After watching the programme “Party Pensioners” on channel 5 a couple of days ago, it would seem that there is a (hopefully small) group of people who are refusing to grow old quietly. Women who will do anything to get noticed, to get attention, who are prepared to lose their dignity and don’t seem to realise how ridiculous they look. I’m all for not blending into the background just because you get older, when it seems that you are on the periphery of people’s vision but they don’t actually see you anymore as you have nothing to offer. No young hot body, no mind blowing ideas, no fashion sense, no idea of what’s going on in the world, no use to anyone, but it would seem that some people are prepared to go above and beyond under the guise of “eccentric, outrageous, wild and wacky”.
As a society we are living longer so the definition of middle aged has changed. Older women are still working, have their own money and are hopefully enjoying life as much as they were 30 years previously, just in a different way. Kids have left home which gives you the time to pursue new/old hobbies and anyone with half a brain is still interested in what’s going on around them, which means you’re open to new ideas, finding your way around new technology, and can probably hold your own in a political debate (maybe). Just because the shops only cater for the young fashionistas doesn’t mean you’re not interested in fashion anymore, it just makes it more difficult to find what you like as you’re more likely to want to cover up rather than reveal. The mirror might show an older version of you but we all know the truth, inside you’re on the dance floor of that dodgy club when you were 21, on holiday in Benidorm with the girls and choosing which guy you were going to go home with that night.
Everybody fears getting older because of how society sees older people. Instead of seeing it as a chance to try new things, make new friends and maybe broadening our horizons with travelling, we worry that no one will value our opinion anymore, no one listens to what we have to say which is ironic. We have lived through a lot of life experiences which means that chances are we can empathise with some of what life will throw at you. Been there done that comes to mind. But then again what do we know?
What most people want to do though is just enjoy life. Everyone’s idea of enjoying life is different, how everyone copes with getting older is different, which brings me back to the women who choose a different path than most. Andy Warhol once said that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame and he’s not wrong. With so many reality shows, documentary programmes etc, it would seem that for most people they can have their 15 minutes but because of the fame hungry culture we’re in some people want more. I’m not against people applying for these shows (how can I, I was on one myself) it’s the situation they put themselves in. It’s one thing being shown on a date, fully clothed in a nice restaurant, quite another to be shown legs akimbo and writhing around the floor thinking you’re giving Beyonce a run for her money. Or maybe giving burlesque dancing a try when you’re over 80, flashing your knickers at everyone at the end of the show, all being shown on tv of course. There are no hard and fast rules but please ladies, where is your dignity? Surely no one wants to see anyone over 60 making an utter fool of themselves in order for them to feel as though they’re no longer invisible, (or anonymous as one of the “ladies” said). Everyone likes to think they’ll grow old disgracefully but hopefully people will draw the line at attention seeking, ridiculous behaviour.
Different strokes for different folks but one thing I do know. I could clear a room in 10 seconds if I took my clothes off. Fact.