Friday, November 25, 2011
Thirty-four was bearable. It was just below the halfway point. Far enough away from forty to prevent a mid-life crisis and close enough to thirty to round down. And then came thirty-five. No more fudging the numbers. No more mathematical games.
I think aging is harder for women than it is for men. Gray hair makes men look intelligent. Bald heads look mysterious. On women? Not so much. So we die our hair and apply oodles of make-up only to find our crow’s feet accentuated and our roots more pronounced. And yet, how assuring, how downright heart-melting, to hear your husband tell you after fifteen years of marriage and twenty or so pounds worth of cheesecake and hot fudge sundaes that he still finds you beautiful. Oh, what would we do without those tender accolades from our men?
The other day while my husband and I were driving to the gym (Gotta fight that cheesecake somehow!) I started talking about one of the characters in my latest novel—a middle-aged woman who struggles with low self-esteem. During the conversation, I mentioned how difficult it was for women, in general, to age. I swear my husband’s a mind reader! Either that, or he’s just amazingly perceptive, but he quickly saw past my “characterization” into my heart. And he spent the rest of the day combating the insecurities that I never quite articulated.
Our first stop was the hair salon. Actually, we went there twice. (I chickened out the first time and had to be brought back kicking and screaming.) I have naturally curly hair, which leaves the door wide open for error. The words, “Oops, let me fix it,” have popped out of many a hairdresser’s lips. Luckily, this time was different. By the time I was done, donning a young, perky, even trendy, hairstyle, I felt like a new woman!
But my husband wasn’t through with me yet. The rest of the afternoon he dragged me from one clothing store to the next until my arms were loaded down with stylish outfits to match my new do. Our day ended with a wonderful lunch where I sat and listened to my husband shower me with compliments. All because I casually mentioned how one of my characters struggled with aging. Don’t you just love those men who take the time to read between the lines?
Jennifer Slattery is a novelist and freelance writer who happens to have a very caring husband!