Quora is one of those sites where anybody can ask anything and be answered by anyone, though unlike certain of its competitors — I'm looking at you, Yahoo! Answers — the questions are serious and the answers come from actual people with real names.

This particular question was popular enough to get picked up by a column on Salon, and inasmuch as I know people in similar situations, I felt compelled to read it: What does it feel like to be a hot girl who gets old? Of course, I was never a hot girl, a bit of gender-bending chicanery during my early online days notwithstanding, and I suspect actual hot girls were never keen on the term "hot girl." Still, I am old, and perhaps, I reasoned, I might have some common ground with the women in question.

Said one woman of sixty-seven:

I was at Kohl's several years ago and I had on makeup and cute jeans and a new haircut and I thought I looked really cute. Boots. For my age, hot. Older hot, but hot. The "girl" behind the register rang up my purchase and said, "I've included your senior discount." I looked around. Who the hell was she talking to? She didn't ask to see my ID and I knew to get the senior discount you had to be at least 60. I said, "That's nice" and went into the ladies room. I looked at my receipt. I got 15% off. I said, That's nice!

I comprehend "older hot." We have a staffer at 42nd and Treadmill, somewhere over sixty, who can still wear sorta-tight jeans; I am grateful for the view proffered, though I'm not going to be rude enough to say so in person.

A 50-year-old commented:

Just a couple months ago, a bag boy at a local grocer had a crush on me. He'd talk to me, blushing, every time I went in. I got to the point that I'd pray he wasn't working. I felt like he was stalking me and I'm 50!!

One can, I suspect, be a stalkee at any age. Not that anyone is dogging my shadow or anything. Or, for that matter, shadowing my dog.

I just love this, and I've pretty much adopted the same attitude myself in the last few years:

My favorite part of getting older is the freedom to express myself more openly. I am far less worried of what others think and am actually looking forward to a ripe old age of being able to say ANYthing I want and being excused — "oh, she's just old, don't mind her!" I've spent too many years holding back. :)

Now I was pretty open in terms of self-expression in the 1980s, but I was, let's admit it up front, something of a douche about it. It took a few blows to the ego and a lengthy period of STFU before I figured out how to be pretty open in terms of self-expression without being a douche.

And this one reminds me of one of my fictional characters, who'd had some, um, appearance modifications when she was younger:

Now, at age 55, I can wear the same size clothes I used to wear in my twenties, but I'm fitter. I'm also mentally fitter. Does that make an impact upon the world around me? Probably. In any case, I would prefer to think that such "impact" has to do with my whole persona and how I can communicate with them rather than with my looks. All the same, a few weeks ago I was totally chuffed when my personal trainer said to me something like "look at you, you've got great triceps!"

If there's a common thread here, it seems to be the idea that the effort it takes to present oneself as a "hot girl" is actually something of a pain in the neck and possibly elsewhere, and being done with it is a reason for celebration; there are more important things with which to concern oneself.

And a recommendation to guys: Do not pretend to be less superficial than you really are. To illustrate with a story excerpt:

"I never was all that interested in looks," he said.

"That statement is almost never true. And it's absolutely never a compliment. Think about it."

They've been there; they've done that. They won't be fooled.

The Vent

  18 February 2013

 | Vent menu | E-mail to Chaz

 Copyright © 2013 by Charles G. Hill