This question really hit me when I read the story of that attractive woman on MORE.com who said she was somewhere in her 60s but people thought she looked 23, or whatever. Yes, I begrudgingly admit she looked like a college co-ed, but is this what I should strive for? I know the idea is that if I work hard enough at anything I can be whatever I want, inside and out, but in the nature versus nurture struggle, some of us got short sheeted.
I won’t mince words. I am a 57-year-old, round, wispy-haired, short-toothed woman, so it is pretty clear that I need a fairly aggressive plan to not look or behave like 57. The problem is, I am still trying to figure out what 57 should look like for me.
Let me start with the bathing suit part of the competition. I hate to sound catty, but my favorite MORE.com magazine sometimes features very fit 60-plus women in bikinis, and I would even bet that at least one had probably given birth to a child a day or two earlier.On the other hand, when I waddle around in my bathing suit girdle, which I will admit is made of a black and white cow-looking fabric, the males in my family actually mooooo, which is so incredibly pathetic. Anyway, I keep hoping the bikini babes get dressed and are kicked to the archives, and I can spend more time looking at the woman with 30 rollers in her hair instead. That woman I can compete with!
My jealousy goes way beyond bikinis however. I also look enviously at MORE.com’s contributors with thick, dark hair flowing over their shoulders. I’m not going to lie to you, I really want that hair. I think I am actually down to about 226 hairlets—half are gray and half are brown—which mathematically average to a taupe color, kinda the color of a Weimaraner dog, but with the texture of a dandelion gone to seed. I try to spray those hairs into submission but they are just too stubborn, much like myself.
When I see stories about women who run 17 miles daily on their lunch breaks then nibble on a healthy meal of flax seed bread and yogurt, I feel bad because I don’t run and I have a very different lunchtime routine at work. I usually eat a whole wheat sandwich made with alternating ham and turkey slices and a little lite mayo to hold it all together (hey, at least it’s lite mayo). Then just to top off my meal, I steal a Hershey mini-bar from Peggy’s glass bowl. Sometimes two. Sorry, Peggy!
And then there’s those smiling women with brilliant white chicklet teeth. My little pint-size porcelain pegs have worn down from either teeth grinding, or “eating sand” as my comedian dentist says. I have to smile like a doofus just so you can see that I even have teeth. “Yes, Miss Diane, you can get them enlarged for a mere $1.5 million,” or whatever he quoted right before I passed out from sticker shock. As if short teeth aren’t enough to worry about, I even have a tiny chip out of a front tooth as a result of my sneaking a sticky toffee from my son’s Halloween loot bag. One day when my ship comes in, I will consider a tooth makeover. Add it to my list of body part re-dos.
Then there’s those determined women who lose 20 pounds in 20 days and keep it off doing sit ups and lunges every day of the week. Now listen, I have lost a bunch of pounds over the years but more than a few have found their way home again. I suspect it is partly due to those luscious licorice allsorts which I can find at Rite-Aid on the very bottom shelf if I get down on my hands and knees and really search, which I have been known to do. But I am planning to start doing a sit up or two every morning and night with a few extra sit ups on the weekend to really tone my abs, then I‘ll write a story about my adventure that will get a huge number of "I liked it!" clicks, of which none will be from my family.