On the road again for another panel session – this one without the opportunities for drinking and whoring networking i encountered at my last alcohol immersion event last panel session. i’m actually working – even though it’s a day and a half blitzkrieg.
As part of a “board of directors” for a day, we provide a brutal assessment of technologies, intellectual property portfolios, business strategies, public relations. This is all done in the interest of helping the companies who volunteer for this abuse to “bridge the chasm” from research and development into commercialization.
Once again, i’m a bit of an anomaly on the panel. The average age of the “board members” is somewhere between “65” and “decayed”. The average gender is somewhere between “male” and “formerly contained male body parts before they decayed”. The other board members are accomplished* folks, making it a great learning opportunity for me – fun to see them at work.
This session is being held in a small town, so i wasn’t surprised to run into several colleagues at the airport. While we jockeyed to snag one of the few cabs, a gentleman i’ve known for years grabbed me and said “Look at you! How do you get better looking every time I see you?” and then proceeded to drag me off, away from the pack, so we could share a taxi to the meeting and chat.
A light bulb moment: i’ve discovered the secret to “everlasting hotness”. From now on, i’m only attending senior citizen events. i could probably put back on some of the weight and still get treated like a beauty queen! Just dumping a box of Lady Clairol on my head every few months would be about all of the maintenance i’d need – Macro-Beauty! No more waxing, tweezing, face-painting, exfoliation, or exercise. My friend is clearly suffering some form of macular degeneration – and i for one am thankful!
* i’m here for the comic relief… or perhaps it’s the new rack?
Hmmm… I think I finally understand why I keep getting invited to younger-generation parties. I’m obviously the “decayed” benchmark.
You are looking HOT! Oh, sorry, you’re over there ………
That old standard about the aging couple springs to mind. She waits for him on evening, naked, determined to rekindle the fire in their relationship. He arrives and she asks if he likes what she’s “wearing”. He peers over. Wrinkles his brow and says “It’s lovely dear, but it needs ironing.”
I think it was some time after I turned 40 that I had my first ‘invisible’ experience. I was walking down the street with my younger and totally stacked roommate and the appreciative comments of passing men (nothing blatant or gross, they just couldn’t help commenting on her beauty) made me realise that I’d reached a point of no return in my life. Shortly after that I noticed that even the horse-carriage drivers and construction workers had stopped calling after me when I walked by. I mean, was I really getting THAT bad???
But I am saved by a lovely (and much older) waiter at one of the tapa bars on my street. Even now when he sees me walk by his whole face lights up and he says “hello gorgeous!”, which always makes me laugh. But it’s a nice laugh, a fun one. And I reply “hi handsome!” and in a very small way we kind of make each other’s day. 🙂
kyknoord – There’s honor in being a mascot. It’s when women start bringing you along as ‘designated driver’ on pub crawl night – “because you’re safe” that you need to hang up your frat-boy party badge.
DP – yes, thanks. but that was the sofa. i don’t wear floral prints…
dolceii – and she was then thankful that he never took her up on that offer to learn to use the iron…
az – Bingo! You captured it much better – there is sweetness to it, rather than lechery! in the taxi, when he said “you are one of my favorite people in this business, and not just because you’re pretty” i laughed out loud – not derisively, but delighted that he just said it! i think younger men are afraid to pay compliments in the workplace, for fear of being labeled with the “sexual harrassment” tag…
After I was widowed I began to notice that the men who were most interested in me were much older. I was 42 and they were mid-fifties to early 60’s. I did not find it overly ego boosting but then I was one to always date younger men (my late husband was 10yrs younger).
LOL. I know exactly what you mean. I was asked to go and give a writing class to an old age home. (Don’t even ask – it had something to do with my mother. Eish!) All I can say is I’ve never felt so young in my life. Nothing like looking into the eyes of a person whom you hope will still be alive at the end of the workshop, to make you feel like a mere infant.
And thanks for your comment on the spicey thing. Thought you might like this poem by Michael Ondaatjie, called “The Cinnamon Peeler”:
Believe me, at my age I am both flattered and honored to have a number of beautiful, young, intelligent women as friends. (I’m 58, so “young” is entirely relative…) 🙂
annie – i’ve never gone for younger men, but i suppose there’s no reason for me to exclude half of the eligible dating pool!
MdW – it’s surprising how my definition of “old” keeps shifting as i age! in general, it’s about 20-25 years older than my current age! Amazing poem – thanks! A close friend (yoda) has been bugging me to read Michael Ondaatjie for years… i should do that!
toby – Understand the ‘relativity’ factor… i suppose at some point, maybe when i’m 70-80, i’m going to run out of “older gentlemen” to amuse me!
Daisyfae: I must admit I clicked through here from WordPress.com only because of your avatar. It looks like a character from a cartoon strip, Nancy, that I used to read when I was a child. It was about a snotty kid, Nancy, with an Audrey Hepburn like fringe and a bow ribbon on it, who had an equally little friend who was bald. Am I right about your avatar?
Your writing is funny indeed. 🙂 I can attest to most of your observations as being spot-on, since in the few advisory boards I serve on, I experience similar things.
Michael Ondaatjie wrote the English Patient. His books are a feast. Anil’s Ghost is beautiful.
Shefaly – welcome to The Park! i was very surprised to get the wordpress link and hope those folks stumbling by for “business” advice weren’t too sorely disappointed! You are exactly right – the avatar is “Fritzi Ritz”, Nancy’s aunt – who was a “fancy woman” with some bit of redneck in her… Nancy’s friend was Sluggo! Funny how those childhood visual memories stay with us! Thanks for the kind words!
dolceii – It was Anil’s Ghost he virtually ordered me to read… i think i’ll snag it before my next road trip!
Daisyfae: Thanks! It was Auntie Fritzi. Thanks for the reminders. I also found an online comics website which is reprising Nancy. 🙂
Your observations are spot-on. I have similar experiences, and sometimes also the additional exotic appeal of being the only non-white person on such boards. Which says something too, not dissimilar to being the only woman or only young woman around.
This is great. So funny and full of truth!
shefaly – it’s a yin-yang thing. in a group of 200 people, being the only woman can be a decided business advantage – they all know my name. men will often approach me with “Hi! We met at the Dork-A-Rama last year…” and i will say “oh, that’s right! you were the middle aged man in the gray suit!”
nicole – i believe there is a certain freedom that comes with age. often earned. the ability to say what you think! makes my elder-buddies a lot of fun!