“You look great… for your age!”

By Di Chapman

Kill me now!
I’ve entered a new era of life. An era that sucks, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Dare to go to sleep and the pods will suck you up and regurgitate a replica of you, only this time with wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, and thighs; upper arms that keep waving at others when you stop; and derriere cheeks that start a race to the floor.

I call this the for your age stage. You know, the one where people say, “Gee, you look great for a woman your age!” Or, as one of my exercise classmates noted when I had some skin rejuvenation treatments, “Wow, you don’t look 64 now. You look 54!” OMG! I’ve entered the phase of life where looking 54 is a new measure of looking youthful. I’ll happily own it. Truth is, I may have surpassed my 50s, but it can be a darn good-looking decade

But, when did the expression for your age start happening to me? When did I go from being someone who keeps herself as youthful-looking as possible, to being seen as an older woman who is taking care of herself and her appearance

And gentlemen readers, as I dive into this, I want to assure you that you needn’t roll your eyes about another woman’s, angst-laden topic. It is about growing older, in which women play a huge part in the cast of characters. This particular column is not just for the ladies. It’s also about you. Indeed, you have wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and more in your lives. Trust me, it affects all of us. I commend you. Read on

One of the things we love about you men is your devotion to us, even as we throw ourselves over a cliff with the runaway train that is plowing into us, bringing with it our aging bodies and faces. Even as the pods scarf us up and produce older replicas overnight, you gentlemen earn gold stars in sympathizing. More importantly, you know when and how to respond to our constantly evolving questions about our looks. Just like we want you to say “no” when we ask you if our butt looks big in a certain outfit, we want you to say “no” when we’re an inch from the mirror, feeling deflated over another line, and asking, “Do you think my face is too wrinkled?” Honestly? You don’t need to understand us, but humor us, and just say no. Better yet, say, “No, you look beautiful.” Attaboy. You’re off the hook for today.

But the “Di, you look great for a woman your age!” exclamation can happen anytime, anyplace. It can be from total strangers, and in fitting rooms, grocery stores, drugstores, pizza places, and the gym. It happened to me twice just this past week, once by a young man and again by a young woman. Both comments followed first, a discussion about how, “You’re in great shape for your age,” from the young man; and the second, another enthusiastic comment after an exercise class, “You’re very beautiful for your age,” the young woman told me as she scurried past across the fitness floor. I thanked them both for their compliments and contemplated throwing myself under a stack of 100 pound weights in motion. (Again with the for your age?

It’s kind of like waking up from a great night’s sleep. You can’t believe that your head is sharp, you feel chipper, and you know how good you’ll look in the outfit you picked out last night to wear today. Thankfully, you didn’t have hot flashes. You feel confident about your day. And then it happens. You look in the mirror. Dang, it doesn’t lie. To your horror, a new wrinkle has appeared out of nowhere during the night and stares back at you. After age 50, my dears, I’ve calculated that this happens every six months until after age 60. You gotta give it up. A new wrinkle appears darn near every morning, whether you kick and scream about it, resign yourself to it, or buy some cosmetic procedures. My advice? For goodness sake, deep-six your magnifying makeup mirror. Who invented this torture device?

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

You know, my husband’s mom and I enjoy each other very much and converse about, well, everything. I remember one particular talk we had about how our appearances change as we women age. “As you get older, you become invisible to men.” Coming from her, I believed it; she was in her late 80s at the time, a widow, still going strong with her own condo, exercise, and travel. She boarded the bus at her church for senior casino days. She stayed fashionable every day. She still does at 102, and her daughter, my sister-in-law, is easily one of the most attractive women you’ll meet. A beautiful fashionista at age 73, she’s got it going on.

We bombed around in mom’s Honda Accord. One day, in the grocery store parking lot, she spotted a space. An elderly gentleman strolled toward the store. All of a sudden, she took a detour. “You see him?” she explained, “He always hits on me.”

So ladies, what do we do with the gee, you look good for your age backhanded sweet-talkers

Shall we thank them for the compliment or smack them, or both?

Well, let’s show them. You know how sometimes you feel pretty hot, albeit with sagging skin? Why not? Sure, I’d love to hear the wolf whistle again as I walk past construction sites. I wouldn’t mind being hit on again, like my mother-in-law with her sought-after looks.

But, girls, as long we can still rock our jeans, no matter what age or bootie size or shape, we’re not dead yet.

We’re lookin’ pretty slammin’… for our age. 

Di Chapman is an inspirational author and speaker, and a branding consultant. Di’s latest book is Rekindle Your Purpose: Break through your disappointments, discouragements, and detours to resurrect your purpose and live it! Contact Di at diychapman@icloud.com