Category: Aging

hiding, guaranteed invisibility

bathers

“How To Hide your Upper Arms” — the title of a post I read recently! It made me sad and then mad.

I’m not into maximum exposure at all times. Probably like many of you, I think that covering can be just as attractive as lots of skin, if not more so. For God’s sake though, hide my arms? When Nora Ephron said she felt bad about her neck, she didn’t say that meant forever after hiding her neck with turtlenecks, did she? 

The desire to hide what has changed so drastically over the years is understandable.

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longer lives and fewer children

lady

“Well into the twentieth century, people died not that long after their last child left home. (In 1900, the average US life expectancy was forty-seven.) Now, in an unprecedented shift, parents are likely to have twice as much time with their adult kids than they spent with them as children. Longer lives and fewer children are transforming the traditional “family tree” into what sociologists have dubbed the “beanpole family,” stretched vertically across time but with few members in each generation. Fewer siblings, aunts, and cousins, but related to more living generations. More shared history, more cross-generational relationships, exhausting and exhilarating.” 

From This Chair Rocks, by Ashton Applewhite

Anita

the male gaze

91-year-old-mother-playful-photography-elderly-women-strange-ones-tony-luciani-1

 “I had grown used to being invisible, had all but forgotten what feminists call ‘the male gaze,’ until accompanying my visiting granddaughters down New York City streets I became aware of the change in atmosphere. 

 

Men turned around to check them out. There were catcalls from construction sites. And the word ‘duenna’ suddenly popped to mind. That is what I was—the elderly chaperone, glaring and rushing my girls along; they all the while laughing (as those young Spanish maidens must have) at my futile efforts.

 

Do I miss being the recipient of a stranger’s sexual interest? Not at all.

 

Do I miss striding along without an ache or pain, in confidence that the physical self that was being contemplated could walk for miles on end without tiring. Yes, indeed.”

 

From The Lioness In Winter, by Ann Burack-Weiss

Photo: Tony Luciani.

Anita