The 49 Year Old Who Looks 45 and Gets Shit Done

Stella gibson

Have you watched The Fall? I don’t think you have to be lonely to binge-watch TV; it’s just a relatively new way to consume programming and it’s kind of fun and addicting.

In a reverse of This Many Boyfriends Club, there is the Type of Woman I Appreciate but Could Never Be, more specifically after the Super Bowl and shared ingestion of a magnum of Riesling and possibly other substances, I developed the concept of The 49 Year Old Who Looks 45 and Gets Shit Done. That’s what I was saying at least, but it’s more like a The 46 Year Old or 34 Year Old Who Both Look 40.

There’s this weird thing where younger MBA type women dress all powerful and suity and look older than they are and then when they get closer to 50, soften the look while retaining all the polish and  3.5″ stilettos and both groups end up looking roughly the same age. It helps if the 30something has kids and the late 40s woman does not.

So, Gillian Anderson’s (who’s 46, not 49, for what it’s worth) character in The Fall dredged this up. Those silky blouses were noted–and not just by me.

My point is that I love the idea of being the sort of woman who can pick up successful men in an upscale hotel bar. It’s a skill that would be fun to have when at a conference in a second-tier American city or even at a one-day marketing session in midtown.

I may have first developed this idea from Vera Farmiga’s character in Up in the Air. She always seems unduly mature to me.

Like I said, this is not me. I guess I could make it me, though I’d have to hurry because I suspect I only have five good years left before the irreversible old face kicks in, and if I lost the 50 pounds required to pull off this in-control look my skin would appear even more wan and aged.

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The mom/wife trying to escape for the night is not quite the same fantasy, but I did like storyline on Togetherness recently where Melanie Lynskey’s character pretends to stay home while her husband is at a movie premiere but instead gets dolled up and goes out for a drink alone. (Yes, she’s 37 in real life but I wish critics would stop referring to this show as being about 30somethings because Amanda Peet is 43 and this categorization is doing a disservice to women). She tells the bartender sort of wistfully, “I’m seeing where the night will take me…” and he just recommends the hummus plate. And the later scene where she bums a cigarette from some teenage skaters who can’t gauge her intentions, is kind of masterful.

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I do not meet men period, and not in bars, not since my 20s. The last time I was in anything resembling that situation, it was after 2am on Christmas after my guests had gone home and I decided to drunkenly run out to the corner for a pack of cigarettes. Out of curiosity, I peeked in the window at Terraza 7, the only nearby bar with mixed gender clientele to see what kind of weirdos were out late on a holiday. I kept walking, but apparently attracted the attention of a 30something Dominican guy in glasses who chased me down and offered to buy me a drink. It was freezing out and I had bare legs because I intended to return home immediately. He had been living in Poland with some woman and his mom had died, but not even recently so that was weird to say. I had one beer and let him walk me home and gave him my number on a napkin because he didn’t have a phone, and that was that. I didn’t really want him to call.

The month before that, there was a burly white-haired guy who looked closer to 60 than my age but insisted he was 40 (absolutely not) and tried kissing me at an Irish bar in Astoria. Or maybe it was the bar at the Italian restaurant that he drove my friend and me to afterward (don’t ask).

Neither of those examples are living up to the standard I’ve come to expect watching polished middle-aged women on screen.

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This missive is something I would’ve put on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and it’s not anything anyone in the world particularly needs to read, therefore, I’m demonstrating the value of the public personal blog with a very small audience.

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