length. The same applies for adding inches.

And then there is personal style, temperament and image.

Many other intangibles as well.

So I bristle at the “old” thing. My hair length, like my laugh lines and the sag of my breasts are all mine to embrace or reject or remold.  Not society’s and certainly not some fashionista’s from the world of Make Believe where women are deemed obese beyond a size four. What would someone who doesn’t deal in reality know about real women anyway, I ask you.

Someday, when I am quite old, I may shave my head completely. Just to make people wonder why and to get a good look at my head – which really hasn’t been seen since I was about two and a half. But until then, I will maintain length.


Drinking and/or working.

Image by parislemon via Flickr


Do you recall the cutesy coy Breast Cancer Awareness meme that swept Facebook last October during the annual “save the boobies” month that the Pink People Awareness brigade foist on us year after year?

The idea was that only women (‘cuz we have 3D breasts is my understanding and men don’t) would know the meaning of the mysterious status updates that ran along the lines of “mine is polka-dotted and lacy” or “I have a sea-foam green one”.

Though the women who participated were referring to the colors of their bras, the updates were meant to titillate and confuse men. Because that’s what women do best, right and why God bothered to create us (as an afterthought, I might add) in the first place.

I didn’t participate for two reasons. The first is that I don’t wear a bra. I didn’t burn it or anything, and it’s got nothing to do with any of my feminist tendencies. I just don’t like them. The other reason is that it was stupid.

Why does breast cancer awareness have to be titillating (well aware of the pun – move along)? Or pink-tinged? Or based in lament about the loss of diseased flesh that happens to fit inside the totally male invention of the bra?

And while I am here, why are my breasts more important than my lungs or my ovaries or my colon?

I ranted a bit about it at the time. Was dismissed as an old lady feminist killjoy and moved on … to this year when I received this message:

Really? This is the path to female domination of the world? Facebook meme’s that are the social media equivalent of those grade school “girls’ only” clubs we once thought would secure us a little control in a boys’ only world?

Power and influence. Dare to dream.

Maybe someone will blog it for the Huff’po and it will become a trending topic in the Twitsphere. If that happens then Jon Stewart is sure to make snide comments about it in his opening and Fox news will toss it to those morons on their morning show, which means that the ladies on The View will have to cackle over it for a few minutes, pondering the social influence and reach of women today.

Because as we all know conquering web space is … exactly nothing.

Will it give us parity in Congress? Abolish the double standard? Free us from the tyranny of photo-shopped female images or frozen foreheads?

I think not. Though I could be wrong even as I doubt that highly.

The reason this type of schoolgirl nonsense isn’t power is best illustrated by the fact that men don’t similarly engage in fluffy social media attention-drawing antics – unless they are Ashton Kutcher.

Would men pass around a super double-secret FB message instructing each other to leave a cryptic status update?

Hey Guyfriends! We’re going to play a girls’ not allowed status update meme where we name our favorite place to ogle women (or men if you orient that way). Just update your status with something like: I only do it at the grocery store. And don’t add anything more.  It will drive those out of the loop (the loop being men and really, does anyone else truly need to be “in the loop”?) crazy. Most importantly – don’t tell. We’ll wait until the MSM picks up on this and then only our most important members of the brotherhood (not you Ashton Kutcher!) can stand spokesmen for us all.

This is a way to demonstrate what a force to be acknowledged even more than the force we are. So get that update active!

And then it would sweep the Internet until President Obama updated with “I only do it in The White House” and Glenn Beck – who only does it in the sanctity of his own married bed – outs the meme by wondering which intern Obama was referring to and then it’s a blue dress hunt circa 1997 all over again.

If women wanted to flex a rusty muscle, why don’t they simply stop shopping for a week? Or even a day.  Say the day after Thanksgiving. They could just stay home.

Or they could declare October to be a ladies’ holiday.  No work.  No parenting.   No transporting, laundry or sex*.  Every day we’d met up for coffee and head off to free yoga classes before having dinner out with friends and coming home to nestle in our snuggies and watch whatever reality horror is masquerading as television.

Maybe we should refuse to vote for male candidates. We will only vote for the woman on the ballot and if there isn’t one, we’ll write one in.

That’s power.

But instead, we’re going to “tease” men with not so vague sexual innuendo, give ourselves a collective pat (on the head) and call ourselves “clever”.

The women of Stepford couldn’t have been trained any better than we are.

*The sex strike thing is an old idea that dates back to a play from Ancient Greece called the Lysistrata. In it, women stage a martial bed boycott to try and force their husbands to give up on a war they have been waging. Though they initially stand together and nearly succeed, in the end, one of them breaks ranks and the rest soon follow and the men go back to being “men”. It’s interesting in that the men at first don’t take the women seriously and believe that they will give up their strike because – being women – they aren’t single-minded and focused enough and that they ultimately can’t put aside their individual wants for the good of the group – which proves to be true.

How Yoga Teachers Hang Out

Image by sarahfelicity via Flickr

I resigned from my teaching position of twenty years in the spring of 2007. At the time, I had vague notions of rolling over my teaching certificate and working as a classroom teacher in Alberta. I still think about the license – need to get on that really – but the idea of teaching high school again doesn’t warm my insides.

So I semi-officially retired from teaching. I still read about the horror known as “reform” down in the states and I write about it (none too flatteringly which would make it hard to secure a teaching position down there again, methinks), but I don’t harbor any notions of returning.

When I left the building, I didn’t look back.

Okay, I still love office supplies, but that aside, I don’t miss the job of it. And it was a job. A thankless and mostly mind-numbing job as the years ground on.

I blogged. I wife’d the house, mothered the child and poured myself into myself and my husband. And life was very good.

But somewhere along the line, yoga arrived and then the urge to teach it followed, and now I am not exactly retired anymore. In fact, I am working – more and more.

What started with filling in at the studio here and there became an employment opportunity when I was offered one then two and now three classes of my own. Quickly on the heels of this came an offer to teach two nights a week at the community hall across the street. Add to this the fact that I’d already agreed to take every third Friday teaching a class for figure skaters in the next town over.

Between this and the Care2 gig – I am working again.

Not that I could pay the mortgage – which isn’t an issue because we don’t have one anyway – but it’s an exchange of skills for money. I haven’t done this in a while and it’s … interesting.

I had to shop. My yoga attire is not exactly Lululemon. I gave her up a while ago because the pants are too low-cut and the fabric doesn’t breathe enough for my comfort level. I am a capri’s and leggings type with long t’s and sweaters. Layers is the middle-aged woman’s best friend.

I have a lesson book. I write out sequence plans. It’s like the old days only everyone who shows up wants to be there and pays attention.

Not that many are showing up. It’s not my studio. People who come expect Jade. And why not? She’s good. So my classes have a couple of folks here and there. It’s a bit disappointing in the first few minutes but once I start to teach, I lose myself in the instruction and forget about the numbers.

The community hall class will be bigger. Nine registered officially and a few more who’ve verbally committed. Perhaps I can lure a few into the studio? It’s a goal; I won’t deny it.

Someday I will have a studio. Somewhere. I don’t think it will be soon or here, but the future – as Yoda pointed out to Luke – is a difficult thing to pin down for prediction purposes.

For now, I am a working girl again. That’s all I need to know.

What if what I am supposed to be doing is exactly what I am doing?

I ask only because I read a blog entry of a friend who is searching for her direction in life. Or redirection. We can never assume, after all, that where we are, what we are doing or who we surround ourselves with is permanent.

Life is about change – at its core – not about permanence.

I was a teacher for twenty years. When I left, I can count on one hand the number of minutes it took for someone to ask,

“So what are you going to do now?”

As if emigrating to Canada, remarrying and focusing on my writing/blogging in addition to giving the stay at home mom thing a full-time go for the first time in the five years I’d been a mother wasn’t enough.

What are you going to do with your life?

So that it’s meaningful – in the eyes of the world – is the question behind that question.

But what if, maybe, I am doing what I am meant to do?

Given that nothing is permanent, and I can reasonably expect the circumstances of my life to change over the course of time, why couldn’t what I am doing … right now … be what I am meant to do? Right now.

And isn’t that enough?

Writing for blogs, studying yoga with an eye towards teaching a few classes – maybe having a studio one day – isn’t nothing. Though I recognize that like “having it all” or “having enough” it is an eye of the beholder thing.

Does anyone’s eye matter but mine in the assessment of what makes my life meaningful or gauging what I should be doing with my life?

I think not.

And a life’s “purpose” is more than what one does in terms of culture’s obsession with the idea of work and career (which, frankly, is the measuring stick in our Western world to an unhealthily large degree).

What if, what you are doing right now and where you are is “it”?

For now.

I pluck my chin hairs. It started out innocently enough. One tiny whisker that only I could see apparently, but over the past several years it has mushroomed to a dozen, freak show long or as bristly as my husband’s vacation stubble.

Recently, the overgrowth has migrated to my nostrils.

“What are you looking at? And why do you have those tweezers?” I asked my husband last night as he came at me like I was a game of Operation.

“That nose hair is back again.” Read Full Article

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. Read Full Article