Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Turning 40

The exit door to my 30s slammed hard behind me a few weeks ago. Yes, I am now officially 40. You know, 40 isn’t so bad except for the small fact that now I gotta be 40. Friends say 40 is the new 30. First of all, the friends who are saying it are still in their 30s, so they are really just placating me. Second of all, 40 is the new 30 if your rich, famous, and can afford tummy tucks, botox, collagen, lipo, personal trainers, and nannies. For the rest of us average Janes, 40 isn’t the new anything. It’s the same old crap.

In trying to lay low on my 40th, a few friends and I went out to TGI Friday’s. After drinking several yummy drinks served in glasses that were the size of my head, the waitress approaches us about dessert. Nopes all around. We’re good. Then the waitress mentions that the birthday girl gets a free sundae. Oh, free? Don’t say “free” around me! It could be free dog poo on a stick, but if it’s free, I’m taking it. There’s no shame in my game. No one informed me though that the free ice cream comes with a side of public humiliation… a resounding, spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by an army of wait staff all drawing the attention of the entire restaurant to the fact that I’m now 40. Of course, no one SAID I was 40, but I could tell by the way they were looking at me that I was a woman passed her prime.

My overall goal was to make turning 40 not suck, and I think that was accomplished. Celebrations with friends. Great gifts from my husband. Lots of birthday/pity money. I must have had early-onset dementia because I actually tried to take three of my four children (aged 4, 2, and 11 months) out to go clothes shopping for myself. This is what happens when you drink too many margaritas the night before, the day is dragging, and you have birthday/pity money burning a hole in your pocket. After hours in the store, I leave with nothing.

Here is the problem. Though I’m now 40, and have finally lost my baby weight, I still have no business shopping in juniors. But I just can’t let it go, even though it’s becoming more and more clear that while my weight is comparable to that of a high school or college student, everything has been redistributed, stretched, and generally wrecked. The arm sleeves are too tight, the waist lines are too cinched, the jeans are too low, the hips are cut too narrow, and the styles are too hip for a stay at home mom. So why can’t I saunter across the aisle into women’s? I am a woman after all, not a cute young ‘thang.’ What’s my issue? I’m just stubborn. I can’t waive the flag of surrender. I mean, what’s next? Granny panties? Sensible Mom haircuts? Practical shoes? Kvetching that the music is too loud and the room is too cool (or too hot) everywhere I go? I think not!

So here’s what I’ve decided… they need an "in-betweeners" section in the clothing stores. Something in-between Avril Levigne and Hillary Clinton. Between frat party hoochie and giving up on myself completely. I just don’t want to wear the Mom jeans that hike up 4 inches past my belly button, boxy cardigans with large gold buttons, silky print blouses and dress pants with pleats down the front. The formal dresses are just as disastrous. In juniors they are glorified cocktail napkins that you must squeeze yourself into like a cocktail weenie. Across the hall, they are the shapeless, roomy, 2 piece beaded ensembles. Since when did hip 40 year olds glam it up with old fashioned beads, baubles, and sequins? That’s more mother of the bride stuff… which looks good in that setting! But, I’m no mother of the bride. Although, I will probably be 72 when my daughters get married, so I’ll be all ready for those dresses then. But not now, buddy, not now.

Perhaps this "in-betweeners category" of clothing does not exist because most people graduate quite nicely to their next phase of life and it's complementary attire. But no, not me. I can see myself at 78, refusing to succumb to the sensible draw string pants made of comfortable polyblends and the support hose with nude colored orthopedic sneakers. Instead, I shuffle past the rhinestone bedazzled belly shirts, squeezing my walker through the racks of baby tees and bootie baring shorts with “Hottie” printed on the butt, desperately chasing the ever elusive pair of boot cut, low rise jeans that actually flatter my legs, hide my muffin top, and don’t flash my granny thong when I bend over.

This is an original post to http://www.welcometomyplanet4.blogspot.com/ by Alicia DiFabio.


invitedesigner said...

okay now I'm LOL! the hoochie walker rhinestone thing did it. maybe that's why none of my jeans fit my post parturm belly they are all juniors b/c I too don't like the ones that hike 4in. up your belly button. I've never shopped in the womens, misses, whatever you want to call it. well I did twice, when I was pregnant cause that was better than the maternity store. I feel the exact same way they need an in-b/w section. Funny how when I was in high school i spent all my babysitting money on clothes and my tips waitressing in college now too I wear the same darn thing 3-4 days of the week until I finally need to wash it (and myself) and then I start all over again.

Beth L. Gainer said...

Your posting made me laugh, especially the dog poop on a stick one.

You are a very talented writer.

BTW, I watch What Not to Wear on TLC on Friday nights. It helps with styles for us middle-of-the-road folks. I'm 48 and because of that show, I pick flattering clothes....when I have time to shop, that is.

Yeah, shopping with kids must be rough. YIKES!!

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