June 12, 2008

Old and In the Way

My birthday was Saturday. I am 39. It seems only a year ago I was celebrating my 38th birthday.

People ask me if I am upset to be 39 and I say, trying to sound wise and full of Zen-like calm, “why no, the alternative, having no more birthdays, is worse.’ But, of course, that is a total lie. I am not upset, but not because of that.

I am not upset because my husband is 7 years older than me and always will be. And, he is perpetually freaked out about getting older and I find that level of vanity and self-centeredness so distasteful that I would sooner die than admit that I am sad about getting older. And that is how shallow I am.

The thing I am saddest about, oddly, is that young men will now view me as an old lady. Having a striking man open a door for you so he can look at your ass as you walk through is very different from having a man open the door for you because he is afraid your hip will snap if you exert that much energy.

Either way it is nice to not have to touch a potentially germy door handle, but oh, the humanity. I thought having a kid would automatically lump me in the “ew” category with men, but my husband’s friend in a stoned-out stupor called me a milf and I, pathetically, puffed up a like a mating peacock and walked out the door like I had just won the Nobel prize. Tsk, tsk, Gloria Steinham would slap me across the face with her worn out Playboy Bunny ears.

Why, I ask you, why is the loss of my sexual appeal so sad? I will tell you, because by the time I realized I had any, my time was up, I was married, I was a mommy, I was too old. I look at pictures of myself when I was 17, 18, 23 and think, “Wow, I should have slept around a little more.”