One of my most amazing feats these days is being invisible. You’d think that would qualify me as some sort of superhero, but actually quite the opposite is true: I am an ordinary female in my sixties, which means I occupy space yet am virtually unseen. I truly believe I could publicly disrobe and turn zero heads, except in winter when I might get on the news for braving the elements. I am still visible to my cats, especially first thing in the morning when I enter the kitchen.
I do not feel personally persecuted; after all, women my age who are a whole lot better-looking than I ever was continue to disappear. A good indicator of this trend is People magazine, that public relations rag wherein young actresses display their latest tattoos, designer duds and diet secrets. Gone forever from its pages are Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda, Cher, Bette Midler, Sally Field, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and Anjelica Huston, replaced with I've never heard of any of them.
Why is this? I have reduced it to an easy-to-comprehend mathematical formula: FOD + LOM = SS, which means Fear of Death plus Love of Money equals Sex Sells. From the moment you get up in the morning, talk of sex dominates, and I don’t just mean at my house. With the temporary exception of the political scandal of the week, naked bodies and pierced navels jump out at you from the TV, Internet, or newsstand, along with ads for Viagra and Cialis and my personal favorite, Extenz, a penis-enhancement product “guaranteed to grow several inches on a certain male member.” Sexiness is a highly valued commodity in our society, and flashing your Medicare card just ain't that sexy.
Many of my peers are fighting the inevitable desiccation on the way out. For example, one just had injections of some “plumping liquid” that will allegedly stimulate collagen growth so her wrinkles will fill out, at least until she laughs or cries. Several others have had face lifts, making it difficult to determine how they really feel about aging, but despite their smooth faces, those flashing, neon "I'M MENOPAUSAL" signs above their heads render them invisible too.
So what’s the big deal? Well, while I’m not an aging movie queen clinging to an adoring public, it would be nice to command a waiter’s attention without having to stand on a chair, or have a salesperson offer to help or even just take my money, or get a response to a job application; my age on paper makes me invisible as well. Once upon a time I was regarded as a witty and somewhat off-the wall artiste, popular with all three sexes. But as I age, there are fewer offers coming from more people, and this is even with coloring my hair; God only knows what life is like for all those white-haired ladies.
I guess if I had grandchildren they would adore me, since I would shower them with gifts and affection, but since I screwed up the natural course of events by becoming a mother late in life, that won't happen anytime soon. My son, who is way past the age of needing me, often doesn’t acknowledge my existence even when I'm right in front of him. So I write my blog. Since cats can't read or write, your comments are greatly appreciated.