So Here’s To You Mrs Robinson

On Monday evening I had a chat with a journalist who was looking for older women to talk about sex in later life. I’d explained that I couldn’t really answer that as I was having trouble persuading guys to meet up for a coffee in Manchester, never mind anyone’s bedroom. “That’s ok, we can talk about love, libido and desires.” So that’s what we talked about and after having a photo shoot done on Wednesday morning, the article was featured in the Femail section of the Daily Mail on Thursday, not only using myself but other ladies who seemed to be rather enjoying themselves in later life and who can blame them. It’s probably one of the last taboos that older people still have sex but look at this way if everyone thinks in their head that they’re younger than they actually are, it should be no surprise.

What any older woman who’s online dating will tell you though is that they receive LOTS of messages and attention from much younger guys. Guys in their 20’s who say that they can promise you a good time, have fun with, but who I think are looking for their “Mrs Robinson moment”. Nothing wrong with that and as anyone will tell you, if you’ve come out of a long term relationship/marriage with low self esteem and no confidence, of course it’s flattering to have some attention, even if it’s from guys who are young enough to be your son. That’s not for me I’m afraid but if you’re looking for some no strings attached sex, this is the perfect solution for some women. Hopefully it is just sex they’re after and not your money, although you only have to read one of the weekly “real stories” magazines to see how many women fall into the trap of believing everything they’re told. I’m sorry Mary/Sheila/Joan but you must have guessed at some point that your 25 year old Turkish waiter wasn’t really interested in you or your ageing body, especially when they mentioned marriage. No? Not even when they told you that they had a family to support so maybe you could sell your house as you seem to have no savings left. That while you’re counting down the days and hours until you see each other again, could you possibly send some money over as the deposit has to be paid on your new love nest that you’ll be sharing with his family. Or his cousin’s getting married and he said he’d pay/he and his family are moving to new premises with the family business/he wants to organise the biggest and best wedding for you as he loves you so much. Just send the money and everything will be fine.

As much as I’d like to feel sorry for these women a part of me thinks, how could you be so stupid? But then I have to remember I’ve been online dating a while which means I’m more street wise, can pick up clues and can spot a scammer a mile off. At the same time though it’s probably safe to say that most of the young guys who message us really do want that moment that was shown on the silver screen 48 years ago.

So here’s to you Mrs Robinson.

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Don’t Try This At Home

After watching the programme “Party Pensioners” on channel 5 a couple of days ago, it would seem that there is a (hopefully small) group of people who are refusing to grow old quietly. Women who will do anything to get noticed, to get attention, who are prepared to lose their dignity and don’t seem to realise how ridiculous they look. I’m all for not blending into the background just because you get older, when it seems that you are on the periphery of people’s vision but they don’t actually see you anymore as you have nothing to offer. No young hot body, no mind blowing ideas, no fashion sense, no idea of what’s going on in the world, no use to anyone, but it would seem that some people are prepared to go above and beyond under the guise of “eccentric, outrageous, wild and wacky”.

As a society we are living longer so the definition of middle aged has changed. Older women are still working, have their own money and are hopefully enjoying life as much as they were 30 years previously, just in a different way. Kids have left home which gives you the time to pursue new/old hobbies and anyone with half a brain is still interested in what’s going on around them, which means you’re open to new ideas, finding your way around new technology, and can probably hold your own in a political debate (maybe).  Just because the shops only cater for the young fashionistas doesn’t mean you’re not interested in fashion anymore, it just makes it more difficult to find what you like as you’re more likely to want to cover up rather than reveal. The mirror might show an older version of you but we all know the truth, inside you’re on the dance floor of that dodgy club when you were 21, on holiday in Benidorm with the girls and choosing which guy you were going to go home with that night.

Everybody fears getting older because of how society sees older people. Instead of seeing it as a chance to try new things, make new friends and maybe broadening our horizons with travelling, we worry that no one will value our opinion anymore, no one listens to what we have to say which is ironic. We have lived through a lot of  life experiences which means that chances are we can empathise with some of what life will throw at you. Been there done that comes to mind. But then again what do we know?

What most people want to do though is just enjoy life. Everyone’s idea of enjoying life is different, how everyone copes with getting older is different, which brings me back to the women who choose a different path than most. Andy Warhol once said that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame and he’s not wrong. With so many reality shows, documentary programmes etc, it would seem that for most people they can have their 15 minutes but because of the fame hungry culture we’re in some people want more. I’m not against people applying for these shows (how can I, I was on one myself) it’s the situation they put themselves in. It’s one thing being shown on a date, fully clothed in a nice restaurant, quite another to be shown legs akimbo  and writhing around the floor thinking you’re giving Beyonce a run for her money. Or maybe giving burlesque dancing a try when you’re over 80, flashing your knickers at everyone at the end of the show, all being shown on tv of course. There are no hard and fast rules but please ladies, where is your dignity? Surely no one wants to see anyone over 60 making an utter fool of themselves in order for them to feel as though they’re no longer invisible, (or anonymous as one of the “ladies” said). Everyone likes to think they’ll grow old disgracefully but hopefully people will draw the line at attention seeking, ridiculous behaviour.

Different strokes for different folks but one thing I do know. I could clear a room in 10 seconds if I took my clothes off. Fact.

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Shhh….You’re Showing Your Age.

I don’t usually follow mummy bloggers as they’re not really relevant to my life, seeing as I don’t need to know where I can buy a headband for Lucy that matches Freddie’s socks for a party, or which cotton buds are the best to use, but now and again I do read a couple of the mummy blogs who had their children when they were over 30 and unfortunately, a couple of them lately seem to have a similar theme. Talking about not being afraid of getting older, we should be looking forward to it as we’re all so fabulous and we’ll always be this way, so what if society doesn’t like older people  we shall make them notice us, blah blah bloody blah.

You haven’t got a clue as to what it’s really like to be a woman in her 50’s.

I used to be you. I used to be a younger vibrant woman with 2.4 kids living with a husband who goes out to work while I had a part time job, but back then I wasn’t blogging about what to give your kids for breakfast as there was no internet and I’m not actually sure that I would have been to be honest. A woman in her 30’s is a lot more confident than a woman in her 20’s and it’s easy to adopt the mindset of really not caring too much about getting older and as much as I love that idea the truth is a bit different.

Getting older doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a slow insidious process that you don’t really notice until one day you look in the mirror and see your mother looking back at you. You’ve accepted that you no longer turn heads when walking down the street, you’re now probably the last person to be served at the bar (when did that happen? You used to be the first!) your opinion isn’t valued anymore as what could you possibly know at your age? You use the anti ageing creams, still take an interest in clothes and make up, maybe had a little help with botox and fillers but no, you’re still wearing that invisibility cloak that someone threw over you when you weren’t looking. But it’s not just about the visible signs of ageing that we have to contend with.

Getting older also means you’ve probably experienced a few life changing events, and getting divorced is one of them. No one gets married to get divorced and while the writing’s probably been on the wall for a long time before you actually make that life changing decision (9 times out of 10 the woman will want the divorce) it’s a horrible thing to go through, especially with children involved and your confidence will have taken a huge knock. Not many people come through it unscathed but hopefully you’ll have had lots of support.

Getting older also means having to go through menopause.This is a bit like being a teenager with the mood swings and crying for absolutely no reason due to the massive hormonal change that’s happening in your body, and even though you know damn well you’re being ridiculous you just can’t help it. For some women this can be a very traumatic time as this can go on for a few years.

And let’s not even start on health issues.

Which brings me to the very real “empty nest syndrome”. Any women who have had children will always say that they’re looking forward to the day when the kids leave home and at the time they will mean it. No more mess, loud music, picking them up from here there and everywhere, teenage tantrums, a procession of different boyfriends/girlfriends that you’re having trouble remembering their name, until it happens. Usually they’ve gone to Uni, or moved out to live with friends and after a few weeks when it feels like a holiday the reality sets in. They’re not coming back. Wandering aimlessly through the house with time to kill because now you’re not washing/ironing/cooking for them is a lonely time for some women. All these years you’ve been defined as being a mother, even though you’ve probably worked, but because you’ve been so busy with the kids, friendships might have been neglected, or you could have moved to a new place in the past couple of years or have had to look after an ill relative, all these things have contributed to where you are now. Lonely, older, and wondering what the hell life has to offer now.

So while you younger women might pay lip service to us fabulous older women, the truth is we had to coax that young, independent, confident and fearless woman that we used to be, to come out and show herself again in order for us to appreciate and enjoy our life. Picking up pieces that we didn’t actually drop but had slipped through our grasp, finding our way again to where we felt we belonged, and as our confidence grew it enabled us to become the fabulous creature that you see today. I understand what these younger ladies are trying to say and years ago I’m pretty certain I said the same thing, but as much as we all like to think we’re going to stick two fingers up to society when we get older the truth is, by the time you get to middle age, you’re just grateful to still be here.

 

 

Shh

 

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