mirror (look in one)
I was listening to an interview this week in which the man being interviewed, who is married and the father of daughters, said that he looks at his wife’s friends “who used to be hot at 35” and now they are 41, 42 (his age) and just… “not.”
“They’ve had a couple of kids, and it’s sad to see them still trying to get by on their looks,” he said, “but I feel kind-of vindicated now because it was hard for me to get girls when I was younger.”
“And I feel like we, as men, get better-looking as we age,” he said.
So of course I had to immediately google his photo, and naturally he is your average, flabby and pasty, middle-aged dude. Compared to photos of him ten years ago, he is not getting better-looking. I won’t be cruel enough to post his name because in other respects he seems like a decent person (although perhaps that makes his comments all the more insidious).
Personally I think he is confusing objective attractiveness with the fact that men are still seen as attractive by society when they are no longer young while women are not. It is reminiscent of the way that women are expected to have exceptionally slim physiques while men are acceptable at any weight short of obese. And just as an aside, from all the reports I’ve heard of school reunions, it’s the women who have aged better than the men, since they have worked harder at keeping themselves up.
And don’t get me started (again?) on the middle-aged men who are still bitter that they couldn’t get the head cheerleader in high school, conveniently ignoring the fact that they quite likely bypassed the average girls who may have been in their league.
What depresses me even further about his comments is that he has an over-40 wife and a couple of daughters. I know lots of women who are married to men with these kinds of attitudes; I guess they feel like being married is worth it, and I guess I just don’t.
I think it’s a good thing to be aware that these attitudes exist, but I’m trying hard not to let them ground me down. The stress of my job and the depressing economy is enough for that. It does make me hesitate about getting involved with an older man though because I hate to play into this mindset.
I’ve decided that all I can do is continue to pursue those activities that make me feel good about myself and my body. That way there are areas in my life where I am still growing and learning and improving, despite some of the attitudes that exist about women my age.