That’s odd, I don’t FEEL invisible….

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Humans

So, Hugo has a post up about May/December relationships and the invisibility of older women when it comes to sex and sexuality.  Go read it.  

As my comment there indicates, I had some issues with his thinking there.  Now, sure enough, I have an issue with creepy older dudes who only date younger women SIMPLY because of their YOUTH….thats a whole level of fucked up and screwy male ego I don’t get….but there are folk who are with someone where there is a big age difference but that truly doesn’t matter.

But what really got me going “HUH?” was the idea that younger women somehow owe older women something wrts to dating and relationships out of some sense of sisterhood.  Hell, any 25 year old woman who Did Not go and be with a dude she loved and he loved back despite being older outta some sense of obligation to the older women of tribe woman?  Hell, unless the dude was married to someone else or something, I’d wonder what the heck she was thinking and doing because you know what?  She doesn’t owe anyone, even us older sisters…jack shit.  At all.  I mean, come Nov. I will be 40.  Which is closer to 50+ than 20…and you know, I seriously do not think ANY woman owes me ANYTHING when it comes to that sorta thing.  If a dude my age or older and  is single and finds happiness and all that real life good stuff with a gal in her 20’s?  More power to ’em.  She should NOT deny herself that because well, some woman my age is just being denied of this our age man due to it.  One, there is No Proof her being with him will deny anyone of anything, and two….well, they deserve some happy regardless.  The idea that Older Women are OWED by their younger sisters in this matter…well it actually kinda makes me sick really.  No one owes me shit….especially if it crushes chances of happiness for them and is no guarantee of happiness for any woman my age.    I mean, I can get some sort of sense of “tribe” to a point?  But debt?  Owing it too?  Ughhh.  Hell, if I thought I was only getting a relationship due to the sympathy of some other woman, I’d feel like complete shit about myself really.

And this is one of those things that I am sure people are gonna whine about when I say it, but you know, as a going on 40 sort?  I sure as shit do not feel “sexually invisible” or what the fuck ever.  In fact, often, I feel more visible than I would honestly like sometimes-even when decidedly trying NOT to be visible.  Do I look like a 20 something?  Hell no.  I am short, not ageless.  And frankly I think the whole Oh No, you are over 35 and becoming sexually invisible is a …. giant marketing ploy.  The age old tactic of playing off women’s insecurities to make them feel they NEED everything from cosmetics to tummy tucks in order to find/keep a man.  Pfft.  Making love and relationships- you know- the real deal- some commercial thing to exploit peoples self-esteem holes is vomit inducing…and hell, last time I checked, folk still though the over35 Angelina Jolie was damn sexy…as are MANY women in her age range. 

So yeah, a little irk-age there, both by the notion that women my age and up are owed shit by our youngers, and a little irked that because a small section of men and the cosmetics industry might play on  invisible aspect that , well,  other folk, including Hugo, would buy into it.

  1. I’ve always gotten a lot of attention from men, and I don’t wear makeup, dress like shit, and I’m mean, LOL. They still hang around. One of my ex-supervisors (female, having trouble finding a guy, and she was bee-yoo-tifull too) used to say “Men like bitches!” and we’d laugh. She was very emotionally needy and that seemed to drive men away. By contast, Ren, we um, aren’t all that needy, haha. I really do think there is a parallel to the “women love bad boys” in that some men see “Taming of the Shrew” and want to be the guy that gets the bitch, who can “tame” her. This transcends age, I think, since I believe women are *less* emotionally needy as they age, not more, and that is a primary factor too.

    Now that I am in my 50s, the OLDER men (in their 60s and 70s) still come on to me, LOL. A very young man at HeroesCon demanded to take my photo, ostensibly because he loved my hat. But then he said, panicked, DON’T HIDE THOSE BRAIDS!!! Uh-huh, I think we know why he wanted to take the photo… but simply put, I don’t feel invisible either. Granted, I am also assumed to be a lot younger than I am, which I think is also part of the “bitch” vibe we send out, Ren. (Bitches are assumed to be GIRLS.)

    On Facebook, there are 2 guys I grew up with who married, you know, GIRLS, and I was shocked to discover that… neither were who you would expect.. they were actually a lot like Hugo! (nerdy prof types) They were certainly two of my favorite old friends, both brilliant, and I was happy to see that their brains were rewarded. I could choose to see that as offensive, since they are married to GIRLS (really, they look like teenagers) or I could see it as brainy guys (not rich guys) finally getting the girl, which I think is an overall progressive thing.

    I have noticed its changing very slowly; Mr Daisy is 3 years younger than I am. Maybe in the next generation, 6 years, then 12? I think when there are as many women “marrying down” economically as well as marrying younger men, we will have equality.

  2. kingschwarz says:

    39! You are a spring chicken! Enjoy the next 20 years of your youth. As for Hugo, for whom you have more time than I, I think he is once again trafficking in stereotypes. He avers that women in relationships with younger men represent a marginal and difficult phenomenon. Humph. Since my own youth in the Mesozoic Era, I have had quite a few relationships with women older – in some cases quite a bit older – than I. Perhaps that is only anecdotal evidence, but this area of inquiry really is personal, and anecdotes may be the best data to go on. Hugo wants to intrude the political. We encounter each other in a “patriarchal sexual marketplace.” And thus older man/younger woman relationships are “inextricably linked to a contempt for the worth of older women.” Inextricably? Even per Hugo’s own rather narrow thinking, there are motivations for such relationships that have nothing to do with contempt for older women. Hugo entertains the idea that older men feel more “virile and brilliant” in the company of younger women. Perhaps they do (though just as likely the old guys feel a bit outpaced and confused), but they might simultaneously feel better understood and intellectually matched by the older women in their lives. I am trafficking in a few stereotypes here myself, but only to make a point. I think we connect with each other for reasons as multifarious and often as mysterious as we ourselves are. Or is it simpler than that:? Maybe we are all just looking for someone who will put up with us. (Paraphrasing Shams of Tabriz, the Persian mystic.)

    • King, but see, the fact that you have found older women attractive and sexual might be one reason why you have no time for Hugo. LOL. You are already thinking outside the box. I think when Hugo says young men don’t find older women attractive, he is also speaking for himself.

      Men won’t go out w/women their peer groups find unattractive. Even if they think the fat girls are hot, they won’t risk being made fun of by other MEN… this is the problem as I see it. Read synopsis of “Fat Pig”:

      • kingschwarz says:

        Well, that Neil Labute is a caution! As for me, I don’t think I am all that far outside the box. Lots of guys go for older women, as you are living witness. IMHO, one reason they don’t always act on their desires is that they – the guys that is – feel intimidated. Men tend to have delicate egos, and older powerful women can seem to place those egos at risk. As for my peer group, it has been just fine and generally supportive of my choices. And fat girls? Well black men certainly don’t hesitate to celebrate their sexiness. White men may be a bit more reserved, but a lot of them go for plus sizes too. Only idiots would deride them. One of my old school friends was always vocal about his taste for fat, and we all rather admired him for this. He has a lovely big wife whom we all like. I am not denying and I do agree with you that peer group approval is critical, but I think the real veto issue here is…CLASS. We do not talk about it easily in contemporary America, but social class looms large. The nastiest, most disapproving comments I have heard about peers’ dating and mating choices all had to do with this. Code words are often used: “education,” “manners,” “family,” “interests in common,” but the coded references are all to class. I have found that this obtains across all sorts of relationships – gay, straight, interracial, international. I guess Karl Marx is chortling in his grave. Though I have to note he “married up,” to Jenny von Westphalen, an aristocrat related to the House of Stuart.

  3. As a feminist, I’ll be honest: I won’t take another woman’s man. It’s political, to me. I never have, that I know of. But again, nothing to do with age… I don’t care who it is. I wish it had never been done to ME! 😛

    Another thing that I do agree with in Hugo’s post: young women need to know the factors that made them desirable to older men. I think they realize that appearance is a factor, but they may not realize that they are regarded as easy to manipulate or use. If an older man has a well-worn pattern of *only* preferring younger women, I’d worry. If it the relationship was a relatively random occurence, I’d say that’s proof the guy isn’t simply looking for a young woman to exploit….

    • kingschwarz says:

      Daisy, don’t we have to evaluate each relationship on its own merits? Yes, patterns say something about us, but perhaps more so in the aggregate. A study has recently been in the news that shows most of us still date within our own “race” (though this is changing). That pattern says more about our society, doesn’t it, than about the inner workings of any particular relationship?

  4. Catlover says:

    What is it with this age obsession? I put this link on a board and this shocked everybody:

    Prediction #2: The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs.

    We’ve done far better than 50 and that’s not 40 extra years of arthritic creeping around deaf daft and half-silly. I can’t tell half the time whether somebody is 40 or 60. Yet the zimmerframe and impotence jokes and the ‘past it’ age seem to be getting ever younger. Maybe the ‘kids’ are jealous that their elders are not aging gracelessly into decrepitude? (Leave Dylan and Mick Jagger out because they always were decrepit!) A generation or two ago, nobody batted an eyelid when a man nearing 60 married a woman in her 20s (except maybe to mutter ‘gold-digger’) Now there’s a feeling that it’s one step away from pederasty.

    Hugo worries more about 30-20 than 40-25. Hugo seems to follow a line that often betrays negative feminist aspects of over-protection: the world is full of predatory men and feeble little women in need of protection. Time was when ‘feminist’ meant women saying they could damned well look after themselves and if they did make mistakes, well so do men and nobody expects to run their life to protect them. Now, it often seems to mean a return to protecting the ‘weaker sex’, especially when it is older men and women protecting younger ones ‘from themselves’, a sort of feeling that of course women can do what they want – except that wanting the wrong thing means that they aren’t mature enough to be allowed out to choose on their own.

    Older women are invisible? A lot are happily married off the circuit. Some are unhappily divorced not wanting to get back in. If they never had much of a romantic or sexual life, they probably don’t miss it. And a lot are divorced or widowed, kids grown up, past menopause or hysterectomised so no pregnancy risk – but discerning, and perfectly visible to anybody looking. They probably want more than bedroom athletics. They might appreciate intelligent two-way conversation. They maybe have ‘let themselves go’ to the extent of looking and acting the way they want and not the way advertisers tell them they should to sell product. They look like women, not something that came off of an assembly line.

    Invisible? Maybe not waving a flag for fear of getting left on the shelf or having kids at an awkward mid-career time. Maybe having to be looked for instead of getting an ego-boost raving it up every night. Maybe also more appreciative of friendship as well as sex/romance than some of the younger ones out for a good time and somebody to pay for it.

  5. rootietoot says:

    I agree with you. My perspective is as a 46 year old married woman who simply doesn’t NEED to be seen as a Sexual Thing by the rest of the world. There’s only one opinion that matters to me, and he makes it quite clear that I’m all he can handle. I really don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. And the only people I seem to have trouble relating/talking are younger women. The men of any age I can get along with just fine.

  6. I think it’s a barmy notion, personally. But then, I think Suzy Quatro is still super-sexy, aged 61. Sexy is so often a state of mind, and if a person (regardless of gender or age) has that state of mind, they get perceived as sexy. It’s why so many rock band frontmen (or women – see Quatro above!) are considered sexy even though they’re actually pretty plain looking if you take a step back.

    I sometimes wonder, given all these things that men are supposed to like (or not) whether I am actually a man at all!

  7. y’know, I think Hugo is anti-male–he never mentions how the old men take all the young women from men their age…..

    anyways, it seems like he likes policing others…..

  8. polly says:

    Oh that man is SOOOO patronising, I can’t bloody stand him. He epitomises ‘mansplaining’ to m.

    • Ren says:

      Heya Polly, long time no see! Eh, I like Hugo. He’s trying. And I think for him in his position, it can be hard to take a stand and be…well, as outspoken as you or i or others on things…’cause well, he’s a dude. I just really dont think younger women owe me, and much of this nvisible thing isa marketing ploy.

  9. rootietoot says:

    I think the issue of invisibility has much to do with advertising and media. Ads toward women are all about looking younger, feeling younger, getting rid of those awful wrinkles and scary grey hair. Female newscasters all look like they’re 12 (except with boobs), female celebrities are all praised for their youthful good looks until they’re Helen Mirren then they’re praised for looking so good At Their Age. Honestly I like my grey hair- because i’ts not grey at all, it’s metallic silver and sparkles in the sun. I’m ok with the few wrinkles I have because I have had 3 teenaged sons and damn well EARNED them. Cellulite doesn’t bother me because I am not a Victoria’s Secret model, and frankly I was so miserable in my 20’s I have absolutely NO desire to return to them in any way at all. It also helps living in a town that is so far removed from that whole L.A. culture of youth thing it’s practically on a different planet.

    • Ren says:

      I admit I dye my hair….I have a few greys- of that shiny silver metalic sort too, actually VERY cool looking, I agree!, but my hair is JET black. DARK DARK DARK, and I am not quite ready to have that cool dracula silver at the temples and streak down the front thing that I got going…….but I als tend to die the offending hair crazy colors like fire engine red or purple or neon greeen LOL. I have some skin issues too, period; hell, I smoke, I d actually work outside and get sun, and I have crapppy skin anyway…..but a face lift or whatever? Screw that. I have decided to spend money on tattoos instead, thanks lol. I’ve earned those, just like any lines in my face!

      • rootietoot says:

        I’d still like to get a tattoo around my hip scars. It’s still numb in the area,so I think it would be easy to do, but there isn’t an artist locally who does flowers the way I want them done. it’s all just Grateful Dead bears and tribal bands.

        • Ren says:

          Go to Atlanta, Sacred Heart Tattoos in Little Five is PRETTY FAMOUS for GOOD (if pricey) work. Or well, ask your spawn if they know anyone who knows some good artists.

      • kingschwarz says:

        You mean you could look like Dracula/Bride of Frankenstein/Pepe Le Pew/Susan Sontag if you just stopped dying your hair? Do it now! I am not poking fun: I absolutely love the black hair with silver streaks look. It is sexy, distinguished and scary all at once.

        • Ren says:

          Yeah, I could. Easy. Not gonna though.

          • kingschwarz says:

            Well, maybe when you’re older. You’re a kid ’til 60. Or maybe 80.

            • Ren says:

              I figure maybe 45. I look a *bit* younger than my real age, folk, women even, usually put me at 33-36, so, I figure by 45, the guess will be 40’ish, and then it will be time.

              Heh, my mom, who dark hair like me, died hers…red (bad choice for her skin tone, but the theroy of her age group was going lighter than your real shade made ya look younger- not true with me, I was blonde once and it made me look older)- but yeah, red, until her mid 50’s, then one day was at the store with my dad, about to buy the box of dye when she looked around and saw all the women her agewith died hair and their not-died men and her thought was “who am I fooling”? so she stopped and went natural…

              and it looks freakin awesome. She wears her hair short, but has this awesome salt and pepper thing guys would kill for going on- kinda like Micheal Douglas a few years back.

  10. Roy Kay says:

    My response, reposted …

    This seems like another case of “Paternalism against the Patriarchy” – the old paternalistic stereotypes being trotted out against a presumed “Patriarchy”. The anecdote you refer to is simply a millenia old “cautionary tale”.

    Here is my situation: I am in an open relationship. I am not trying to replace my primary, though we both joke a little about being cashed in for 2 30s. Pre-internet, my age range was +/-5. Now, thanks to internet and play parties, it’s +7/-35.

    What is their attraction to me? A number of things: 1) I am a self-avowed slut and unabashed about it. 2) I’m not a TWUE DOM(R) of either the poseur or pontificater variety. 3) Genuine respect and affection. I do not feel that I elevate anyone by patting them on the head and saying “When you are older, you’ll understand, little girl.” 4) I take “No” as “No”, “Not now/Not Sure” as check with me later, and “Yes” as “Yes”.

    Now I would think this all would be basic. However, whether it’s left wing PC-ness or right-wing “Appropriateness”, entirely too many people waste a pile of time mindfucking everything and not actually engaging people of all ages as THE legitimate operators of their own lives.

    Sometimes I am rejected by women more my age. Why? It could be that I am not “spiritual”, which you gotta admit is hard for an Atheist to be. It could be that I am not a sub or particularly dominating. Pray should I change that and, if so, how often? Of course, sometimes isn’t all times. Of course, sometimes I am rejected by women much younger. No accounting for taste. Uh, that may be why I have a chance at all. 😛

    BTW – When a significantly younger woman expresses interest in me, I really don’t feel “virile and brilliant”. I feel enjoyed and enjoyable – probably the absolute best reason to have sex. I feel this with women of all ages.

    • kingschwarz says:

      I feel virile and brilliant when I manage a bowel movement without pain. Sorry. Bit of tasteless old-guy humor.

      On a serious note, atheists can easily be as spiritual as anyone else. Buddhists are atheists, and so are some Hindus. Not to mention lots of Episcopalians. (Sorry. Bit of tasteless church humor.) Not saying you should be “spiritual” – your philosophy of life is yours to shape – but atheism is no hindrance.

  11. PrivilegeBingo says:

    Invisible- not worthy of any kind of attention, love or respect as a human being.

    That said, not everyone feels invisible nor do they see ways certain people are ignored or covered up.

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