Today is my Eleventy-First Birthday!!
Ok. It’s not really my eleventy-first. It’s not even my ninety-first. I’m merely a fetus, by Shire standards. But it is a birthday, and I’m owning it, not mourning it. I went out last night for a big dinner, tapas-style, with some friends. That was very good. I ate foods I’m not supposed to eat (pork!! Chocolate!! Dates!! OMG), and I drank: 3 glasses of forbidden champagne, and 1 glass of forbidden port, in about 3 hours. Woooooo!! Very exciting. PS no migraine so far. Double wooooo!!
The weather is gorgeous, the dog is sweet and adorable and lovable. I have the taxes finally, almost done. I have a new book I’m right smack dingo in the good part of. I have a friend coming over today for fun hanging out… and I’m going to see if I can talk her into helping me set up a curtain in the dance studio, because I need to figure that out. Then maybe take a cheesecake photo or two of both of us, because that’s fun.
So I’m pondering self-image a lot these days, as I age. I’m trying to do it gracefully, not bitterly, not angrily; but it’s really difficult not to feel that I’m swimming upstream. I’ve had a couple men get freaked out when they realize I’m not the age they assume; it’s almost like they think I’m “pretending to be younger” — dudes, this is my face. It’s not pretending. It is MY FACE. This is my body. And the mind and the heart and the soul inside? All me. 100% of the time, 100% me. I tell my age when I’m asked. (Perhaps that’s the problem. Should I lie? Can’t. Won’t.) So what’s fake here?
Men of whom I speak: the problem, I fear, lies with you.
For example, I was talking to a guy last night who described himself as a certain age and “gristled”. I told him, intending to be uplifting, that I was the same age and I thought we looked great – he actually used the words “I didn’t realize you were so long in the tooth” and said, “ya hag”!! I don’t think he was joking about my white, even teeth (which are beautiful, by the way). :p He was joking on the “hag” part, but… not a cool joke, not on the birthday of a woman you hardly know. I said “Ouch!” in response, which was his cue to moderate his words, but he just dug the hole deeper. So… I was polite, because I’m generally polite, but later, dissecting the situation, I wished I’d told him not to project his shitty attitude about his own age on me… because yesterday, I took this:
..and I don’t think I look too long in the tooth. In fact, I think I look younger than I have in years. Part of that is owning my self and my age, and not letting anyone make me feel apologetic or bad or uncomfortable about it. If this “gentleman” writes me again (which is in doubt… and frankly, maybe I don’t need that), I may say directly and tactfully that it was in poor taste as a joke on a woman’s birthday. I may add “because I’m dewy and fresh as the morn, mother#$%^”, because although it’s unladylike, it’s oh so me.
Trying to grow boundaries, and protect them, and learn to interact with men in a flirtatious way, is difficult and painful stuff. But it’s important to realize when that hurt is something someone is pushing at you because they feel bad about themselves, or because of some other issue external to you. Two seconds before I told him my age, I was a hot, sumptuous, desirable woman. Two seconds after I mentioned it? A dusty antique. That, my friends, is an example of the problem having nothing to do with me at all. Thank god I’m finally learning to recognize that.
When I was 30, I cried in the bathroom at work because I was afraid of the inexorable march of time. I could only reflect, as I was typing my response to this *boy* last night, dry-faced and rolling my eyes, what a miraculous change the years have wrought. Hooray for the march of time. :} Screw that – hooray for the dance of time. Much better.
***UPDATE: Um. He was joking. There was apologizing, after I explained I was disgruntled. A whole lot of apologizing. Turns out he’s really… really a cool guy. o.O Capable of jokes that I am just now beginning to realize are jokes. But an intriguing dude nonetheless. So I’m not putting him on the scrap heap juuuust yet. And oh yeah, we’re sexting. Like mink in a bucket. Or something. Whatever situation mink would find themselves in, where they would sext a lot. :} Still. I am woman, hear me roar, and also text you sassy messages about my libido. Hurrah!!