My Grandma Marge always said, “Getting old is Hell.” Thanks, Grandma! Something to look forward to! It made me sad and scared to become an adult, since it was clearly something hateful and horrible.
I am not at the “getting old is hell” point, but I am starting to become bitter about aging, and if I don’t nip it in the bud, I will become like Grandma Marge.
I find myself spitting contemptuous remarks about young celebrity women, especially the ones my husband admires (read: all of them). There is a line in the movie “Love and Sex” starring Famke Jansen and Jon Favreau where he tells her she’s afraid of becoming invisible because men her age are starting to look at younger women. It really is shockingly uncomfortable to me that I have passed the age where men look at me. Especially with a daughter on my hip. The best I can aspire to is to be a MILF. An expression which is, frankly, insulting and vulgar.
So I go back to The Bloom Project idea and think of my friend “Jane” who is recently divorced and being asked out by 24 year olds. Not that she wants to date 24 year olds who work in video stores, but it has to be somewhat flattering, since she is in her mid thirties and has a 5 year old.
The truth is, it’s not because I’m 38 that men don’t look at me. It’s because I don’t dress nice, I don’t wear make up most of the time, and I’m 35 pounds overweight. All of this I can change. I can lose the weight, I can fix myself up, I can buy new clothes.
Here is where I feel I must defend myself, because it sounds like I want men to look at me and ask me out. And I do. Not because I want to go out with them, but because I want to be beautiful and desirable to my husband. The most desirable woman to a man is a woman other men want. That’s true for women’s desire for men as well. When I was in college, I helped some guy friends get into conversations with women at bars by hanging all over them with some other girlfriends and acting interested in the guys. The guy friends were instructed to play it cool and sort of blow us off. That way, other women are like, “What’s he got going on that those girls are so into him?” It works.
I’ve used food to help stuff down unpleasant feelings since I was very young. I used to walk to the neighborhood convenience store when I was 8 and buy “Chunky” (a large block of chocolate), sit on my back porch steps and eat it slowly and deliberately (and secretly, knowing my mom would freak out and punish me for eating candy). I still get the urge to eat when I’m angry or upset, or to rebel. Even against myself.
When I was in Overeaters Anonymous back in 2000, I lost 40 pounds in about a month and a half. I started getting lots of attention from men and I found it a little uncomfortable. I think that is part of my struggle. Even though I want to be admired and desired, I also find that attention scary and threatening. But hey, I think I can handle a little scary and threatened, because I’m tired of old and fat. I think it will be good for my marriage for me to feel great about how I look. And I think my husband needs to go back to feeling like his wife is “a catch.”