Tag Archives: aging

Pardon My Meltdown

Okay, so I wrote this Saturday, during the big Blizzard of 2016. Of course, then I went out into the big blizzard and got blind drunk! Oh my. Anyway, while writing, I was also emailing with one of the other employees from the bar in question and he told me not to post anything about it. He thought it would get the staff in trouble and be negative press, both of which would be bad for him. So I didn’t post it. But I’m torn. I have some pretty strong feelings about this. To solve the problem of bad PR I took out all the names. Some people will know who (and where) I’m referring to. But at least it won’t be as obvious. And hopefully no one will get in trouble.

Last night I experienced a serious meltdown.

I sat down for happy hour at XXX, my favorite bar, a bar I’ve been drinking in since 1986. (No, not steadily. SHUTUP!) The friendly barmaid had my Stella in front of me in moments. But when my date arrived he almost died of thirst. Our barmaid was on the  phone with tech support, struggling with the new POS computer. Eventually his thirst was slaked. Crisis averted. But only temporarily.

When the shift changed, instead of welcoming the acerbic XXX, who would spin vinyl and serve attitude, a willowy young woman wearing an off-the-shoulder shirt asked how we were doing. “You’re not XXX,” I stammered. “No, I’m not,” she smiled. Sensing my distress (and probably picking up on my panic, which evidenced itself as a string of expletives) she offered to buy us a round. Ordinarily that might’ve mollified me. But when she was joined by her co-bartender — A co-bartender? But WHY? The bar isn’t so big it requires two! — I blew my remaining gaskets. The man was wearing a belly shirt. And he had a man bun. A MOTHERFUCKING MAN BUN!

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot express to you the direness of this situation. Yes, I know the East Village has been changing for years. I’ve watched as the drug dealers and junkies were replaced by bankers and “basics.” I’ve witnessed the high-rises go up on the Lower East Side and waved goodbye as my friends were priced out of their rental apartments. And I’ve mourned every closed dive bar as my property value went up. But this? THIS?

I should’ve seen the writing on the wall. When a “cocktail menu” appeared on the bar, touting muddled drinks. When the number of barstools doubled. When the tablet appeared beside the cash register, glowing annoyingly in our faces. But is NOTHING sacred? I mean, a MAN BUN? So here is my Open Letter to XXX.

Dear XXX,
I’ve been enjoying the ambience of XXX for 30 years. Last night I was sad to see that instead of XXX there were two shiny new faces behind the bar. This upgrade was a painful one. I can sympathize that changes need to be made. I understand that rents go up. But you own half the bars in the neighborhood. I was told you want to make XXX “more like XXX.” Why? Why on earth do you need to make bar A more like bar B? Especially when bar B is only blocks away? Couldn’t you leave just one bar the same? You’ve upgraded upstairs. You’ve created XXX out of a basement. Has XXX been losing money? Those hip, young drinkers you’re making these changes for are fickle. I’ve watched as they pause on the sidewalk, decide to come in, order one Appletini and then move along to the next hot spot. Are the few dollars you make on their one, fleeting transaction that much more valuable than the dozens (and dozens) of dollars I’ve been spending at your bar for the last three decades?
Yes, I know. I can take my business elsewhere. Yes, there are still a few other establishments that remain, like flies captured in amber, unchanged. But your bar is my favorite. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive (or overly nostalgic) but the message I’m receiving is this: “Fuck off, old people. I don’t want you in my bar.” If that isn’t the intention, perhaps you can tell me why, with all the bars you run, it was necessary to “youthify” the only “neighborhood bar” you had left.
a cranky old broad from the neighborhood <shakes fist>



Still Scared Sexless?

Still riffing off the whole “alone, lonely, single, etc.” stuff…

I’ve been thinking a lot about how negative I am on dates. Why the hell am I going out with men only to turn my nose up at them the second I sit down? I know before I meet these guys that there isn’t any attraction. (At least in most instances.) Why am I harboring hope? Do I think there will be some magical spell cast as soon as we shake hands? That while their looks haven’t swayed my mind (or heart), their pheromones might influence my libido? Am I putting up walls? Preventing myself from liking them? Or even being attracted to them? Or are they just sad-sack old men who I couldn’t force myself to fuck, thereby condemning myself to eternal fuck-less-ness?

I haven’t felt inspired (which is a euphemism for turned on) by a man in ages. I test myself as I go about my day — riding the subway or walking down the street. Could I kiss that guy? Fuck that one? Hold hands, even? And I haven’t had much luck answering Yes. Have my loins simply become incapable of being stirred? In other words, is it more about me than the collective “they” that I’ve been dating?

And so I ask myself Am I afraid of having sex with someone new? Afraid that no one will find me desirable once I’ve taken off my clothes? Or is it even simpler? Am I afraid of loving someone again, since the last time was so disastrous? I want to believe I’m not scared. I want to believe it’s all possible. And just around the corner. Can I still be scared sexless? Shit. I sure as hell hope not.

(New readers may want to read one of my old posts, written back when I wasn’t quite so happy: Scared Sexless.)

Self. Absorbed.

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. 

Abby of a Certain Age

On Saturday, someone referred to me as “grandma.” Not in a “Hey Grandma!” mean-spirited sort of way but in a situation with my niece, as in “Her grandma is over there.” Sigh. Do I really look like a grandma? I certainly know I’m old enough to be one; if I’d had a kid when I was 25 and they had a kid when they were 25, my grandchild would be 2. GAAAAAHHHH!

I feel as though I’ve crossed some sort of rubicon. It’s been a very slow process, as aging is, I suppose. One day you’re 12. Then your 22. And all of a sudden you’re 52. Wha’happened? I’ve always believed women only have a few somewhat amorphous ages: kid, teenager, vaguely no longer living at home but not quite yet a woman, a woman, a woman of a certain age and old lady. I am officially a woman of a certain age, a euphemism for old broad, which I prefer. It’s used for women who are no longer “young” but aren’t quite bent over and ancient. Yet.

I’ve been worried about becoming invisible, being the woman too old to matter, no longer turning heads,, inspiring whistles or receiving admiring glances. I’ve watched these invisible women as people talk over them, bump into them and generally disregard them. I don’t want to be that. Thank heavens I still have “a nice rack,” as my friend Austin puts it, that at least gets me some attention.

Regardless of how much of an old broad I am, I’m still not ready to date an old man. I see fat, balding, totally objectionable dudes with surprisingly pretty women, women who, are, um, similar to me…in age, looks, lack of enormous middle sections and stringy grey hair and orthopedic shoes and…well, you get the picture. This one guy in particular, who I will assume is suuuuper impressed with himself, caused me concern. He was on his way to Figment in his stylin’ kilt. He had all his hair. And a belly the size of Santa’s. But his lady friend was tan and trim and attractive, with auburn hair and a fashionable outfit. I could tell by the way he was conducting himself that he thought he was a real catch. I mean, look at all that hair! Who cares if he has an extra 50 pounds folded over the waistband of his stylin’ kilt? The thought of fucking that guy made me gag. I’d rather not fuck anyone. Which may, actually, wind up being the case!

I’m gonna go dye my hair…

Little Old Ladies

I hate old people. I do. They’re slow and ornery and, well, old. I realize there’s some self-loathing going on here. I’ve never much noticed old people til recently. Of course, I’m talking about aged strangers. I love my parents, their friends, my relatives who are in the vague range of ancient.

I find little old ladies particularly irritating. “Little old lady.” It’s such a quaint term. There are variations: Crone. Hump-backed dowager. Granny. Lavender-haired old ladies. But they all conjure up the same vision: womanhood in its final stage. Bent over and shuffling. Orthopedic shoes and pilled sweaters. Saggy jogging suits or support hose. Smelling of pee and moth balls, cabbage and Dent-u-Cream.

Perhaps I’ve always had an aversion to old ladies. When I was little, playing “Old Maid,” if I got that card, I would hide it under the couch! Grandma made me ham sandwiches with butter and mayonnaise and the crusts cut off. She wasn’t an old lady. She was my Grandma!

Today I saw some little old ladies on Governors Island, hard at work on their watercolor paintings. They both wore big floppy hats, even though they were in the shade, and billowy garments. Old lady clothes. I overheard them talking about their classes. Perhaps they’re watercolor students. Old people have nothing but time, so they take up hobbies. Hobbies! They’re for old people!

My saving grace is that no one will ever call me “little.” It’s not a word usually associated with me. And I’ve never been much of a lady. More than likely I’ll wind up a cranky old cunt. Wait! I already am!

I’m gonna burn in hell.

My One Minute Book Pitch Meets with…Steeerike ONE!

Last night I ventured out to Brooklyn for Pitchapalooza, a sink-or-swim book idea slam organized by “The Book Doctors,” David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. The venue was the Green Light Bookstore and featured celebrity guest judges Richard Nash and Jason Pinter.

There must’ve been 100 eager authors crammed into the indy Ft. Green store, each nervously clutching their script and editing on the spot. The format provided one minute to spill your spiel, followed by feedback from the panel. Writers were not permitted to respond to their feedback or otherwise defend themselves.  About 20 writers were randomly selected and offered the opportunity to pitch their books. I was one of the fortunate few.

I managed to get through about 99% of my pitch before the buzzer. When I first uttered the word “menopause,” there was a collective audible gasp. What can I say? It’s not a popular topic. Men don’t want to hear about it. Period. Just like they don’t want to hear about periods. Or anything else “feminine and messy.” And women, unless they’ve actually been through it — though sometimes not even then! — really, REALLY don’t want to hear about it! Females of every generation are terrified of getting old, of becoming invisible and irrelevant, of reaching an age when they can no longer trade on their sexuality or femininity, thereby negating everything society has been teaching us for the first 50 years of our lives. So I was proud of myself for even giving it a shot. I wasn’t at a woo-woo women’s support group; it was a retail establishment stuffed with my “I wanna get published!” competition. If I had to guess, I’d say there were maybe 10 women in the room who could even vaguely relate to me.

My paraphrased feedback:

Arielle began, “When you first started, I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go again.’ I’ve heard hundreds of pitches for ‘funny’ menopause books. There are a million of them out there. But then you got specific about the kind of rock ‘n’ roll people you’d be targeting and I got it!” I’m pleased that she “got it,” but I’m not necessarily targeting just rockers. I’m going after badasses of every genre. And all you need to do is Google menopause books to learn that there are not anywhere near a million “funny” menopause books. She may have heard a million pitches for them but, for whatever reason, no one’s published them. Which is a shame, because I sure could’ve used one. All there was when I went looking was Menopause for DummiesMenopause Sucks: What to Do When Hot Flashes and Hormones Make You and Everyone Else Miserable and Is it Hot In Here? Or is it me? The Complete Guide to Menopause. There are, of course, the Christian Northrup books and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause, which are not, in my opinion, either entertaining or even remotely badass.

Richard Nash suggested I come up with some catchy phrases that would really sum up the intended demographic, such as “The menopause book for the CBGB’s generation,” — which I immediately appropriated, by the way — though again, I’m hoping the book will have a bit more reach than that. Sure, the broads who are “still out clubbing til 3am” would be my primary market, but ideally everyone who doesn’t feel like part of the hippy-dippy purple caftan demographic will want to read my book!

Jason Pinter read a few notes that were primarily words of encouragement. Thank you, Jason!

Wrapping up, David added, “You said this was a funny book. Where were the jokes? You didn’t make me laugh.” Well, given that all I had was one minute, there wasn’t much time for stand-up. But more specifically, this is not a humor book. It’s an informational book, written with a sense of humor. Will it make people laugh? I hope so. But I won’t be telling jokes; I’ll be cracking wise. And doing my best to help my readers to not jump off a building in despair.

The panel also let me know it was a bad idea to say that 50% of the planet would be interested in my book, since that wasn’t accurate. They were in agreement that I should’ve mentioned other menopause books and how mine was different. I had avoided that in an effort to not come off sounding negative — easily remedied. But they all seemed to believe I have a viable book!

Fortunately, seconds after I ceded the mic to the next pitcher, a handsome young reporter beckoned. “We’d like to shoot your book pitch for NBC news,” he informed me. I couldn’t believe my luck! How many potential viewers would I reach with my idea? And my newly appropriated CBGB’s catch phrase? I threw my motorcycle jacket back on to appear appropriately badass. The segment seemed to go smoothly; I think I got my message across with an appealing amount of humor. I’ll look forward to seeing if I make the cut and whatever resulting adulation transpires.

While my first real “pitch” may have been a total strikeout, at least I had the nerve to attend the event and enough luck to be picked — and filmed! Since I bought the book, I get to schedule a 20-minute consultation with David and Arielle. I’ll be sure to re-work my pitch, taking all their constructive criticism into consideration. If I could pack a pitch into a minute, 20 will feel like forever!

The One-Minute Book Pitch

I’ve got a book that’s relevant to a mere 50% of the people on the planet. That’s right, every woman in the world will go through menopause! And there simply isn’t enough information about it out there, not even on the almighty internet.

The Badass Babe’s Guide to Menopause will fix that and crack you up! Hardcore medical facts with a rock ‘n’ roll sense of humor will explain what the hell is happening with your hormones and how to handle it with dignity.

The book will debunk myths and offer realistic coping strategies without resorting to hippy-dippy lavender caftan homilies or telling you that old age is the best part of life!

Beyond all the hilarious straight talk you’ll get quotes and stories from the world’s biggest badasses: Joan Jett! Chrissy Hynde! Tina Turner! Whoopie! Madonna!

And why should I write this book? I have decades of experience waiting in a comical, conversational style about sexuality, kink and other taboo topics. And hey, why not me?

You’ll want to buy this book because either you’ll eventually want to read it or someone you love will!

When I’m 85

Today was my father’s 85th birthday. We went out for a lovely dinner, just the four of us. It was probably the first birthday of his — or any of ours — that was celebrated only by our nuclear family: no husbands, no boyfriends, no relatives, no kids. I kinda liked it. It felt like a long time ago, which I guess can be a good thing, especially if you’re 85. Unfortunately my dad doesn’t have much short-term memory anymore so it probably would have been tough for him to appreciate our “return to our roots” in relation to recent celebrations. He just seemed happy to be out and eating and with us. He was especially happy with his “chocolate tastings;” Budski always loves a good dessert.

Whenever anyone asks my dad how he’s doing, he says, “Oh, sure’s to be able to sit up and take nourishment.” I don’t even know what that means. He’s also always held that “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” a paraphrase of Bette Davis’s quote. And in reference to old age, he quips that “It’s better than the alternative” — another borrowed quote, this time Maurice Chevalier’s —  the alternative being death. I’m not so sure.

Yes, he appears to experience pleasure, mostly when he’s eating. He adores their little dog and lavishes her with affection. He’s quick to laugh and can answer all the questions on Jeopardy. But he spends most of his time sleeping. When we got out for dinner he asks if we’ve ordered after we’ve ordered and asks if he’s eaten after he’s eaten. It doesn’t seem like much of a life.

My friends and I talk about getting old and what we’ll do if things “get bad.” Suicide pacts only work if you still possess the mental acuity to off yourself. Or to even remember you wanted to.

I don’t know if I want to live to be 85. I don’t have a 401k or any other retirement plan to speak of. I don’t have kids who’ll keep me company or a spouse to to grow old with. I’m not sure I care, really. But I will need someone to let me know that it’s bad…if it gets bad and I’m not aware of it myself. I sure hope one of my friends will tell me. And help out with my exit plan if need be.

There’s always the chance I’ll be healthy and aware in my old age. Perhaps I’ll be out for dinner with my sister and her kids — and maybe their kids — on my 85th birthday, happy to be out and eating and with them. Maybe I’ll even order a chocolate treat. If I can remember!