This past Sunday was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, one of my annual High Holy Days. It was, as always, a sunny, sweaty blast, filled with glitter and grog, bubbles and boobs, creative costumes and plenty of beer. I posted all my pix on Facebook except for this one, a self-portrait I’ll call “The Morning After.”
I’ve been obsessed with my body lately. The changes it’s been going through, how it feels to me. How it might feel to someone else. I grew up super self-conscious and over the past few years (or decades, actually) had become more confident. That confidence has been failing me as of late.
I recently had a short piece “published” online. I won’t link to it because, well, it’s somewhat mortifying, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the title the editor gave it, a rather misleading one. What is more disturbing are the many “comments,” reactions from readers. They range from disgust at the mere thought of someone 52 having (or wanting to have) sex to complete dismissal of everyone over 50. Those are just the two most depressing angles of many that sent me into a deep funk. And upon reflection — on sex and dating and High Holy Days and (still) pretending I’m 25 — I can see why women disappear into the country to throw pots or quilt or do similarly “old lady” type things. Society just doesn’t want to acknowledge that women over 50 can remain vibrant beings. Bah.
I’ve considered the idea of telling people I’m 60. The problem with that plan is that I’m so far out there as who I am — age, weight, hair color (carpets and drapes!), not to mention every job I’ve had or guy I’ve blown — that making believe I’m someone else or anything but precisely who and what I am would be impossible. So I’m stuck being me: 52-year-old, single, divorced, unemployed, ex-pornographer (and ex-awholebunchofotherthings). I’ll head out into the desert soon, where at least I’m “middle management” with a semi-decent reputation as a capable human being. Maybe what I really need to do is disappear completely, go to some far-off island or remote jungle and volunteer to thatch huts or something. For now I’m gonna go to bed and eat bon-bons.