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Friday, January 4, 2013

100

Still Hoping to Attain Literal Invisibility

Here are two perspectives on what it's like to be "a hot girl who gets old."

Tags:

women, beauty, aging, slate



100 Comments / Post A Comment

yrouttasight

I pulled a muscle from rolling my eyes so hard at the first one, but then Cindy Perlman Fink's answer made up for it.

A. Louise

@yrouttasight UGH. THE WORST. She couldn't decide if she knew how hot she was or if she "was, like, totally embarrassed" about it. I about scoffed aloud at my desk at the "natural sales ability" remark.

The second one was pretty great, I agree.

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There are some people like that@m

OhMyGoshYouGuys

I imagine the first lady using some sort of cliche generator to write that account.

stuffisthings

@OhMyGoshYouGuys Michelle? She's not even 50.

anachronistique

Is this just going to make me mad? Since I've never been a hot girl?

Judith Slutler

@anachronistique I actually liked both. But then again I can somewhat get with the whole "being attractive sucks sometimes" thing even if I've never been hot.

Angelena@twitter

@Emmanuelle Cunt i liked both too. i don't think people would unhappy that the women stated she had natural sales ability or that she was embarrassed if she hadn't stated she was hot. because we as women don't think we should say positive things abt ourselves. just my humble opinion.

anachronistique

@Emmanuelle Cunt Oh, yeah, I'm not trying to be a jerk who's all PRETTY PEOPLE HAVE NO PROBLEMS, but there are ways to write about this that are interesting and ways to write about it that make you look like a condescending asshat.

quimby

I know it's a typo (I think!) but "mid 59s" made me chuckle.

purefog

@quimby I'm pretty sure it is not a typo, but I can't decide which of several possible meanings it has. Any of them, though, it's funny.

RK Fire

If anyone would like to know what it feels like to be a moderately attractive (maybe? at best?) woman who is skeptical about all compliments about her appearance and is generally oblivious to all forms of flirting from the opposite sex, then feel free to ask away!

I'm a gold mine of insights!

[I also enjoyed the second woman's answer about visibility/invisibility, and the mixed feelings involved with getting a senior discount when you are not actually a senior.]

adorable-eggplant

@RK Fire I'm curious about all this stuff too, but it's so hard to frame a discussion around. Attractiveness in general is such a weird/hard to quantify thing.

empathicalist

I'm in my late thirties, so I haven't really felt the age impact yet, but fatty v. thin? Hells yeah. I gained 40lbs from some meds and suddenly became invisible. It's not like I was ever a hot girl, but there would be occasional flirtation from strangers. Now? Not so much. I try not to worry about it, and just mentally dismiss said people as shallow. Unfortunately, I know that being short, middle-aged and overweight will have a negative impact on my upcoming career change. Sigh. Can I claim a gym membership and the medical bills as business related expenses?

Onymous

@minijen
>Can I claim a gym membership and the medical bills as business related expenses?

I am not a tax lawyer, but you should check with one because maybe! Especially with the obamacare semi-mandatory health insurance thing and some insurance companies giving discounts for gym memberships and stuff.

fondue with cheddar

@minijen I second this. I actually did get a lot of attention when I was younger and thinner because of my boobs, but ever since the rest of me grew to match I've gone from being catcalled to being invisible. At first it bothered me but now, when I look back at how gross men of all ages were to me, I see it as a blessing.

fondue with cheddar

@minijen By the way, I'm totally weirded out every time I see your profile pic because I am also a Jen with almost the same hair and glasses. Have I said this before? Probably. I'm also short and in my late thirties!

empathicalist

@fondue with cheddar - I always got the creepy, excessive attention for the bosoms, as well. It started pretty early, which really messed with my head at the time, but I got over that, too. You know, I think my main problem with it isn't that I don't register as sexually attractive/viable woman, it's that I don't register as a valid person. You're not a man, you're not an attractive woman, therefore you are nothing. Does that even make sense? (yes, I'm being a leetle bit dramatic, but I think the point is valid)

empathicalist

@fondue with cheddar - Well, we ARE amazing, so no surprise:)

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@minijen It makes perfect sense, and I totally agree with you! That has been my experience, too.

Ugh, there was this one old dude (like great grandpa old) who was a regular at the bar where I would hang out when I turned 21. He wore those wraparound old man sunglasses so you could never see his eyes, but I could tell he was always watching me. And he would do this low, warbling whistle every time I walked by. It was the creepiest thing.

We should be a superhero duo.

iceberg

@minijen I gained about 60 pounds with pregnancy and became invisible to the men in my hood, which was fantastic because I used to get HORRIBLE catcalls, then I lost almost 90 pounds afterwards... and remained invisible! I think I'm TOO skinny for them, or am I just magically over the age threshold now?

theotherginger

@iceberg do your children scare them off? I understand there are three of them running around department stores (semi-genuine, semi-rhetorical)

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg You're probably magically over the age threshold. I had a similar experience, except I didn't lose as much weight and was definitely not TOO skinny.

Blackwatch Plaid

As far as the "becoming invisible to men after age 50" thing goes, I'm not so sure. My mother is nearing 55 (although she looks more like 35-40) and has tons of men falling over themselves around her- including ones in their 20's. I'm not sure if that's necessarily a good thing, but I wouldn't mind aging like her.

EpWs

@Blackwatch Plaid If I can age like my mother, that will be the best thing. She's almost 60 and looks fantastic.

yrouttasight

@Blackwatch Plaid My stepmom is 60, and it's the same damn thing. I have a male friend (mid-late 20's) who has a huge crush on her.

Faintly Macabre

@Blackwatch Plaid My mom looks a little older than her age, but she's aged beautifully and is very sassy. Men a bit older than her constantly flirt with her and check for a wedding ring, to their inevitable disappointment.

wee_ramekin

@Blackwatch Plaid "My mother is nearing 55 (although she looks more like 35-40)"

But...don't your words actually validate the argument that you DO become invisible to men after age 50? I mean, think about what would happen if your mother looked like the "average" 50 year-old woman (whatever society thinks that looks like).

Lisa Frank

Did she just really accuse other women of disliking her because she's "hot?" That's not why they don't like you.

veryanonymous

@Lisa Frank "Women don't like me because I'm hot" is the female version of "Women don't like me because I'm too nice."

Lunargoddess

@Lisa Frank I totally agree that it sounds like a bullshit excuse, and I definitely do cringe when I hear women say, "I don't have any women friends!" (especially when they are having lunch WITH ME, THEIR LADY FRIEND). But on the flip side, jealousy is a real thing, and I have had many experiences when ladies who I thought were my friends were really cruel and insulting to me for seemingly no reason. Seeing as I had trusted them, and was rather young, often I internalized their insults and cruelty in a harmful way. Later, after undergoing therapy, I approached a couple of former friends and asked why they had behaved that way, and explained how much it had hurt. Surprisingly, both explained that they were jealous of me and one even said she thought I was so confident it made her angry (hah!)

So, I see the "jealousy" thing as more of a symptom of the patriarchy pitting women against each other, being told to that distrust should be our natural reaction to another lady. Likely, this woman's perception might have been partially right in that some women might distrust her initially, but she is having that same reaction within herself by assuming their malevolence, if that makes sense.

WaityKatie

@Lunargoddess Well, but I've had the jealousy thing from women too, and I am nowhere near conventionally "hot." It might be true that she's getting random sniping from insecure people, but she's assuming it's because they're jealous of her looks, when it could be any other reason, or no reason at all (i.e. that person is just jealous of everyone - those definitely exist.) There are some people who are threatened by all other women and will try to tear everyone down to the low level they believe themselves to be on, and it's totally unreasonable and insane and best to just avoid those people.

Hollye

Recently I was talking to a middle aged actor I know. He had a really sad story about walking down a street a few years ago and realizing for the first time that he felt invisible. And how strange it is to still be attracted to women who would have paid attention to him 15 years ago, but to understand that he doesn't register on their radar anymore except as a kind of sexless older man.

Inge's Picnic has some really beautiful things to say on this subject.

Nicole Cliffe

Oh. Shit, #realtalk, I think about this all the time. Not because I am so mad hot, but because I have finally, through ceaseless and unstinting labor obtained exactly the muscle tone I want, and now I feel like "great! Let's take all the pictures and then wait for the ravages of age to erode everything anyway."

Ialdagorth

My grandmother told me when I was 13 I should be glad I wasn't beautiful. That I was nice enough looking and due to my round face, I'd look about the same most of my life, and I wouldn't have to watch my looks fade like all those pretty girls. Now I'm like truth, RIP Grandma! but man that stings at 13! She was attempting camaraderie as she considered herself average looking with a round face and yes, she DID look about the same from 20-60 or so. However she was not good at camaraderie in general so yeah, ouch. TRUE, but ouch.

Ialdagorth

@Ialdagorth She also told me that white pants were never not tacky, but jury's out on that one.

Bittersweet

@Ialdagorth In my grandma's world, my cousin was "the pretty one" and I was "the smart one." My younger cousin was "the politically aware one" and my sister was "the frustrating one who wouldn't fit into easy stereotyping." We had an interesting extended family dynamic.

frigwiggin

"Ass the size of a barn"? Come on.

glitterary

Seriously, though, I actually do worry about this a lot. I'm 26, which I know is still young, but it's old enough to look at people at the start of their twenties and think "Fuck, I must have been that hot once. How did I not notice?" and take stock of how I look. And I can see that generally I'm still attractive, but I can also see where it's starting to fade, and I think oh god oh god oh god meeting people and making friends is so easy now! and I'm sure I'll still be able to meet people and make friends when I'm older, but a lot of my interactions are quite flirty, so will those stop working when no-one wants to shag me? Will people just think I'm a bit weird and desperate?

If I were with someone already, perhaps it wouldn't worry me because I'd know there was a person who thought I was lovely regardless of looks, but there ain't. And what if I stop being hot before meeting that person?

Jane Dough

I'm 53, and trying to adjust to the way I look now. Not that I've ever been beautiful--more like on the attractive side of average-- but enough to get the kind of attention and perks that good looking women get. Even in my early 40's, I still looked (and felt) desirable. I was dating a younger man AND a younger woman. I even entered-- and won-- a strip contest at a sex club. And then suddenly it just all went away. At 45 I gained 30 pounds in a year and it didn't want to come off. At 48, my eyelids started to get all loose and droopy. At 50, vertical lines appeared on my top lip. My hair got so dry and brittle that I had to get it cut short. And voila, old lady. I have good things going on in my life and I'm not unhappy, but I've gotta say that getting older, physically, just totally blows. You think it won't happen to you. And then it does.

teaandcakeordeath

What! No one referenced "No longer a babe, but not an old bag"?
But I think that's my new aging motto.

Then when im 99+ it will be 'No longer a babe and finally and old bag.

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Droopy eyelids! The worst. I have them.

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