There is always some specific moment when we become aware that our youth is gone; but, years after, we know it was much later.
– Mignon Mclaughlin
Sometimes I feel like a very old, 500-pound elephant. Granted, it’s usually right before my period. But hanging out with my cute, skinny girlfriends often exacerbates it. It’s not their fault, of course, but I get to feeling like some cumbersome, extra-large, Hefty trash bag bodyguard to their perfectly petite, compact, Ziplocked perfection (even though I’ve got the inside scoop on their beer-bellied, stretch-marked, celluloid-having, size-two ass!).
But then every once in awhile, in the right angle, with the proper lighting, like at dusk or by candlelight, and when the planets align just so, I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or off the reflection of a window or maybe just a really clean spoon, and I’ll think, Damn, you a fine-looking woman.
It would help if I could get the soundtrack to Stealing Beauty to follow me wherever I go but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is—I can be fetching at times. And it’s usually at those times when I’m not trying so hard. Like, when I’m out in the rain at a concert getting muddy, or in my dirty jeans, no makeup, sweaty from a hike, or just relaxing at some dive bar. Actually, the older I get, the less I could give a good goddamn shit about how I look, which can be kinda attractive—when it’s not misconstrued as frumpy.
Oh, and I’m oooooold. I mean it’s all relative, of course.
I sometimes look at photographs of myself from, say, 20 to 15 years ago—even 10 years ago. And I look at that shiny, sparkly-eyed, fresh and innocent face beaming back at me, and I’m shocked. I was really kinda beautiful when I was younger, before it all went to shit.
But of course, I didn’t know it back then. I never thought I was pretty enough. I was insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin. And I wonder how long I will be—in the present—not content with the reality of my beauty, then years from now thinking I was an asshole to not have appreciated it. Will those two versions of me ever catch up?
In person, people generally guess my age to be five-to-10 years younger than I am, and I don’t correct them. I giggle nervously or smile coyly, depending, while looking down at my feet, or into my cocktail, and quickly change the subject. So yeah, how I act deviates greatly from 8 to 80. I don’t suppose that’ll ever change.
Anyway, lately, just for kicks, I watched the first two episodes of the newest reality dating show—The Age of Love. It’s about this hot 30-year-old guy who has to choose a chick amongst a group of hot 40-ish women and another group of hot 20-something girls.
I got into it because I suspect it’s a lot easier to ascertain the differences and depths of beauty between youth and experience on television—where you can watch and judge complete strangers in all their two-dimensional glory. And I was right.
The 40-ish women are all very beautiful. They’re fit, look years younger than they are, stylish, successful and confident. So okay, they have crow’s feet when they smile, and a couple divorces—maybe a kid or two—under their belt. But they exude charisma and a comfortable sexuality that Mr. 30 is hard-pressed to resist.
And the older women say things like, “I am not a number, I am a beautiful young woman looking for a man who can equal me.” Or, “When I was younger, I didn’t think I was pretty enough, good enough. I’m at the point now where I accept myself—flaws and everything. This is for me, the best time of my life.” And, “I can still do anything a 20-year-old can do. But better.”
But of course, those 20-something ho-bags gotta come in with their tightness and their youthful braggadociousness—they are hot and haughty. But their insecurities are as eye-popping as their recent mammiferous additions.
These younger chicks say things like, “I have great morals and great thoughts. I need an intellectual challenge… I have a Malte-Poo—her personality is just like mine!”
My favorite scene is where Mr. 30, basking in the hot tub with the younger women, is “trying to get to know them.” He discovers that while all the older women have successful careers, the younger girls are doing several jobs at once. One is a dancer and is going to school for business. Another is “doing this and that, here and there.” He tries to get a straight answer out of one 25-year-old hottie, while they sit in the Jacuzzi.
“I’m trying to figure out what I want to do,” she said.
“Well, what do you love to do?” he asked.
She pauses, seemingly thinking hard on the matter, than answers with exuberance.
“I loooove to eat.”
Samantha Campos doesn’t know how to play the ‘ukulele but can make a mean shave ice. MTW