I stopped at a bodega on my way home tonight. The man behind the counter asked me some silly question, and my answer let him know that women my age don’t get up to such nonsense. He looked stricken.
“Dear lady,” he said, “don’t say that. You are beautiful. Believe me.”*
Because you know, in my book, my being middle-aged does not in any way impact the fact of my beauty. I told him as much, said I was well aware that I’m beautiful, that I had simply been pointing out that I am also old.
Again, he had the stricken face, told me not to speak so harshly about myself.
“No,” I said. “This isn’t harsh. I embrace every minute of my age. I am totally fine with being exactly the age I am.”
He just stared at me. He couldn’t process my comfort with myself, so he gave me three bananas for free. Seriously. He insisted I take them.
This is all ridiculous, of course. Both his part in this conversation and mine. I’m sad for him that he equates age with loss of beauty. But it’s also true that a large part of my comfort with my age is the fact that I know I don’t actually look my age. If I were truly comfortable, I’d say goodbye to my henna and let my silver tresses glisten in the sun. I don’t. (I thought I’d do it when I turned 50. Now I’m telling myself I should wait until I’m 60. Yeah, we’ll see what happens.)
* Also, no one can really use that “Believe me” anymore, can they? Now that Trump says it to punctuate every bit of bullshit he spews, it no longer has any meaning. I hear that and the first thing that comes to mind is: “Believe you? Are you kidding?”
(And also, I hope you see what I did there with my title and the free fruit …)
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