Archive | Age Matters

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Bra Burned

Coming home on the subway tonight from a gala, I was decked out in grownup lady finery–high heels, LBD*, hair blown out, mascara, red lipstick, sheer stockings. At first it was pleasant. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be out and about in high femme garb since I’ve been dressing like a 12-year-old boy for months now. Then this guy sailed on at Union Square and began making eyes at every girlygirl on the train. Actually, “making eyes” is an understatement. The lout (30ish, clad in bratty fratty gear) was working his way down the traincar, leaning over every unaccompanied woman wearing lipstick, and saying things like You’re gorgeous. Will you marry me? until she finally looked up and everyone else looked away to avoid poking the bear.

Then he headed in my direction.

I had steam coming out of my ears. Here I had thought one advantage of middle age was invisibility, and this Alexander Dumbass was haranguing me like he’d been appointed king of a goddamned harem. And then it hit me: I really didn’t have to take this crap. I’d never had to, of course, but at this point I was old enough to know I didn’t have to. I’d been living in NYC for 22 years, and had every right to take a subway in my hometown–on my own line, even–without a joker acting like he owned my personal space. I wasn’t some stammering coquette. I was a grown-ass broad.

I stared at him. “So this is your game? You’re just going to walk down the train and mess with every woman you like?” He raised his eyebrows and hands– Whatsa matter? I’m just complimenting you–but I channeled a furious Harriet the Spy. “C’MON, FINK. GET OUT OF MY FACE BEFORE I MAKE YOU.”  A few guys shrank as if I’d just screamed at them but most of the female passengers started cackling. And when the dude heard our laughter, he beat a hasty retreat to the next subway car–where, I hoped, another weary middle-aged woman was poised to bellow at him some more.

*Little Black Dress!

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Normally I don’t care much about New Years Eve–to me the new year is an individual phenomenon that begins for each person on their birthday–but 2014 was such a trying year on so many levels that I welcome any opportunity, however symbolic, to put the hardship behind us. Here’s to a year of expansion, kindness, clarity, communion, amazing adventures, and, yes, governmental and personal accountability. Not the sexiest resolution but, oh, so necessary. It’s time for us all to grow up. The good news is we’re ready.

Padding Through the Looking Glass

My permakitten Gracie pads through all my dreams lately. At this point we’re so close–we’ve been with each other through illness and poverty and loneliness and heartbreak—that my central nervous system automatically calms whenever I feel the pressure of her tiny warm body. I’ve taken her with me on trips upstate and to the sea. It only makes sense that she accompany me to the other side as well.

The night before last, I dreamed that she was a tiny purple sea horse—an animated one who leapt off a smart phone screen to swim next to me everywhere I went. Everyone could see her but no one knew what to do with the vision. Then the phone got scrambled—it was just a wave of pastels rolling on the screen—and I couldn’t find her anywhere. To make matters worse, I was on a train, which disappeared once I stepped off briefly to find better cell reception. I couldn’t retrieve my bags, couldn’t even find the train. Naturally I discovered I was on my ex’s property, and so had to take pains to avoid him as I searched for my life’s possessions as well as dear Grace. I realized I had nothing of my own.

It was a desecration of what had been a lovely dream.

Last night I dreamed Grace and I were at a house party—a mansion party, really, but as the awkward evening unspooled, it became clear it was really a funeral. These very wealthy people didn’t know how to navigate death (something they couldn’t control) so they’d acted like the occasion for convening was an ordinary party rather than the death of a friend.

I was cynical but nonetheless present. Grace was exploring the many halls, skidding down endless, shiny wood floors. I encountered a staircase that (naturally) didn’t extend all the way from the mezzanine to the first floor. I cracked some jokes about it—a bunch of us (including another ex) were descending the stairs together in order to attend what had suddenly been announced as a memorial service—and everyone laughed. I felt gratified and mean (not an unfamiliar feeling for me). Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy