Too Late For Love
PEOPLE love to use expressions like “Fifty is the new thirty”, but it simply isn’t true. When I was thirty I didn’t have these jowls, or these deepening crow’s feet around my eyes, and I did – oh, I did! – have a waist.
But I’m the first to admit that something has shifted.
Watching the silent TV set in my dentist’s waitingroom, I marvelled as Julia Roberts stalked the screen in a moody fragrance ad.
She was older than me. I could remember my gran being that age.
My grandmother didn’t waft around in a backless satin evening dress, leaning off bridges and pouting.
“My gran was an old woman when she was fifty,” I told Russell, my dentist, as I climbed on to his surgery chair.
“I adored her, but she bore no relation at all to Julia Roberts.”
“There’s a reason for that,” Russell said sagely as he lowered the chair and passed me a pair of protective specs. “Several, actually. Yoga. A macrobiotic diet. And, most importantly, good lighting. Open wide, Maggie.”
I liked a man who knew that Hollywood beauty wasn’t the real thing. I liked Russell.
But here was the difference between
Granny’s generation and mine – Gran did nothing to deny the accumulating years, whereas my lot had expectations of somehow staying young for ever.
“It’s a racket!” my friend, Jane, declared when we talked about it. “Hair dyes, anti-ageing creams, Botox. The whole lot is just a licence to print money.”
“But you love all that!” I protested.
“I love lying on a treatment bed being massaged with gorgeous products,” Jane corrected me. “That doesn’t mean I love being whipped into an old dolls’ race to the top.”
“Old dolls.” I chuckled. “Is that what we are?”
“Oh, yes,” Jane replied. I wasn’t exactly devastated by the changes in my face and figure that came with the years – probably because I’d never had any great good looks to begin with.
“The thing that gets me,” I told Jane, “is now that I’m a bit baggy and saggy, am I told old for romance?”
Jane stopped flicking and looked at me in horror.
“Maggie.” She shuddered. “How can you think that?”
“It’s all right for you,” I replied. “You and Ron have been in love for twenty-five years. Imagine what it’s like for me – fifty and contemplating a first date.”
“Years of marriage are no guarantee of a romantic life, either. Let’s crack open a bottle of wine.”
We spent a silly evening reminiscing about some first dates when we were still at school.
“When we were teenagers hoping for a romantic night out, I remember the big film was ‘Gremlins’,” Jane said.
“We didn’t need much,” I reminded her. “A dash of Gold Spot breath freshener and the Flying Pickets singing ‘Only You’ and we were putty in the hands of any smooth-talking lad at the youth club disco.”
“Excruciating,” Jane agreed. “Wouldn’t you rather be where you are now, when you can afford to get your hair done, wear clothes that suit you and engage in a meaningful conversation with a guy?” She had a point.
Sitting up in bed that night, I poised my pen and clutched my notebook.
It might have been the wine, but it seemed like a good idea to make a list of eligible men.
I must have thought for a full five minutes without
Was fifty too old to find the man of my dreams?