Disclaimer: I understand that many/most people have bigger fish to fry while the world is falling apart than to sit and contemplate this vanity-induced post here, so if you do comment, please be kind (but still honest) – I have no qualms blocking anyone if you attack or put down someone’s opinion on my blog.
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Once upon a time when I was young and stupid, I dated some people I shouldn’t have.
Recently, I reflected on some comments one of them made, that have me irked. (sorry not sorry)
Here’s one that surfaced today:
Reference: He’s a pilot (30 something), I’m a flight attendant (20 something), we’re at some function that has other pilots and their wives there, some of them quite a bit older.
These are the comments he made (in front of me no less):
Comment 1: “She’s still got it.” (about some pretty wife of a colleague)
Comment 2: “She let herself go.” (to an older wife who put on some weight and clearly would have preferred staying home to take a nap)
Here’s my interpretation of these idiotic comments today:
Reaction to comment 1: “She always had it and you’re an idiot.” (I didn’t say that then but should have, and would have today)
Reaction to comment 2: “She’s amazing and you’re a fucking idiot.” (same as above)
First of all, what is it about women getting older and suddenly it’s either ‘she still has it‘ or ‘she let herself go‘?
Or the word ‘still‘?
What’s this whole thing about ‘looking well put together at all times‘ because ‘you never know who you might bump into‘?
(No wonder I’m insecure. Look at the company I was keeping…) 🙄
What is it anyway? Make-up, heels and a slender, toned body? Expensive clothes? Dripping in jewellery? Some rich idiot on your arm?
(Good thing I have a blog to hurl this stuff into…) 🙃
Secondly, I remember what my early to mid 40s were like. I had a baby, my second, who drained me for 18 months nursing every couple of hours.
She didn’t sleep through the night, in her own bed, for four and a half years.
4 years and 6 months with a toddler attached to you 24/7. Let that sink into your brain.
(Before you start pointing fingers and making unhelpful comments about letting her cry it out or bla bla BLAH, I did what I did, and now she’s the most amazing 12 year old so shut up with your parenting advice. Do what you need to do. I support you.)
Ask me if I cared what I wore, or how I styled my hair, or wtf was going on with the husband or the other kid or the dog or the house and I will tell you I didn’t care. I just wanted to know when I could sleep next.
Looking back to that time now, I wonder, what did people think of me when I stumbled around like some demented zombie on no sleep with two active toddlers for god knows how many years?
Did people say things like ‘she let herself go‘ about me?
Well I did let myself go. So what. Who cares. I was barely awake. Barely functioning. It’s not like those people came over to babysit while I took a nap.
After she went to Kindergarten and then full day school, it took another several years to overcome this trauma, and only then, by the later part of my 40s, did I start to feel myself again.
And that’s when I, too, fell into the whole ‘look better to feel better’ trap.
Or is it a trap? (This is a matter of perspective and you are entitled to your opinion.)
I remember actually stopping to look at clothes and shoes for purposes other than practical.
I bought shoes with a slight heel for the first time since my flight attendant days. 👠 I don’t remember what type of shoes I wore while chasing toddlers, but they didn’t have any heel, I guarantee you.
Then I bought mascara. And eyeliner.
And lipstick. 💄 Not a nude colour, either. Something dark and sultry. 💋
I even went for a hair cut and asked her to style me, not just blow dry me.
STYLE my hair.
I needed a pick me up and this self-induced vanity seemed to do something to my psyche. Looking in the mirror when my hair wasn’t a mess and my eyes were open and, you know, clear and awake, it made me feel better… 👀
It’s all very confusing.
Today, I play around with my look a little bit as well. I am admitting this right here on the social internet. I fuss and dress and pose for stupid selfies and put make-up on and heels and jewellery all because it’s fun. I have a little bit more time these days because of children who sleep through the night in their own beds. Actually, said children go to bed after I do. (I would have never thought that day would come…)
I play around with getting dressed when I do go out, even if it’s just the lawyer’s office or the bank or some grocery story, just because I can.
It helps me to navigate my midlife crisis. 😉
But those comments…they still irk me today. Even if they’re meant as a compliment. She’s still got it.
Yes I do. Not because of the hair and make up and heels, but because I always did, even when I was stumbling around like a sleep-deprived zombie.
And so do you.
Tell me what you think. I welcome all views; but please keep in mind different geographical areas have different opinions about what is, or isn’t, considered vain, or fluff, or unnecessary. I’m interested in what you FEEL when you hear a comment like that, or what you THINK when you make a comment like that.
See you in the comments.