What is it with society that causes it to operate under the assumption that older women need to be complimented in such a way to make them feel younger? To try to give them that rush of …hey! I still got it!…? I’m forty and I’m fine with that. I was fine at thirty-eight and thirty-five. I’ve always been comfortable with my age. Well, that’s not entirely true. I spent my twenty-eighth year freaking out because I was going to be twenty-nine which meant I was that much closer to thirty. But by the time I actually turned thirty I was a-o-kay with being an age where society deems you mature enough to be taken seriously as opposed to the pat you on your head oh you’re only in your twenties patronizing tone with which prior to turning thirty I was often treated by “elders” (and by elders I mean: people who often weren’t more than five to ten years my senior).
Why ask to see my drivers license when I’m buying wine or liquor with my grocery purchase when I’m so obviously WELL OVER twenty-one? Ditto in restaurants. It’s not flattering, it’s patronizing. It’s like saying, I know you’re middle aged so maybe this will brighten your day because HOW MUCH DOES IT SUCK to be MIDDLE AGED, AMIRIGHT?
Are there certain things I miss from youth? Certainly. Like I wish my foundation didn’t settle into the wrinkles on my face an hour after it’s applied. I miss my veinless legs. I miss skin with elasticity. I miss my youthful hands. I have mom-hands…they’ve weathered a lot of storms. But hey, I also miss riding down the street on my bike, barefoot, to the corner market to buy bubble gum and my biggest worry was that they’d be out of strawberry Hubba Bubba. Such is life. All in all I’m okay with the aging me.
I have two younger sisters. And when I say younger, I mean, a seventeen and twenty year age difference.
[An aside: Oy this sweater! So cute in person but photographs as if I’m eight months pregnant]
Mom remarried when I was a teenager, started from scratch…blah, blah, blah…go Mom! And for most of my adult life I have been mistaken as my sisters’ mother. I don’t hold that assumption against anyone who has made it because I am, after all, old enough to be their mother. And my youngest sister is only five years older than my oldest child. And it often goes like this:
In a restaurant with my sisters: Waitress, “Oh! Are these your beautiful daughters?”
Visiting my sister at her job to go to lunch: Receptionist to my sister, “Oh! Is this your mom?”
At the grocery store with my children plus my sisters: Cashier, “Are all of these your kids?!?”
And so on…. Sometimes I correct people, sometimes we’re just like, “mother/daughter shopping trip?”…yeaaahhh, that’s what this issss soooo…yeahhh. We give each other that look that says, “You know what? I’ll just be mom. That lady that give birth to us? Forget her, I’m getting all the recognition for it, so we’ll just call her grandma”.
Again, I’m fine with it. In fact, it’s almost become kind of a running joke amongst the three of us. But when we were out on our traditional Black Friday shopping trip this past season, one of those pushy mall kiosk trolls WHOM I HATE, attempted to halt us to listen to his spiel about whatever kiosk crap it is he was trying to hock and all three of us avoiding eye contact and shaking our heads NO…he then turns from my sisters’ attention and says in a complimentary tone, “how about for your lovely sister?”. OH FECKING FECK how this got my blood boiling! First of all, I AM their sister, you dolt. And secondly (also finally) if you’re going to use that tactic to try to woo a sale out of a woman you think you’ve just complimented by assuming the woman is, in fact, the mother by thinking you’ve made her feel pretty and special…you’d better be damned sure that the woman IS entirely too old to actually be the sister. Like, she better be eighty.
Because otherwise it just makes you look like a penis.