I’m packing for our upcoming 25th anniversary cruise. And a sobering truth is sinking in.
I’m 59, and I don’t get to be sexy anymore. Waaaa.
Dang, that sounds so sad, doesn’t it?
I’m ashamed to admit that so much of my adult life has been about my personal appearance, which makes me sound quite shallow. From the moment I knew that I was attractive to a male, I was all about strutting my stuff. I loved dressing up, I loved wearing sexy outfits, I loved fixing my hair and makeup, and I wore heels because they made my long, lean, toned legs look great.
My heels haven’t been out for a strut in a while. I love comfy flip flops, flats, boots and mocs. Lean and toned are not what they used to be.
Over the years, I loved turning heads. I secretly liked guys flirting and coming on to me, even when they were somewhat sleazy or disgusting.
But what really is “sexy?” Why are we so wooed by it? Doesn’t it just mean that others covet sex with you? I’d like to think those aren’t my motives now at nearly 60, but losing the young thing isn’t easy.
This is a hard “habit” to let go, the concern to appear young and sexy. Face it, we’re not all Christy Brinkly.
I currently love yoga pants (and yes, I actually DO yoga 4-5 a week). Especially the ones that hold you in and help your butt look good. But yoga pants can only do so much, and I’ll keep working on the butt and fighting gravity. Not everyone can or should wear yoga pants. But that day I wore shorts to yoga and looked at my thighs in down-dog is burned into my eyes like acid. 59 year old thighs, no matter how muscular, don’t look smooth and taut. Not everyone can wear shorts either—I’m sad to admit.
So I am having to deal with reality here. In spite of having lost (and gained and lost) weight in recent years, the old body is just that—old. It’s withstood nearly 6 decades of wear and tear, and popped out 3 babies. I stay fairly active, but could always do more. I can still hike 6-7 miles in a day, but I will be feeling it. As for 10,000 steps a day—let’s just say that is not my everyday.
Attractive is achievable. I want to think that healthy is key goal, and as long as I can I’ll put the skis or hiking boots on. I think I need my focus to be on achieving classy or “striking” or even “stunning” mature woman. I’ve seen some of these. They have bravely allowed their hair to go soft grey but wear it stylishly long (and not butch short). They dress smartly, obviously taking care in their appearance and accessories. Make up is tasteful and not overboard. Faces are adorned with beautiful smiles and healthy teeth, amid the character lines boasting a life well-led. The Audrey Hepburn-esque grace and poise.
“The beauty in a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart; the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”
Sure, I’ve read the Proverbs 31 wife, and really tried to take it to heart: charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Hmmmmm. Easier said than done. Oh, I do fear the Lord. And I shouldn’t worry about whether anyone else finds that attractive in me. I know my worth is far deeper than my character lines and wobbly bits. SJ does too.
I once saw a story about an aging sex-goddess, who had assiduously kept up her youthful appearance with exercise, plastic surgery, modern fashions, and long shiny hair, setting high store on looking good. She related walking along the beach one evening, to have a young man who could have been a son or perhaps grandson, come up from behind her with a sexy pick up line. When she turned and he saw her face, his grew shocked. “I’m so sorry… I thought…” he stumbled. “Excuse me ma’am.” He beat a hasty retreat. The woman suddenly realized that in spite of her best efforts to look “young,” her age showed—and she also wondered, why did it matter? Did she think she would attract a young man half her age? And for what reason?
I look at my packing pile and realize it’s replete with comfortable cottony dresses, Bermuda shorts, cute tops, and probably the one-piece bathing suit, along with the Land’s End SPF long-sleeve top (I can’t tell you how many horrible burns I’ve had from snorkeling). Comfy flip flops and flats. A wide-brimmed hat with Annie-Hall-esque flair. A lightweight tomato-red Marmot rain jacket, and possibly my jeans jacket. Lots of colorful scarves collected during world travels. Clothing that is stylish, colorful, comfortable, complimentary to my long torso. No “muumus” (large, voluminous, flowey, tent-like dresses, which are SJ’s bugaboo). For a brief moment, I think about the short little black dress and high heels for “formal night.”
And I realize that I’ll be just as happy in my flip flops and cotton sundress. Grey hairs, character lines, and all.
Sitting in the deck chair next to my old man who loves me just as I am for 25 years now.