Who remembers this song? I love this song. I loved in 1994 when I was 16, and I love it now in 2013 at the shiny new age of 35. Mostly it’s because I have a never-ending love for Aaliyah, but it’s also because age has never really mattered to me. I’ve had romances and friendships with older people, younger people, and people my age. While our age can influence who we are, in my opinion it doesn’t define who we are.
Apparently it does define some things, like pregnancy. Do you know what pregnancy is called in a woman 35 or older? A geriatric pregnancy. Seriously. Geriatric. Because that’s your first connotation when you hear “geriatric” right? 35. Certainly not, oh, I don’t know, 80. This site claims the term has been “changed to ‘advanced maternal age'” but my doctor and everyone at her practice did not get the memo.
So here I am, a 35-year-old actress, singer, and writer preparing for an eventual old lady pregnancy. But what did the internet want me to know? Not anything about enhancing my artistic career, or health tips, or new fun adventures to consider. Instead, I was inundated with methods for Preserving My Youth. The most important thing for anyone ever in the history of humankind. Looking young.
As my birthday drew near, the creepy search engines of google and facebook started posting ads for magic lady face creams promising to take decades off my skin. You know what else takes decades off my skin? Photoshop. I tried to do my own photo to see if I look as alabaster smooth as Cate Blanchett, but Photoshop is complicated, so all I managed to do was remove some fly-aways.
By now we should all know that there is no point in judging ourselves by beauty ads or celebrities on the red carpet. I just read in this month’s Glamour that Jennifer Garner has a standing facial appointment TWICE A WEEK. Guess what else will take decades off your skin? Two facials every single week.
The internets like to tell us what 35 looks like, how old we’ll be when we start turning into uggos, and what age is So Perfect that even younger ladies are aspiring to it via their helpful plastic surgeons. It even provides a forum for random douchebags to create graphs based on their asinine perceptions of when and why a woman is attractive.
Of course the internets also provide the rare glimpse at us real folks, like in this impressive slide show from Esquire that features all kinds of different women (no really!) from ages 18-53. While it’s annoying that the URL refers to women “aging gracefully” – because, truly, what does that mean? why can’t we just call it aging? – it’s an honest portrayal of what the headline claims: “What the Real American Woman Looks at in the Mirror Every Day.” Those look like women I know. Women I would have brunch with.
Also can’t help but love the woman who says “The best thing about being 35 is, you don’t have to pretend to give a f-ck anymore.” Heh. Damn right.
So because I’m Hollywood obsessed, let’s take a look at 35 according to Tinseltown… Do you know how hard it is to find ages of female tv/movie characters?? Very hard. So, here are two I was able to dig up sort of: Joan and C.J.
In Mad Men Season 5, Episode 4, “Mystery Date,” Joan is probably 35. Her fictional birthday is in February 1931, and this episode is circa 1966.
This photo is supposedly from Season 2 of The West Wing, and C.J. was supposedly about 34 when she joined the Bartlett campaign, so after two years at the White House she’s possibly maybe supposedly about 36 years old.
That’s all I’ve got. The only movies I could think of where women talk about their age were romantic comedies, in moments which frequently involve lamentations about turning 30. Because when you turn 30 YOUR LIFE IS OVER.
It amuses the hell out of me when people ask for your birthdate to fill out some random form, and they tiptoe around it for fear of offending you. “….we don’t need the year, but could we get your birthdate?” I always give the year. Why not give the year? What is there to be ashamed of? I don’t feel any different then I did five years ago. I didn’t have a meltdown over turning 30, and I’m not having one now. Better than the alternative, I always say!
Here’s me last week as I careened toward the geriatric baby making, maybe hottest but maybe ugliest, Game Over or is it Game On next year of my life:
Makeup, with bangs
No makeup, no bangs!
Makeup… oops, cut my bangs so now they’re hard to pull back
So I can’t tell you What 35 Looks Like, or How to Stay Young Forever, and I don’t want to. What I can tell you is that this is what My 35 looks like, and that youth may have its perks, but so do growing and changing and learning and evolving and living.
Birthday! Celebrating with friends. One is 32 and one is 27, and I’m not telling you which is which because it doesn’t matter. Cheers!