When I first met my friend, Louise, she was almost 80 and referred to all of her female friends as “girls” or “girlfriends” as in, “Let’s get the girls together for lunch.” The first time I heard that, I chuckled because most of Louise’s girlfriends hadn’t been girls in over 60 years.
At the time I was 35, and my contemporaries and I still thought of ourselves as invincible.
We were game for anything. We still had our uteruses intact; none of our husbands had died and facelifts were something we’d never do because the only woman we knew who’d had a facelift couldn’t shut her eyelids. She looked like a Chinese space alien with a thyroid problem, and if you’re wondering how she could’ve had bulging eyes that protruded from narrow eyelids, I don’t know, but she did.
Now that I’m older, I have women friends in their 90s—as well as women in their 20s—and like Louise, I call them all “girlfriends.” My girlfriends over 50 can identify with the effects of decreased estrogen like crepey skin—spellchecker keeps wanting to change it to “creepy… “ Okay. I’m not going to split thinning hairs over this… creepy skin and vaginas as dry as granny’s drawers.
While there are things worse than getting older—like not getting older—there are also things that scare me more than aging:
- Thin, tight, white pants.
- Realizing the scorpion on my sweater’s been there since I left home.
- Seeing a photo of me taken while I’m standing under a fluorescent light… wearing thin, tight, white pants.
- Being taken off a six-minute “hold” while I’ve decided to run to the loo.
- Understanding how crabby old women get that way.
- The nice guys I’m attracted to are either too young for me, married or dead.
- Telling a suspected Mafia Don I don’t want him as an investor.
- Feeling sorry for the one macaroni glued to the bottom of the box.
- My mother asking her cardiologist if the bra in her hand belonged to him.
- Handing my business partner tweezers to pluck her chin hairs before a board meeting.
I don’t know about your mother, but my mother never told me squat. She didn’t explain the birds and the bees or monthly periods. She didn’t tell me my father died–and I was 12 and living in the same house with her–or that she had a sister and two brothers. Why should I be surprised she didn’t tell me about creepy skin or that my neck would start to go before I was 50? At least she demonstrated what happens when you marry a man who’s too old for you. Now that’s really scary!