It would be nice to think that by the time we get to an age where hormone replacement therapy could be a consideration, that we have a good sense of self and no longer require reading in magazines to find out how we should live.
What I’ve found is, it’s always good to get different perspectives. Keeping an open mind allows growth. Sometimes we read articles that assure us that we aren’t alone in our views. Validation is important to all of us. Sometimes, we get Netflix’d out and want to read something besides subtitles for a few minutes. We all benefit by learning new things.
I don’t know about you, but subtitles are the shit. I had no idea how much great dialogue I was missing until turning on subtitles.
I’m not suggesting that we stop reading. Far from it. I’m just saying sometimes what we get to read can be frustrating. Or maybe they just became frustrating over time.
I used to lust over the clothes and accessories in the fashion magazines. Quite frankly, I doubt any fashion I saw came in my size and even if they did, they were not in my budget. I would read family time magazines and learn how both my home and my garden could be much better. I still read them, but I often walked away feeling inadequate.
One of my favorite things about aging, is how quickly I can find the bullshit in these articles.
I decided that I would address some of the common themes.
269 Ways To Please Your Man: Okay, so fuck that. 269 ways to please a man? We don’t need 269 ways to please a man. Showing up works 99% of the time. Here’s a sentence that will please your man every time “Fine…but don’t mess up my hair.” Trust me, he’ll be happy.
Sure, there are times we can put in some effort he’ll appreciate, but we don’t need to fret over making sure our men are pleased. In all honesty, I believe that a healthy relationship works best when both parties are concerned with each other’s needs.
I despise these articles because the titles put us in both a position of servitude and a position of responsibility which suggests that we cater to an unbalanced relationship. Or am I being too hard on the “Please Your Man articles”?
Make The Perfect Holiday Centerpiece: Or how about this? Don’t fucking make the centerpiece. If you are hosting a family dinner, then you already have a shit ton to take care of. Is a homemade centerpiece really going to add much to the mix?
Sure, a few people commenting on how great it looks might feed your ego, but is that going to be worth the time to make it when that time could be better spent scraping dried ketchup from the front of your refrigerator?
In the end, it’s just going to get in the way anyway. Here is how the conversation will go:
Aunt Bertha: “Why, Sally..I haven’t seen you in so long. Are you still married to your 3rd husband? And that little boy you brought, that is his daddy that you brought with you, right”?
Sally: “Yes, Aunt Bertha, I’m still married to my 3rd husband and as far as I know, he IS Billy’s daddy. Now, could you pass me the butter and a very sharp knife”?
Aunt Bertha: “You know, I can’t see you with this thing in the way. Why don’t we move it out of the way so it doesn’t get messed up”.
Sally: “What is this supposed to be, anyway”?
And with that, your elaborate turkey that you made out of uncooked macaroni, dental floss and hair spray will be put in a corner and more than likely kicked around or even eaten by a niece or nephew.
How To Get Hair/Legs/Eyes Like <a super model, pop star, Mila Kunas>: First of all, it’s not going to happen. No matter what you do. Do you know whose hair, legs or eyes you’re going to have? Yours. Embrace what is yours.
Lose 20 Pounds In 20 Days: HAHAHAHA. You’re not supposed to lose 20 pounds in 20 days. Is it possible? Fuck, I don’t know. I suppose dismemberment would do the trick.
Getting into shape isn’t easy and it isn’t quick.
If you care enough about yourself to commit, you’ll get there. But don’t set unreasonable expectations of yourself. Unreasonable expectations aren’t helpful when it comes to weight loss.
Trust me on this. I am an expert on setting unattainable goals. This is one of the things that keeps that 20 pounds packed firmly on my ass. What happens when you read this article and then attempt to follow a regime that is nearly impossible and then you don’t lose 20 pounds? You get discouraged.
I don’t know about you, but my road to hell is paved with discouragement and candy bar wrappers.
Besides, who cares what the package we come in looks like? You know who has lived a full life? Who has funny stories to tell? Who has experience and wisdom? I do. I also am way bigger than your average supermodel. Or maybe three of them.
Your size doesn’t matter, whether you are a size 6 or 26.
For all that is holy, I am not suggesting that anyone under a size 6 or over a size 26 doesn’t count. You can be a size 42 or a 00. Or any of the other sizes. It doesn’t matter.
Note: I don’t get the double zero size. There is no such thing as double zero. Your zero can’t have extra zero in it. You can’t add zero to zero and increase the zeroness of zero
Let’s face it. No matter what, everything is different now. One of the perks of life changing in such a profound way? We can be more accepting of ourselves. We can be more kind to ourselves. We can find ways to be productive and inclusive that don’t have shit to do with our pores or our bikini bodies or our good china.
We get to decide what is important going forward.
Michelle Poston Combs writes humorous and serious observations on life, menopause, anxiety, and marriage on her site, Rubber Shoes In Hell.
She lives in Ohio with her husband and youngest son. She stands at the precipice of empty nest syndrome which she finds both terrifying and exhilarating.
Michelle programs computers to pay the bills. She counters this soul sucking endeavor by contributing to Jen Mann’s anthology I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Better Homes and Garden, Grand, Vibrant Nation, Erma Bombeck's Writers Workshop, New Jersey Family Magazine, and Listen To Your Mother.