Tuesday, June 11, 2013

As Long As You Are of Marriageable Age

Women are on a continuum of sorts. We exist at some point along a spectrum created by the environment and others around us, our own inhibitions, exhibitions, fears, hopes and dreams. You can place yourself anywhere you like, but you did not create the continuum nor can you destroy it single handedly. I find myself following the script left by others far too often and I have to take stock of things. I need to remember to be careful to not be so careful. To be mindful of what I want for myself and what I want to leave behind as the mark that I was ever here at all. To move along on the continuum without watching what others are doing.

We all move around this strange landscape many times throughout our lives. I have currently taken up residence now at "old married lady". I was once a young little thing, accustomed to looks, glances, sweeping across the landscape again to catch a glimpse of me and my glory. Look again, friend. There is even more fabulous to catch the second time around. You'll notice my cute braided belt, the way my hair falls to my back in waves, the shadows hiding behind the tiniest bump of collarbone. The delicate earrings hanging against my swan like neck, the swift movements of my slender fingers. The fun shoes I wore effortlessly.

I thought "Hey There" was my name for a few years.That's right.I know you were talking to me...I'll look back and smile behind my sunglasses for you. I made your whole fucking day.

A wise woman once told me when I was younger that if she had known when she was my age what she knew now, 'she wouldn't have given it away, she would have sold it!' We laughed at the fun and scandal of the unsaid part of the statement. And we each had a quiet moment in our heads about what it meant to us at that point in our lives. I'm having a quiet moment again, only this time all to myself. I'm realizing a whole new side of that comment.

I'm a little older now. A little wiser. A little less young and spry and fashionable. A little less likely to be walking along in high heels. A little less likely to catch your attention. I am just a bit less interesting and you will stop along another point on the landscape, a fertile young thing with legs that go for days, a tan that makes you jealous and hair that she spent hours perfecting. Now I'm in an outfit you might find in the window at Talbot's. My hair is unremarkable when its on its best behavior. Covering my body is the main goal of my clothing.

I am becoming invisible.

Invisible to many man and even women. Invisible to children who don't need my supervision and invisible to young teenagers not looking to me for cues on how to dress or wear eye makeup. I am just slightly less visible now to a young man at a bar, or the bartender themselves. Fading. Slowly. Like a pencil drawing that was not properly protected, the ravages of time and sunlight and air are taking pieces of me away bit by bit. I am still here, but you see me less. The contrast between me and the surrounding area is less noticeable, the edges blurring slightly. I am the only one that notices so far. 

These changes took place slowly, like all things do. There is not a certain age when every woman becomes invisible. There is no magic spot on the timer and we all pop off our springs and drop to the ground, to be consumed by the earth. Each of us has our own spot where we just take up residence on a bench seat and call being a hottie a day.

This spot that you can't find is also a place where you can mark a beginning. This can mark the place where you become so much more. The realization that at some point no one will be interested in me purely for my sexuality is not the depressing thought I think it is for some women. Once I am no longer considered to be 'of marriageable age' whatever that means, I am even less worried about what you think than I ever was. Being older is freedom. The kind I thought I would get at 21, when I was a wishful little 16. The kind I thought I'd have at 25, when I was a precocious 18. Now that those days are well into the past, I'm getting to really be free. Free of the perceptions people have of a young woman. Free of the judgement of how many men I dated, how often my phone rings, whether or not I am sexy enough, too sexy, or 'frumpy' because I'm not actively pursuing attraction. Free of your attention. Your gaze. Your needs.

The lack of judgement and freedom to be yourself is available at any age. Even though I am still considered young by many, I am choosing to be old. The arthritis, wrinkles and pantsuits are just part of my costume, people. I'm going to work this old lady bit. I am taking advantage of a warm afternoon, a good book and the age when no one asks you how much you've had to drink.

We are hard on young people, holding them to too high of standards at times. We are easiest on people who should know better, giving them the benefit of respect in old age. To not be ogled and get the whole bottle of wine to myself? I'll skip wearing lipstick for that...feel free to join me.


  1. This really articulated perfectly how I have been feeling recently. I used to have quite a bit of attention paid to me. But now I realize when I go out with the younger women I work with, I don't compete for it from the cute young waiter who flirts with us anymore. Well, not us, them. I am way less noticeable and sometimes I think I am because I feel that way. I have yet to reach your comfortability with the letting go of that attention but reading this gives me hope that I will get there. I loved the comment you left on my blog earlier so I figured I would check you out. So glad I did. Have a feeling I'm going to be here a while even though I have to go to bed in half an hour!

  2. Hi Kelly! Thank you for the comment and for checking out my blog. I have my first non relative, non friend comment! I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl! I love yours, you have great photos and wonderful stories, I especially loved your take on Sedona (as I am an AZ girl). I know, getting old is a bitch, eh? Although not having men in their 50's look at me like a steak dinner is taking the edge off of cute waiters ignoring me..ah the plight of our 30s...
    Oh, and I'm not nearly as comfortable as I say I am with it. I'm such a poser...I'm hoping it will be a "say-think-do" thing where I get better at it because I told everyone I was and now they are watching! Glad you stopped in though, now I don't feel like such a lurker on your blog :)

  3. Oh I'm so happy I'm the first one! I got my first non-relative/friend about three or four months ago and it was very exciting. Keep going, you'll get more. I really like what you have to say. We're similar in perspective I think. Looking forward to more!

  4. I'm so glad to hear it! Yes I was very excited. Probably more than I should have been. But, let's not should on ourselves. I am very happy to be doing what I am really best at, and I think you're right- I enjoy your posts, we have a similar outlook on things. I'll be reading and writing as long as I can!