Although a lot of it is about clothes.
Here’s what I want to know: How do you dress like, act like, be like, a sexy slut, when you’re in your mid-forties? What about in your fifties? Your sixties?
The sexy slutty clothes I used to love so much just don’t look good on me now. I don’t know if it’s that my body’s different, or my personality, or what. But ripped fishnets and miniskirts and skimpy tops don’t make me look like a punk rock waif any more. They make me look like an aging tramp.
And I don’t know why that is — or whether I’m okay with it.
Is it just cultural standards, mainstream perceptions of what makes women sexy, blah blah blah? Because if it is, then fuck that. I didn’t pay attention to the beauty myth when it told me that fat women weren’t sexy, or that dykey women weren’t sexy â so why should I pay attention when it tells me that middle-aged women aren’t sexy, and I should just shroud myself in Land’s End and call it a day?
But what if it’s something else? What if it’s me that’s a different person — with a different character and different ways of seeing my sexuality — and the old ways of displaying my sexuality don’t actually represent who I am now?
I think it might be. At least partly.
Which brings me to my next question: What represents my sexuality now? How is my sexuality different at 44 than it was at 25 or 32 â and how do I dress and act in a way that’s authentic to who I am now?
Some of it is that I’m married now, and while I’m in a non-monogamous marriage and thus theoretically still available for a fling, in practice I’m not chasing tail with nearly the same verve I did when I was younger. So even though I still want to dress with sex in mind, it’s because I’m a very sexual person and I want to be true to that â not because I’m trying to bait the hook.
Some of it is that I’ve been on a downward slide on the Kinsey scale lately. Ingrid apart, I’ve been in a phase where I’m paying more attention to guys than to women. (And before you ask, the Alan Rickman/Snape fetish is only part of thatâŠ) And while I feel pretty confident about my attractiveness to other dykes, my experience has been that men tend to be, not more picky exactly, but less likely to be attracted to unconventionally attractive women â and so as I get older, I feel a lot less sexually confident with them. (That actually makes me feel better about this whole question, since a downward slide on the Kinsey scale is almost certainly a phase that’ll pass.)
And some of it is that I don’t feel the same about my body as I did when I was younger. My body is crankier, harder to take care of, both more fragile and more demanding. When I’m feeling my never-quite healed elbow and my bad knee, my allergies and my asthma, when I’m watching my cholesterol or scheduling a colonoscopy, it’s harder to feel like my body is a gorgeous, well-oiled machine that I want to parade all over town.
But some of it is more complicated than that, more fucked-up. I don’t feel the same now about my body, not just because of how it feels, but because of how other people see it. I hate that that’s true, but it is. When I see myself through my own eyes, I see a smart, sexy, fun, adventurous bi-dyke slut who can bench press 60 pounds. But when I see myself through the eyes of the world as a whole, I see a chubby middle-aged lady.
I want to dress in a way that challenges that. I want to dress in a way that reclaims my sexual power. But I want to do it in a way that doesn’t make me look, or feel, pathetic and desperate.
And I’m not sure how to do that.
Any thoughts? How do you age gracefully without giving up on sex and sexiness? If you’re dealing with this and have ideas about it; if you have lovers or sex partners who are dealing with this and you have ideas about it; or if you just have opinions about it; I want to hear about it.