Soapbox — Thoughts on the Older Woman

Today’s Soap Box — Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts on the Older Woman

 I feel women over a certain age are marginalized in this society. It seems once you reach 40 then 50+ women especially Black Women are expected to fit into preconceived categories regarding looks, behavior and expectations. The women on my job in particular the younger women in their 20s and 30s and some of the Europeans seem to be shocked that at 51 I still have dreams, goals, aspirations and desires akin to theirs. Of course the white women are always asking me what I do to my face that I have no wrinkles and lines. My answer, “Good Black Don’t Crack!”  I’ll never need Botox, Restylane®, collagen or a facelift.

I think young people either expect you to be dried up and half dead or a throwback to the 60s, hence my nickname by one young white girl, “Soul Patrol”. Other than the physical ailments that naturally come with middle age my mind is still has the focus of a 25 -35 yr old but with the wisdom that comes with getting older. The young folks don’t realize it but I have the advantage over them. I’ve already made all the stupid mistakes, so now my goals are clear I just have to find ways of making my dreams come true. Not that I won’t have a few detours, in my case romantic detours but my eyes are on the prize because I no longer worry about whether I’ll marry or have children. Yes I desire a life partner/soul mate but I’m ambivalent about marriage and long past childbearing ability. Right now I enjoy dating and even as the birthdays keep coming I’ve never had too many problems attracting a man. Most intelligent mature men want a woman who is in good shape, has a sense of humor and is his intellectual equal, not a bubblehead.

Another attitude towards 40+ women I find very disturbing is what men in my age group think about in regards to dating. I had a conversation with one of my supervisors who claims he is 55. He’s depressed because women in their 20s and 30s no longer look at him as they did when he was younger. His reasons for wanting very young women are they everything on them is firmer and in good shape and he feels older men make better lovers. I pointed out to him that many women in their 20s and 30s are in terrible shape thanks to the fast food industry and a serious lack of exercise and also that for some men by the time they reach their 50s they need Viagra. He claims he does not need this.  Also he’s flabby himself and could stand to lose weight and firm up! What a hypocrite! However this particular supervisor is known to be a horn dog and word in the Ladies locker room is that he can get it up but can’t make it last. Also it never seems to occur to these 50+ men that younger women only date them for money, power, authority, position or status and when they find those qualities in a man closer to their own age they will leave that old bastard!  After all most young women want a contemporary so they can marry and have children. If you marry someone twenty years older than you, they will either croak in a few years or you’ll be their nurse as well as their wife.  Realistically you need someone you can build a life with, not someone who is old enough to be your Father!

No I’m not a proponent of this new age philosophy that 40 is the new 30 or 50 is the new 40. Fifty is 50 and forty is 40. There are some days when I get out of bed I feel like I’m 25 and other days like 95.  However because I never smoked, did drugs, only drank socially and adjusted my diet as I got older I’m proud to say that my exterior looks pretty darned good!  Personally I see myself staying in this condition for another twenty years God willing.

My Aunt Helen who recently transitioned at age 89 used to say to me when she turned 80, DeBorah what is 80? What does that number mean? Does it mean that you should stop doing some of the same things you did at 40? Go sit in a rocking chair and go live in a retirement community? Her answer was always No. Aunt Helen loved to tell jokes, attend family parties and church functions, sing, dance, and enjoy life until she became ill. Now she is singing, dancing and playing her violin in Heaven keeping the Angels and my other family members on their toes!

I want to be like Aunt Helen with that spirit and zest for life. I believe that in many ways I am like her only my drumbeat and pathway are slightly different. Ladies, age ain’t nothing but a number.

4 thoughts on “Soapbox — Thoughts on the Older Woman

  1. When I was a young girl/woman, I had no concept of what a 50 year old woman was, other than she was “old” which meant dead in more ways than one. Dead in dreaming, desiring, living life, loving life, fighting for beauty or anything else. Just dead.
    It’s funny now that I’ll be 50 in December, I in no way feel like that 50 year old woman I conjured up in my 20 year old mind. My battles have just been fought and won, and I’m finally ready to live my life and I’m excited about it, happy about it, content about it.
    We women don’t need Restylane, Botox or any of that, and it’s not because we don’t wrinkle. Wrinkled women don’t need it either.
    We’re confused, men and women both, about life, beauty and what’s age appropriate. Maybe men start being unable to keep it up because that’s not the most important thing anymore. By the time they can’t keep it up, maybe they should already have a deep, satisfying relationship with their wife/woman that they are in spiritual and emotional love with.
    She probably wouldn’t mind his not keeping it up so much.
    I want to be like your Aunt Helen too! And my Aunt Mabel who’ll be 90 this November!

  2. Anna,
    As my beloved Dad used to say “everything is relative”. That applies to our concept of aging too. Now that I’ve over 50 I don’t think people in the 50s or 60s are old, for me the age for old has reached 70. There’s a guy in my neighborhood who is well ove 70 possibly closer to 80. That old fool has been trying to date me or rather get in my pants for months. The answer is no! I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoy sex but I’m not sleeping with a man old enough to be my father. Forget it. Yes my perceptions of what is “old” have changed but like many other Americans I’ve been swept up to a degree concerning looks and body image.

    As I admitted a very nice gentleman whom I like very much, “Yes I am vain”. Not conceited in the sense that I’m all that and a bag of chips. No. Because I’m not. Vain in the sense that I take care of myself. My body is my temple and even though I’ve not aged too much externally, internally I have. The Menopause, High Blood Pressure, and vision problems are in full force. It took nearly two years to get the blood pressure under control but not before losing some of my vision, receiving surgery, etc… Needless to say my driving days are over. I miss that. I hate the “summer moments” and night sweats. Misery but I can live with it. I’m not doing the HRT thing. Of course at age 49 when I found myself in the hospital I was forced to change my diet. Pretty much I stick to eating healthy, fruits, veggies, soy milk, very little meat.. and so on. Cannot eat the way I did in the 20s, 30s and 40s. As for these middle-age Lotharios, the time for them to search for a wife who would stick by the through thick and thin was when they were in the 20s and 30s. Even with consuming massive amounts of Viagra, if that guy I discuss in the article finds a “young woman” cause thats what he wants not someone his own age, well these young girls only want old men for one reason, money. And when the Viagra stops working or when the young woman wants to get married and raise a family, she’ll leave him. Nowadays stable, supportive loving relationships are far and few in between. Look at the divorce rate or the growing number of never been married people. Both are increasing.
    Men and now an increasing amount of women bypass the spiritual and the emotional and go right for the physical.

    Being a single dating woman I’m looking at a man’s character. Yes looks are important because I’m not getting with Quasimodo, however I don’t care if the guy has thinning hair or a small belly. As long as you keep yourself in shape I want to get to know you as a person. What are your morals and values? How do you treat others? I guess that’s why as the song says, “I dont get around much anymore.” Yes guys still look at me, saying all those wonderful things a woman wants to hear, “You have a pretty face” or “You have good legs” but after that, then what.
    God knows I don’t want to get involved with a middle-age Player.

    BTW, My moms name was Mable, unfortunately my mother only lived to be 68, my Dad only 65. However they did enjoy 40 years of wedded Bliss.

  3. Shaye

    This is beautiful and I plan to share with some of my older diva friends. I just watched a Discovery Channel special where a 55 year old woman gave birth to a healthy boy and her husband is 63. Guess what..she’s doing it again. Hey, hey, hey. Go for it. Thanks for sharing

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