Saturday, February 28, 2015

Youth Fades -- Must We? (Part 1)

One of the great joys of blogging is the friendships you form with other bloggers.  Jennifer Connolly, creator of the fabulous Blog “A Well Styled Life,” and I are kindred spirits on so many levels it’s almost scary.  Our regular, bi-coastal (she on the west; I on the east) conversations on everything from style and fashion to the challenges of aging gracefully are always a bright spot in my day.  So, when she asked if I would be interested in collaborating on the topic of the invisibility factor in the lives of women over 50, I jumped at the chance to work with one of the best bloggers in the business. 



Here is my take on the topic. 



It’s no secret that America is a youth-obsessed country.  When I was young, my friends and I couldn’t wait to grow up.  Today, nobody wants to grow up.  Middle-aged men in scruffy t-shirts, cargo pants and flip-flops are not only dressing like their teen-aged sons, but have adopted their behavior and speech patterns, as well.  And, NO………..it’s NOT AWESOME!!!!



Courtesy of Jane Heller Confessions of a She-Fan

Is it any wonder that, living in a Peter Pan society, mature women in their fifties and sixties start to feel as if they are slowly fading into the background?  Sometimes we just feel like shouting, “Hey, we’re still here, and we have a lot to offer!”




When I was in my twenties, I had my aura read.  Everyone was doing it.  Your aura is the energy or life force you give off, which, apparently, can be seen by professional readers as colors.  Mine had a lot of blue in it, and the reader told me lots of flattering things about people with lots of blue in their auras.  (I’ll bet she said the same things to the pinks and greens, too!)

I’m not sure whether or not I believe in auras and their colors and all that new-agey stuff, but I do believe everyone gives off a certain amount of energy, and the amount of energy a woman gives off tells the world whether or not she is still interested in being a part of it.  Is she still a player in the game?

And one of the ways a femme d’un certain âge sends the message that she’s interested in the people and things around her is the way she presents herself.  If she dresses as if she no longer cares, the world will return the sentiment.  If she dresses as if she’s trying too hard to look young, the world will not take her seriously.  




There comes a time in every woman’s life when we can no longer chase youth and we can’t run away from age – nobody can run that fast, especially in high heels. 

I know this sounds incredibly superficial, but we need to face facts.  We live in a superficial, increasingly visual world; and for men in particular, when it comes to women, the visual will always trump the verbal -- at least, in the beginning.  It doesn’t matter what’s inside; if they don’t like the wrapping, they won’t open the package.  So, how we present ourselves matters a great deal.  In fact, the older we get the more it matters, and not JUST to the opposite sex.


In Part 2 we talk about good and bad choices and some sound advice from Mme Mère.  To read Part 2, click here

In Part 3, we examine some good choices, along with some sound advice from Mme Mère that will chase the invisibility blues away.  To read Part 3, click here. 


To read Jennifer’s companion piece, "The Vanishing Older Woman - Part 1," click here. 

28 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I think with regard to men it is purely biological at some level and the survival of the species. However I think older women can have a different type of visibility, we have hopefully learnt to follow our own paths and not care to much about what others think of us

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    1. I think you are correct about male biology and survival of the species. At our age, we can no longer bear their children, but I think we have something much more important to do -- we have a civilizing effect on them and society.

      As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

      Chees, M-T

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  2. This was a great read...can't wait for part 2.

    Popped by from Jennifer's blog.

    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Dear Suzanne, pop by any time and often. Lovely to have you.

      Bisous to you, too,
      M-T

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  3. Hop over to see what I said on Jennifer's blog.

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    1. I'll do that. Marsha. Thanks for hopping over here.

      Cheers, M-T

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  4. I totally agree with the 'visibility' factor or lack thereof. Unfortunately, in my experience, it is from both men and women. Remaining stylish and current for oneself becomes harder to do as we age, and certainly more thought must go in to it. This hit very hard for me when I was around 50 or so. One unpleasant experience I had was in a major department store. The saleswoman called me 'dear' (a pet hate of mine!) more than once during the transaction. My response was probably the most 'pleasant' yet cutting tirade I have ever given - I was so angry I was shaking. Another was bra shopping, when the saleswoman asked me if I could afford the bra (it was expensive). Once again, internally raging, I quietly and firmly responded (the previous evening I came off a long haul flight and was still pretty tired so probably not in the best frame of mind for this type of comment). I feel at times, now approaching 60, that remaining visible on all levels is vital.

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    1. Oh, my Dear eb, I just loved your comment. I absolutely agree that the visibility factor is a bi-sexual one (if I may use the term in this sense). Women, especially young women, can be the biggest offenders. Please don't call me "dear." It's like patting me on the head and saying, "now run off and don't bother me." I would also love to know what your pleasant/cutting tirade was. Would you mind sharing it w/us? I'm sure it was just perfect!

      Remaining "visible" is, indeed, vital -- and you can take that to the bank. I celebrated my 63rd birthday in early February, and I won't be taking a back seat to anyone anytime soon.

      Stop by again.

      Cheers, M-T

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  5. Oh I'm looking forward to part 2; whether it's superficial or not, I hope I'll always try to look the best I can.

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    1. Don't worry, Deborah, although we are obligated to pay homage to a superficial world, doing our best to look our best is NOT superficial, but empowering.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  6. Once our life is no longer about appearances, I believe that we are free to live our "authentic" life. That's not to say that older women should neglect grooming or fashion. We can even be more dramatic if we choose! As we age, perhaps a smile, a spirit of adventure and a caring, compassionate nature are more important than a smooth complexion or a slender body. We don't need to be "invisible" but perhaps can be appreciated more fully by a discerning eye. The trouble is that the qualities possessed by a "fully evolved" woman can not be marketed and we live in a consumer society.

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    1. Oh, I do agree with you. I feel I have more to offer now than when I was in my 20s/30s. Appealing to the discerning eye is a great way to express it. I've said the same many times. It's a Kardashian world and we are "caviar to the generals." We need to celebrate that. Would you like to join me in a glass of Veuve Clicquot?

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  7. I always try to look my best! I don't think it's superficial in any way. It's a form of self respect for me. Great post on this topic my friend!! I love your perspective.
    Chat soon.
    xx Jennifer

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    1. How sweet of you to pop over and leave a comment, my friend. May I return the favor?

      Chat soon.

      xoxo, M-T

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  8. It takes me longer to look presentable than it did when I was in my 20's or 30's but I do make the effort...
    even if women of a certain age are invisible to many we seem to notice each other!
    Look forward to your next post!

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    1. Oh, my Dear, the days of rolling out of bed and out the door (to the extent that they ever existed) are long over for me, as well. It make take a bit more effort at our age, but it's so worth it. We'll keep the conversation going in my next post and, due to an overwhelming response, Jennifer and I may be doing a Part 3 on the subject. Stay tuned.

      Thanks so much for stopping by -- "je vous en remercie."

      Ciao for now, M-T

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  9. Excellent post! Attempting to look my best every day is therapeutic for me...it gives me confidence, joy and keeps me feeling like I am engaged in the world around me. I do it for me more than anyone...I am fine if men look right through me...their loss...I have a wonderful husband! I do find that I have the respect and ear of the younger bloggers in my community when I dress well to cover events with them.

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    1. I love that you say "Attempting" to look your best...." From what I have seen of your Blog, and I do stop by, I would say you definitely succeed. It does, indeed, give you that extra confidence to face anyone and anything when you are looking your best. Sometimes, just getting through the day is a battle; why deprive ourselves of some of our strongest weapons, "n'est-ce pas?" It's interesting that you mention the positive effect it has on younger bloggers when they see you looking your best. Excellent observation.

      Making the effort is always worthwhile. I will be touching more on that in Part 3. Part 2 will be up by early next week (I hope!). Your husband is a lucky man.

      Stop by again.

      Cheers, M-T

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  10. I am a woman of a certain age who is trying hard to age gracefully. It is becoming more difficult when you look at media & magazine ads featuring older women who have had a lot of photo retouching. Christy Brinkley in a recent magazine ad, for I believe Barney's, seriously looks about 25. She is 60. A;though she claims to be aging naturally (no plastic surgery) I seriously doubt it. Now, the new 50 is supposed to look 20 & the new 60 to look 30.. It takes much more than drinking a lot of water & doing yoga & pilates to take 20 years off.

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    1. Ooh, Rosie, I think you have discovered their secret. Shhh. Don't breathe a word of it. They think we believe them when they tell us that all it takes to look as good as they look at their age is exercise, a healthy diet, lots of water and a positive attitude. I've been told by those who know that cosmetic surgeons never get invited to "A" list parties in Hollywood, and, if they should show up w/an invited guest, nobody seems to know them (including their own patients). Funny about that.

      Thanks for the great comment, Rosie.

      Cheers, M-T

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  11. Well, no blog for w. over 70 ? Well well, as I look far younger, your blog is as well for me.
    End of carrière, if I will have to stop in a year and so, is juste because I will not have no studio anymore. The house will probably be destroy to make a bright new stupid house, with thins walls.
    Because that, I will not able to work until 80. Zut alors.

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    1. Chère Béatrice, soyez la bienvenue sur mon blog. My blog is perfect for all women d'un certain âge. The stylish side of 60 goes well beyond the 60s. I have many readers/followers in their 70s and would love to count you among them. You appear to be a woman of many interests and talents.

      I hope you will continue your career for many decades to come.

      Cheers, M-T

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  12. Interesting post, M-T and I join everyone here in looking forward to the next part. We've all been hearing about the invisibility of older women in the last few year, and I get it. But I'm hard pressed to recall a time when I felt invisible. Patronized or insulted, certainly, but not often and not without response. Since I'm short, often brightly colored, extroverted and, I like to think, assertive (much better term than "pushy") at 65, I don't feel much different than I was at 35 in this regard. I'm hard to miss. But I can empathize and can fully identify.
    Like eb noted in her comments, it's easy to refer to older women with diminutives; sweetie, honey, etc. The night of my 65th birthday found me working at the little restaurant that we own and operate. There was a largeish party of 30-somethings who clearly had indulged in drinks before dinner. One of the men slurred at me, "Wasss yer name, sweedart?" I squared off and said "Tonight is my 65th birthday, and from here on in and forever more, you may refer to me as "Ma'am", and I forbid you to use it to call me from across the room like a dog." Big smile. They all laughed uneasily and were a lot nicer for the rest of the evening.
    Like eb, I hate being called pet names by strangers, but will tolerated it from an older woman, never from a younger one or from a man of any age except very close friends, relatives and my husband. We need to raise consciousness about this, or begin referring to our menfolk as "little fella". Seems fair to me.
    I'm with you, eb.
    I'm actually reveling in the time of life when I'm well out of the youthful period of biological imperative that drives the competition for a mate. I never was a prime catch, and really feel closer to my full potential as a woman who no longer has to address anything reproductive. Pity those women who can't evolve past frantically trying to preserve that fragile beauty of youth. Never having been conventionally pretty, I'm glad I don't have to even try for it. And while I'm not looking forward exactly to the end of life, I really feel like youth, particularly for women in our culture, is overrated. I also think 74 is going to be a very good year for me.
    All this bravado aside, if one of us is treated as if we no longer matter, then all of us are diminished. Thank you for being one who is helping us keep the consciousness raised.




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    1. Well, all I can say, Jan, is "Brava!!!" Your comment is worthy of a post in and of itself. I couldn't agree more. And, from what I have seen through your delightful Blog, we short, colorful ladies take no prisoners and will not be ignored!! Note to world: Ignore us at your own peril!!!

      Many thanks for your wonderful comment.

      Part 2 coming up very soon. Stay tuned.

      Cheers, M-T

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  13. I thought I would enjoy being invisible. One day I heard these words from my boss " you are too old". I am 56 and have been told I look forty. Ha. Now I am going to realize my dream of opening an art studio. Old be damned.

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    1. Ouch!! That hurts! So glad you decided not to slink away and become less visible in the face of such unbelievable rudeness, not to mention total blindness. Instead, you decided to follow your dream of opening an art studio. Brava!! Well done!! We're never too old to dream, to realize those dreams and to wear red lipstick.

      Cheers, M-T

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  14. I am SO with you, M-T! If you remember, a year ago I did a blog series on aging gracefully, and you were one of the women I featured as role models. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next installments.

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    1. I do remember the blog series you did on aging gracefully and was honored to be among the ladies you profiled.

      The next two installments have already been posted. Here's the link.

      Part 2 - http://thefrenchtouch-m-t.blogspot.com/2015/03/youth-fades-must-we-part-2.html

      Part 3 - http://thefrenchtouch-m-t.blogspot.com/2015/03/youth-fades-must-we-part-3.html

      Always a joy to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy.

      Cheers, M-T

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