Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fitting into a Youth-Obsessed, Tight-Fitting World Isn't Easy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fitting into a Youth-Obsessed, Tight-Fitting World Isn't Easy

Article excerpt

Byline: Elizabeth Seney, Shorelines columnist

I had an MAM the other day. You know, a middle-age moment. It was brought to me by a teenager. There's nothing like a cellulite-free, cheeky adolescent to make a mature woman feel old. And it wasn't even my teenager.

I was shopping at Target (the Chuck E. Cheese for mature women), checking out the latest fashion offerings by Isaac Mizrahi when I wandered into the juniors department. Now, there is no age sensor that sets off an alarm that blares out the message, "Warning: Old lady entering juniors department," when mature women cross over the line of age-appropriate attire into the juniors department. As a matter of fact, there isn't even a sign posted that says juniors. All I know is that one minute I was holding up a piece of clothing labeled small, thinking I could wear that, then the next I picked up a couple of tops labeled small that I was certain belonged in the toddler section. That is until I read the messages printed on the fronts -- "In-between boyfriends" on one and "You'll do for now" on another.

As I was putting back the racy tees, I heard a teenage boy say to his mother (who was also holding up an item of clothing in the juniors department), "Mom, you're not 16 years old."

"I can't believe you just said that to me," she said. I felt her pain.

It's hard being middle-aged in today's society. There are too many options. Do you do everything you can do (and afford) to look younger -- plastic surgery, personal trainers, exotic diets and dressing as if you belong in the juniors department? Or do you let Mother Nature have her way with you?

"Part of me wants to maintain my place in the world of the young. . . . I want to flirt. I want to wear pretty clothes and fuss about my hair. I want more of those long, slow, first kisses," writes a 52-year-old contributor in Not Your Mother's Midlife by Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz. …

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