Does My Nose Look Forty?

The day I turned forty
Dear Steph.

I was relieved to read you’re studying other women to figure out whether they look older or younger than you. I’m doing it too. It must be a turning 40 thing as we never used to care how old we looked – except when we wanted to get into clubs at 16. It’s because we’re romping towards old age my friend.

Grey hair is an entirely new category; not just older but not even there. During a water aerobics ‘Over 60’ class during my pregnancy with the ‘Dactyl, I realized we were invisible – not even fifty-year-old guys with beer guts would look at a sea of old ladies. Best we fine-tune our wit, as we’ll need it to get attention. Unless of course, we buy new tight faces like Dolly Parton, have you seen what she’s done to herself? No, your face is far too beautiful to ruin.

Our only option is to embrace imminent invisibility. There must be perks. I stole a box of tea bags recently (English Breakfast, 20 bags to the box). I slipped them in my handbag, intending to get them out when I met up with the Husbando and the trolley, when a small suggestion typed into my head. Steal them! So I did. Nobody was suspicious of the middle-aged Mum with snot on her shoulder. Now I smile every time I make a cup of tea. I’m not suggesting picking up where our teenage careers in filching failed, but it’s nice to know that if the mood needs a little boost, we’re incognito. Shagging in the back of taxis can be a breeze – there’s no way the driver will turn his head if an old lady’s flashing, right? That’s why Ma Baker was so successful; she was just another indistinguishable grey-haired woman without a gun in her hand. All sorts of mischief’s available when you’re in invisible. How about a light train robbery at 60 – could be a fun girls’ reunion and nobody will remember what we look like.

Perusing the San Francisco Chronicle death notices recently, I noticed all the women’s photos were of young beauties in their twenties, even though most had died half a century later. Yet the men were the opposite and their pictures were recent, with monster old-man ears and nostrils. The men were being remembered for who they had become. The women were being remembered for what they used to look like. Tragic. Our goal, as we age, is to be so bloody interesting there will be a recent photo of us in the death notices – OK?(airbrushing of hirsute chins will be most welcome though.)

Love Angela

PS The other night I was chatting to a young staff member over dinner. The ‘Dactyl was on my lap flinging food everywhere. I stood up and for a fleeting moment thought he was giving me the once over and felt flattered. Then he said, ‘oh that’s smart, wearing your shirt inside out so your baby doesn’t mess it up.’ I had no idea. Sadly, he was only giving my exposed seams the once over…

PPS I desperately need some of your fine artwork on our walls as all we’ve got is scribbles from the one and three year old (I promised myself before I had children I would never do that). Loving your cigar smoking lady at http://www.sashgallery.com


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