Age, Aging and Being a Woman

I’m getting older. It’s been happening for a while now. Aging occurs whether I pay attention to it or to something else. It is relentless and not at all stoppable. And for most of it, I didn’t care.

But somewhere along the line, I crossed the magical line between looking good, and looking good for my age. It’s an invisible line, but it exist in every woman’s world. Not to say that men don’t sure in this world, but for some reason, they aren’t subjected to the scrutiny that comes as they get older. It might seem unfair. It’s not. Because they are judged on other things just as harshly as women are judged on looks. Part of me thinks this has to do with the biological reasons we pick mates. What we need to find in a potential life partner and co-parent is apparently different for boys and girls. I dunno what the underlying reasons are for real; I can only speculate. But it makes sense to me. So I’m going with it until I learn differently. So school me up if you’ve got the info I need.

It’s hard getting older as a woman in America. Aging gracefully seems to be an oxymoron in our society. In our world, age and grace don’t belong together when they are paired together in reference to women. So imagine trying to live that shit. Getting older isn’t a dirty word. But in so many ways, small and large, I and many other women are made to feel that way. I’m not unattractive, mostly passably pretty. But the quality of how I look seems to have been overtaken by how old I look. We are told we look too young, or too old. We dress too young, or too old. Our hair is too young, or in a style that is too old. The list goes on and on.

When the FUCK do women get to be just right?

Goldilocks and her three bears have passed us by completely. Women are told over and over again that they are not quite right. Ever. At any age.

I am right. As in okay. As in perfectly fine, great even. Right at the age I’m at. And I don’t dress too young, or too old. I dress how the fuck I feel. On any given Sunday and every day there after. I wear my hair how I feel. And by that, I mean I have STOPPED coloring the gray out. I am just right. Exactly the age I am and exactly the way I am.

I have to confess that I was torn about not coloring the gray out of my hair. The examples of women who let their hair gray naturally are small, few and not glorified. When did we stop thinking that salt and pepper hair was hot as hell? On women as well as men? The confidence it exudes for a person in our society to allow age to show is way sexy. Way.

Besides, it’s all a trap. Didn’t you get it from reading the stuff above? When we are young, we are told to wear makeup and dress up to look older. When we are old, we are told to do anything to look young–but not unnaturally so. When we fall into the trap of doing either of these things, then we are told that we are acting “too old,” “dressing too young,” “trying too hard,” and the list of how we don’t measure up in what we are or trying to portray goes on and on.

We as women can never get it right.

And we are hamsters running on the wheel trying to get to that just right state.

Only the game is rigged. And that’s never gonna happen. Ever. Because just when we get that perfect mix, it tips and we are “too” something else. And I’m done with that. Me and all my goddamn gray hairs.

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3 Responses to Age, Aging and Being a Woman

  1. Z. Rider says:

    I think you’re probably onto something with the biological thing: we’re driven (as a species if not necessarily individually) to procreate, and while men keep making sperm well into old age, women stop being fertile at “a certain age.” AND THEN WHAT USE ARE WE??? πŸ˜‰

    I’ve been wanting to go gray lately too. I’ve been dying my gray away for over twenty years, and it’s getting old, man. It’s almost all salt underneath the dye at this point, so about a week after dying it, I start to look like a skunk. So far the hairdresser has stripped the black out and made it a medium reddish brown with blonde highlights, to help ease the transition. I don’t know, though, how long the transition from here to white is going to take. Ages, probably. I’d probably be better off shaving it and popping a wig on my head until it grows out. (But Mr. Rider has reached an age where heart attacks are a risk, and I don’t want to put him in the hospital unnecessarily. He’s already panicking at the thought of having a white-haired wife.)

  2. D.R. Slaten says:

    Zoe, I think I’m more horrified about going gray down in the va-jay-jay area. Can’t really color that hair, anyway. lol Well… you can. It just hurts really, really badly. Or so I’ve heard. From a friend of a friend. πŸ˜‰

    I get why the bio thing is logical. That’s why I believe that line of reasoning. It’s why we want successful men. Or why men want big-breasted beautiful women. What I don’t get is when are women just right? It never seems like we are. Either we’re too old. Or dressing too old. Or we’re too young, or dressing too young. It just seems like everyone wants us to be the opposite of what we are at the moment. And that leads to coloring of gray hair- while people talk about us coloring our gray hair and saying that we look good for our age. Or something similar.

    When’s the last time you heard- “oh, she’s just enough.” Usually, compliments in this vein are coached in terms of “for her age” or the like. Even in complementing us, we are torn down and told we aren’t just right.

    It pisses me off. lol Plus, looking at all the gray hair on my cooch makes me cringe. πŸ™‚

    • zrider says:

      I haven’t seen my coochie hair in years, so I have no idea what color it’s decided to be. I did see the dyes for that though, and my thought was, “Shaving’s way less bother. I don’t have to clean dye drips off the floor.”

      Also, you rock “enough” all over the place. Society just hasn’t caught up yet, probably never will. Society’s loss.