I just finished watching American Idol where one of the contestants has been (in Simon terms) “overshadowed” by younger contestants…at the age of 28. Could musicians really be considered “old hat” at such vibrantly young ages? Are you really over-the-hill by twenty? Society seems to run on basic principles. Women are supposed to be young. They are supposed to be limber, strong and maintain the body of a sixteen year old throughout their lives. With thoughts like, “She looks good for her age” it is difficult to escape the stigma of being anything but younger. Despite her inventiveness, her creativity and her social skills, but it doesn’t hurt if she looks like Catherine Zeta Jones or Madonna.Let’s face it: society is us. The collective “we” has a tendency to punish women for the natural aging process. Expectations are high. By the time women hit thirty, society expects the following:
- Wrinkle-free skin – “Age-Defying Formulas”, “antioxidants”, “facial enhancers”, cleansers and creams are hot selling products to keep a woman’s skin abnormally supple and pliant. Think plastic-girl with skin like a baby’s butt. That’s what I said: ew.
- Perfect Marriage, Perfect Home, Perfect Children – Forget the Stepford wife motif. Women have long suffered to protect the unwritten rule that they must achieve these levels of perfection. They are judged by how happy their households are, how healthy their kids seem, and how solid their relationships are with their husbands. Anyone who says that society doesn’t do that is either lying or a spinster.
- Steady Career – Those who get away with #2, fall under this category. Dedicated and “married” to their jobs, these women model their lives after Oprah. If there is a Stedman around, he’s lying dormant under the foot of his driven fiancee. Oh, and it helps if she has a mooch friend like Gayle King, who can back her shit up and tag along with her on “girlfriend” trips around the world.
- More than One Child – They say the first child is practice. The second child gives a woman experience. Parenthood is often judged by how many children you learn to manage over time.
- Speaking of Experience… – It helps if a woman is worldly while she’s still young enough to enjoy it. As if we should all lay down and die the minute the clock strikes thirty. Isn’t life only a quarter done at 25?
- Health Conscious – Nevermind the struggle to stay away from fatty foods, as one gets older, you’re also expected to go to the gym at least 3 times a week, drink 8 glasses of water a day, and learn how to work out the mind as well as the body–whew! Factor in osteoperosis, early menopause, and breast cancer and it’s no wonder women are the highest percentile to suffer from depression.
Plus, women have longer life spans in which we can ponder the mysteries behind our mates’ mid-life crises and compete with girls half our age eager to step into our spotlight. It’s not just perky breasts and flaky dispositions. It’s coping with the fact that we may experience cheating a million times over before we ultimately decide to become nuns, exotic dancers, spinsters or lesbians. It’s time, precious time. Fleeting, patience and time that licks us. How can we avoid gray hairs knowing that these things may come to pass in our lifetimes? I can’t say that we can. Everytime I see a young “bippie” (as I like to call them) I can’t say that a little green man called, Envy doesn’t rear his ugly head. I’m ashamed to say it, but it does. I used to be that bippie. But alas, I haven’t found any fountain of youth. Now, when my bones crack, they really crack. I can hear them. It takes me million years to get up in the morning now when in the past, all it took was a couple of minutes. About the only joy I find is knowing that one day that young bippie will become an old fart. It happens to the best of us. Unless you’re a freak of nature like Demi Moore. I’ve a feelin’ though that someday, man…That is…I hope.So yeah! We may not all be able to stay shiny like brand new copper pennies but over time, we save them and know what they’re worth.