Now that women over 40 are the hot new thing, I’m afraid to leave to the house lest a sex-starved college boy be lurking behind my rose bushes, waiting to seduce me. So far the only thing I’ve seen back there is the Rakowski’s poodle doing her business but I know it’s just a matter of time.
It started when the marketing types figured out that we control the purse strings. Suddenly we couldn’t pick up a magazine or turn on the television without seeing an ad telling us know how smart, sexy and confident we are.
At first I kept looking over my shoulder, certain they must be talking about someone else. “Who? Me?” I wanted to ask. But the messages continued, assuring me that 40 is the new 25.
Well, who am I to argue with all these smart advertising men. If they say we’re smart and sexy then gosh, I guess we are. Though I do think my friend Audrey took the message too much to heart when she went to that southern resort last winter. I don’t care how sexy we are, a 200 lb. woman who’s had three C-sections should not be wearing a bikini on a public beach. And then there was poor Dorothy, newly divorced and trying to get back in the dating scene. I told her to lie about her age when she filled in her LavaLife profile but oh no, she had to be honest and put down 45. Well, she couldn’t keep up with all the responses she got from 20 year-old guys wanting to meet her.
After all, dating a cougar is the latest must-have status symbol. ”I really don’t enjoy dating these guys,” Dorothy told me. “They treat me like some Sugar Mamma, always expecting me to pick up the cheque. And then there’s the sex thing. Not only do they assume my hormones make me want it all the time, they think my age and experience means I can teach them all kinds of tricks. My ex and I did buy a copy of the Kama Sutra once but we had only gotten to the second position before the dog chewed it. And by then, the kids had come along and we were so tired that we just never bothered learning anything new after that. ”
And now, thanks to Susan Boyle, things have gotten even harder. It’s not enough to be a middle-aged woman, we have to be middle-aged women with a talent. Suddenly everyone’s looking at us, expecting us to do something, like we might burst into song or dance at any moment. I feel immense pressure to go out and take voice lessons, or maybe tap, so I can impress the check-out girl at the grocery store. I just can’t bear the thought of disappointing everyone when they learn that my hobbies include scrapbooking and reading Harlequin Romances. Interesting, yes, but the stuff of reality shows? I think not.
How I long for the days when I was simply invisible and could let myself go. I just didn’t know how good I had it back then. But I’ll play by the new rules and keep up my gym membership; reinvent myself as a life coach and flaunt my beauty to the cougar hunters at the bar. I just hope pop culture’s pendulum swings soon and people get on to some other hot new thing. Like middle-aged men.