The biggest insult for a woman surely has to be being asked if you are your children’s grandmother. It happened to me once. In the Post Office queue, an old (and probably blind) woman admired my brood and then asked if I was looking after them or was I their Grandmother. I can’t say I am terribly vain, nor do I try very hard to keep myself young looking, Oil of Olay worked for my mum, but really, Grandmother!! I did a few calculations whilst in line and worked out that it was in fact physically very possible for me to be their Grandmother. What a horrifying thought. How did I get so old so quick?
In a world obsessed with ageing, especially for women, I am in the group I lovingly call ‘living in denial’. I have of course noticed the grey hairs, but in the summer I am blonge (blonde and ginger combined) due to the scorching climate I live in and therefore think I can disguise the white as blonde and in the winter, all 3 months of it, I dye it. But it’s not just the hair is it? In fact the hair is the easiest to disguise. The frown lines, the wrinkling at the knees, the bat wings, it’s all a give-away. Our best medicine in my humble opinion is superiority. Don’t deny it, you have looked at others of a similar age and thought ‘I look younger than them’. Yes it’s a bit mean but they don’t know and it makes you feel better even if its a delusion.
There’s one sure fire way to find out how well you are ageing, reunions. It’s hard to know whether to be thankful or appalled by the many reunions being organised since Facebook. I am at one time grateful, one time heartbroken that I can’t attend these functions, they’re not really worth a plane ticket, but I do imagine the effort put into preparing for such events and the bitching taking place in the Ladies when an old foe has been spotted with the same 80’s haircut but 3 stone heavier. I always look for the after party photos. Ah sweet revenge, they can’t see me.
At a park recently in my husband’s hometown he saw someone who was in his class at school and went to talk to her. Quite honestly I thought I’d misheard him. He sat next to a woman, not a girl (which is how, I needless to say, consider myself), who I would have put at least 10 years older than him. I could be squinting when I look in the mirror, be in terminal denial, blessed with ageless genes or just generally a nasty piece of work but I really don’t think I look that old. What age do strangers see when they look at me? More importantly,(the right shoulder good angel is saying), does it matter? Actually yes it does and if I had the balls I would ask randoms in the street, obviously presuming they would say early 30s. Perhaps it’s a good job I don’t have said balls. So next pre-turning 40 step; look younger. Joan Rivers recently told me (not personally) that fringe and shoulder length hair is the key a la Anna Wintour. Dressing in age appropriate clothing is also a big factor, I have recently signed up for many a fashion blog for tips although my shorts vest top combo is a winner for my particular world, luckily I can’t see myself from the back. Drinking water, a good diet and exercise are the last three keys to maintaining younger looks according to fashion mags and as I think we have already established, I must try harder.