I don’t watch television unless I’m eating. I can’t just sit and watch American television. The self-loathing becomes too much to bear. This morning I sat down on the loveseat in the den with my mug of black coffee and two fiber bars and watched a few minutes of “Let’s Make A Deal.” Then I thought I should watch some news, get my daily dose of horror. I found some kind of ridiculous fashion segment narrated by a self-assured American teenage girl. Teenage models in a store were being compared and contrasted to “women over forty” models. I learned that teenage girls can “get away with just about anything” fashion-wise. They can rock any kind of sneaker and any wild color combination. Women over forty, however, should stick to neutrals and pastels. This includes their sneakers. Women over forty should not wear bright colored sneakers. It just isn’t right. Where do they think they’re going? A Rihanna concert? No, the teenage narrator informed me that women over forty are running errands. That is what women over forty do. They drop off the dry cleaning, stock up on toilet paper and other staples at Costco and pick up the kids at soccer practice. That sort of thing calls for neutral colored sneakers, sensible slacks or subdued jeans with a classic rise (as opposed to a low rise, which shows off those naughty Hello Kitty thongs and temporary Wild Child tramp stamps) and maybe a nice navy blouse on top. Don’t go crazy with the accessories, Women Over Forty! Careful! You don’t want to give the impression that you’re trying to be sexy because everyone knows that women over forty are dried up and don’t fuck much anymore! No big hoop earrings! Dainty diamond studs (or cubic zirconia studs if money is a factor) will suffice. And of course you’ve got your wedding band. You can rock that. Because women over forty are all married. But wait, there’s a glimmer of hope…the teenage narrator asserted that women over forty CAN wear glitter eye makeup because “sparkle can enhance wrinkles!”
I would love to meet this teenage narrator. No I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t love to meet her but I would love to educate her, from a congenial distance. Here are a few fun facts, missy (I’m writing to the teenage narrator even though she will never stumble across this blog because I don’t write about Justin Bieber or the South Beach diet or how to keep your sweet sixteen bash on your parents’ budget of under ten thousand dollars…oops, please excuse those pesky stereotypes!):
Many American women over forty are not married. Maybe they’re lesbians, maybe they got marriage out of their systems in their twenties and thirties, maybe they’re too busy discovering a cure for breast cancer or writing screenplays/novels/poems/flash fiction/songs/blogs or searching for superior forms of life in the Milky Way galaxy to be stuck in that American drone lifestyle of being legally bound to another deeply flawed human being and making babies with him, which necessitates thousands of dreary trips to Costco or Sam’s or Wal-Mart Supercenter and the maintenance of a Facebook profile so that there will be thousands of shiny happy photographs proving to complete strangers that LIFE IS GOOD!
Many American women over forty are not worried about their wrinkles and don’t give a rat’s ass about enhancing them. There’s this scientific fact called gravity. Gravity happens to us all, men and women. Some women and men over forty spend money fighting gravity with cosmetics and cosmetic surgery. That’s their ball game. That’s their parade. More power to them. There was once this woman named Gertrude Stein. She was the aesthetic opposite of Marilyn Monroe. I never knew Ms. Stein but from what I’ve read about her life I would venture to say that she was approximately (there’s no way of measuring such things…well, there are a couple of ways) a million times happier than Marilyn Monroe. Sexy on the outside doesn’t do much for ugly on the inside. This isn’t to say that Marilyn Monroe was ugly on the inside. I’m sure she was really fucking gorgeous on the inside, too. Bottom line: sparkle on the INSIDE can enhance ANYTHING on the outside.
I’m 39 but I will be over forty very fucking soon and I won’t have some genetically, economically privileged American teenage girl telling me what kind of sneakers, jewelry or clothing I can wear. I still wear fishnets and bright red lipstick, baby, and if certain people who like to put other people in convenient boxes think that’s tacky they can feel free to kiss my big beautiful ass. Look the other way! Pretend like I don’t exist because I am marginalized and disenfranchised so that is close enough to the truth!
When I was sixteen I was really fucking beautiful but I didn’t know it. I was skinny with long thick black hair, pale flawless skin and perky tits. I didn’t have age spots or wrinkles or a big flabby gut. I thought I was ugly because I wasn’t short and blonde with big tits, a tan and a big bubbly smile that showed off my white teeth and pink gums. I got asked out on a couple of dates but I never had sex when I was a teenager (there were a couple of close calls…I did give a guy a blow job so he would like me…didn’t work) and I never went to a single fucking prom.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and loathe myself. I see things I don’t want to see. I think about really disgusting choices I have made and most of those really disgusting choices had to do with men. Did I really waste that much time and energy on THAT man? Why? I was just thinking about this very thing a couple of hours ago when out of boredom I Googled the name of a “writer” (he isn’t a writer at all) I thought I loved a few years ago. I thought back to that time in my life. I thought about where I was, where I wanted to be. The guy I thought I loved was exotic because he lived in another state and his life experiences had been so different from mine. Now I read the stuff he wrote and I think it is absolute crap. We never met and I am glad.
This is not to denigrate men I have been involved with. I simply wish that all the time and energy I put into all those ultimately unhealthy relationships had been spent on really improving myself…not finding a better lipstick, taking a sexier photograph or “rocking” the right pair of shoes. I wish I had devoted my life to one singular, unassailable passion, such as studying the galaxy or music. There are many worthy pursuits. Aesthetic sensibility, for lack of a better term, is not one of them. And that whole unrequited love gag…it looks pretty inside a song or a two hour movie but that’s no way to run a tight ship. I’m looking for an island and the older I get the closer I get to figuring out how to arrive there.
Wikipedia: .ve is the Internet country code top-level domain for Venezuela. →