I was trying new shorts on the other day, getting ready for a party. Is this too much? I asked Husband, concerned about that balance. He said that they were fine. But do I not look stupid? I had to check. Do I not look like a cheap whore?
‘I have to say’…Husband announced the next morning, ‘that you were probably the only non-mumsy wife at that party!’
Right, so the shorts are definitely OK, I thought. In fact, had he said I looked a bit like a whore it would have still been better than him saying I looked mumsy.
Not that I am trying to look like a cheap whore. It really is all about that balance. I guess it has always been, but as we, women, grow older, it is becoming more and more important and difficult at the same time.
How do you age gracefully? Can you age gracefully with a bit of botox, or is that cheating? Can you wear short skirts (or white lacy shorts…) when you are officially middle-aged?
There is something sad about an ageing woman. However great she looks, however happy she is in her life and what she has achieved, however great of a mother, a professional or a wife she might be…There is still this underlying hint of sadness that comes with the transition to the old age.
I look at many photos of women of my age on Facebook, and see just how amazing they look. In bikinis, sporting long tanned legs, they pose proudly- look how fantastic I still am! At Halloween parties, jumping to the opportunity to dress up as a sexy nurse…And yet, in their smiles, in their eyes, I can see the panic. The desperation. The fear. The desire to prove to everyone else, including themselves, that they are still beautiful, that they’ve still got it. And let’s be honest, I am one of them. I work hard to look the best I can, and when I think the picture is a good one, why not? It is very, very tempting.
But then, a sneaky thought crawls into my mind every now and again. How do we know? How do we know at which point, while still believing we look great, we in fact, long ago started to look ridiculous? And how do I protect myself from becoming that pathetic older woman, a mutton dressed (and acting) as lamb?
But hey…wait a minute. Hold on, hold on! Before I reach in my wardrobe for one of those suburban mumsy dresses I used to wear in my post-baby Stepford wife era, let me introduce you to my hippy rock chic girlfriend, who, at the age of 51 is properly, naturally, effortlessly cool.
Look at her here, in this picture, singing on the stage somewhere in a boho club in London. ( She is the one on the left.) Look at her!
And now, that Monicca Belucci is a Bond girl ( or Bond woman as she corrected), I feel it is time to say to those of my girlfriends who gave up too soon on their looks, on their bodies, on their attitude…Come on! Stop it. Throw away those huge white mumsy nickers, big enough to cover a Land Cruiser, work out, eat less, get some fake boobs or botox, if you have to, do whatever you think would make you feel better about yourself, and be OK with your age. Be OK with ageing (gracefully or not) and enjoy the last few years of what life has to offer. Before we completely and utterly retire. Enjoy the autumn of your life. Because every stage, every episode is beautiful, in its own unique way. And life is too short to worry about others judging you. Let them judge. While secretly envying your freedom. But, just remember…it is still about that balance.