Posted by: purplediva | January 26, 2010

Allure of the older woman….

plump 48!

I am a ‘Woman’. 48 years old, and in the prime of my life. I should by all accounts be happy with yesterday article in The Daily Mail(click anywhere here for link) entitled ‘Seductive, confident and knowing: The allure of the older woman has novelist Howard Jacobson enthralled’, but I’m not.

Lovely Lumley will also link to article...poke!

Having read the article through several times, the first time I smiled. The second time I was a little picky, by the third time I took issue with certain points and started to think about it more in depth and found it patronising with a lot of nonsensical rubbish. The fourth time, I made notes.

The very last line for me is key ‘In fact, the older woman has it all – if only she knew it’. Well yes Mr Jacobson we should have it all but you have totally and fundamentally failed to mention, or indicate one crucial point in that article…..RESPECT.

Respect isn’t a God given right by any means, it has to be earned. I have no doubt that there are as many rogue women out there in the World, as there are men, but I don’t personally know of ANY women that have reached their ‘older’ years without having earned that respect.

You’re feeling decidedly less gorgeous than you were a decade ago. Age has crept up on you whilst the rest of your world has spun violently around you. You have stood still, but gravity, life and responsibility has dragged your body, and your spirit into a spiral.

We are constantly bombarded with imagery that is difficult to ignore. The perfect body, the perfect face, the perfect mother, the perfect lover….and always with the knowledge that we could be traded at any time for that younger, sleeker, streamlined….up to date model. There is mounting pressure to be gorgeous in your 40’s and way beyond. And woe betide any woman that doesn’t conform…failure status is guaranteed.

Our grooming routine consisted of a hair cut every few weeks, and maybe if we were lucky we might get a manicure and pedicure and a new razor, when we were in pre holiday preen mode, and we were quite contented with that.  Now we feel the additional pressure to not only be the perfect housekeeper, cook, nurse, companion, taxi driver and be everything to everyone else, growing teenagers, grandchildren, elderly parents, grumpy partners, but we are also expected to find the time to be glamorous women.

We are not all blessed with beautiful genes, or the money to fake it. We don’t all age beautifully or gracefully, it takes work. Hard work. Indeed, siblings with different life experiences will age differently. Smoking, alcohol, diet, play, weather, and exercise all play a part in the ageing process. And yet the media dictates that ‘we’ look a certain way. And there can be no mistaking, this IS a female bias.

The BBC had a torrent of complaints in light of it’s sacking of judge, Arlene Phillips from Strictly Come Dancing, adding fuel to the flames they’d already lit over their policy of no female newsreaders over 50. Yet are more than happy with males over 50…hmmm. Catwalk models having only just thrown their toys from their prams and are already so androgynous that they are barely distinguishable as ‘girls’ let alone ‘women’ . The article has the audacity to intimate that we court youth, masking it as girlishness by our own volition! The greatest mistake the modern woman makes is to suppose she can graft a girl – the girl she once was or another girl entirely – on to her ageing features.

It doesn’t stop at just the hairdresser and beautician anymore, we now have; nail technicians; spray tanning; eyebrow bars (yes, seriously.); Personal image consultants; personal shoppers; dietician (slimming world or weight-watchers doesn’t count) Spin classes; Pilates or yoga; and if you have time, a myriad of keep fit DVD’s . Oh and in your spare time you ‘tweet’ and probably Facebook, and that’s without me even mentioning that four letter word….W O R K. Because the vast majority of women will probably be holding down a job in some capacity now too. All without the celebrity addition of chefs, nanny’s and housekeepers!

one lump or two?

Oh and don’t get me started about the shopping and cooking. We are encouraged to buy ethically, locally, organically and now frugally! I’m lucky if I can remember all that whilst I’m frantically clicking the computer keyboard for Waitrose to deliver. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have time for the politically incorrect and demonised glass of wine that I feel that I’ve earned.

Those that are fortunate enough to have been blessed with good genes, certainly good health, and good fortune…well GOOD luck to them. If they choose to have surgery because they want it for their self esteem, then so be it. No eyebrows would be raised should they, decide to get a tattoo, buy a motorbike and take off on Route 66. But then that would be allowed wouldn’t it? It would be a mid life crisis…that’s okay, then…..THAT’s acceptable 😉

Oh Mummy.....

Should that time come when we have a little time on our hands and discover the real us again, by removing the veil of responsibility bit by bit and thus so unmasking our own ‘likes’ and possibly recognizing our desires and in doing so learn to live our lives again after years spent behind their partners, in the shadows, and we run of the risk of being branded: Cougars; MILF, or the older term ‘mutton dressed as lamb’  Another label for us to wear with not so much pride.

Better, after all, to be chosen by a woman who has known many lovers and has many a tale to tell about them, than by a girl who has no one to compare you to. Oh I applaud this comment for its common sense, but you are I fear, in a minority. Despite this, no one either male or female wants a lover that has had countless lovers. The insinuation being of a sordid past. Whilst worn as a badge of honour for men, historically it is still I fear quite wrongly, regarded as the mark of a sleazy, immoral woman……Life Sir.

I’ve earned the right to be a WOMAN. And I’ve earned the right to dress how I like, speak how I like, and spend my money how I like (even if that involves a surgical knife) and most definitely behave how I like, without you Mr Jacobson…. telling me what is or isn’t acceptable to a male.  No matter what my behaviour is, or is not I remain a Lady always.   And on that note…..

Quite frankly my dear…..I don’t give a fucking damn.

Amazingly enough....

And no…I’ve not had any surgery.  Cakes are keeping my lines perfectly plumped!


  1. Absolutely stunning piece of writing. Well done Ms May.

  2. you only need to look back in history to see the figures of real women ..shapley curvy ..and fed ..idiols were made of us … paintings . women bring forth life for god sakes …. do we not get any credit or honour for that … no its still the kitchen sink for many …..we are evolving back to our original route where women ruled this earth … we were Queens and Goddesses .. and so shall we be again one day …..xx.. i find coke works for me

  3. Such a shame there wasn’t enough space to print all this in the DM comments! Great post – and so well said 🙂

    • It made me so angry when reading the article and yet everyone appeared to applaud his ‘praise of older women’ !!! Thank you SO much for taking the time to comment, it really does make a difference 😀

  4. I think women are so much harder on themselves than men. Maybe I live in a dreamworld, but I know plenty of men who have left their wives and gotten divorced. Not one of those divorces was caused by the wife getting older and having gravity do its thing.
    Instead, men tire of their wives or girlfriends when one of two things happens: the woman becomes unbearably ‘old’ in spirit, turning in a cantakerous bitch, or she becomes intellectually boring.
    Many affairs happen because the ‘new’ woman is simply more interesting. Looks only go so far.

    • I agree with you totally Sir. I think it’s a trap many women fall into. They have been there in a supporting role for so long and in some cases ‘accept’ their lives will be nothing more than that, that they eventually become invisible. Sadly, becoming maybe just another object in the household. Taken for granted by partners, children and elderly parents and extended family. Their confidence and self esteem is at an all time low, just as the mere fact of being a woman, and mother nature deals them another blow in that their hormones take a dive with the onset of the menopause. Mood swings, hot flushes and the other side effects only serve to erode their self loathing even further. Just as their partners career is at an all time high, and he is coasting on his success…’she’ is lost, searching for herself whilst everything she has known is deserting her. Parents die, children leave and ‘he’ turns his attentions elsewhere because she is no longer interesting. However hard she may try, it becomes like tying a bow on a bouquet of dead flowers. They need nurturing, with love and affection in order to bloom again. It may be too little too late though. But for HER, salvation too may be there, as SHE may be the one to seek that nurturing, in the form of affection from elswhere too. It’s not exclusive to males 🙂

  5. Why be controversial, freedom of speak is allowed, as soon as we give in and accept what is written without debate, we lose who we are and the identify of oneself disappears into the pack or follows like a herd of sheep.

    Who says journalist are right, how many times has it be found that they have made things up to provoke a reaction, for there own gain!!!

    We need strong people to challenge and stand up and be counted….

    You are one of these.

  6. Very nice post daisy. Too man women are made to feel akin to a household implement by their families when what they should be doing is grasping onto life with both hands and clinging on as tightly as they can.

    We only get one shot at this…… take it, live it, love it. 🙂

  7. I really liked reading your post!. Quallity content.
    thanks for sharing

  8. you do write so well, what a pleasure to read your blogs which are always though provoking…

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