Jo Castro rarely gets out these days and hides in a bat cave in deepest South West Australia. If you’d like to connect with her you can on her blog Lifestyle Fifty where she proffers quite useless hope and inspiration for other aging women.
She’s also on Twitter @johannaAcastro and Facebook at Lifestyle Fifty.
It’s been one of those days – a day of creakiness, feeling old and being at the mercy of my hormones which seem to be going completely haywire.
Worst of all I’ve had a stomach churningly bad hair day and staring back at me from the bathroom mirror stands an old hag, someone straight out of a pantomime – you know wicked witch and all that.
The truth of the matter is that although I may look to the world like a wrinkled, graying old cow with unnatural blond highlights and attitude, I actually still feel, well inside at least, that I’m about 25. You know, that I could still dance on tables at 3am in the morning with a bottle of Tequila in one hand and a fag in the other, and not be slayed by cerebral daggers for at least three days afterwards.
Ok. I can’t. And I don’t. Not Anymore. Er, do you?
It’s only when I’m walking a little stiffly, two steps behind my beautiful, jaunty, 22 year old daughter that I really get the picture. I have become invisible to everyone except maybe my 85 year old mother.
So these days my vanity prefers me without glasses, and then thank goodness age has little meaning as I stare blissfully into the mirror, eyes nude and mind open to the impossible.
My skin glows and I can’t see a single blackhead on my nose anymore.
Ego pops her head out and cheers. “Hah, you see, you’re aging like a bloody pop princess!”
But some horrible dark voice of consciousness yells back at me. “Hold on baby! Who are you trying to kid?”
And suddenly there’s a war going on inside my head and I feel a little weak. At least in need of a nice glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and a comforting chat with a friend.
Alas, too early for wine and a whine, so I take myself off to have my hair ‘done’.
I write ‘done’ in the loosest possible sense because really it’s not do-able anymore. It’s become straw-like, stiff, wiry, old ladies hair, and I know there’s tons of grey going on under the highlights because I can see them in my all too visible cow-pat coloured roots.
Anyway, the hairdresser is young. Far too young. Perfect skin, perfect pout, gorgeous hair, not a line or saggy bag anywhere near her eyes.
I peer into the mirror in front of me and can’t see many lines around my eyes either.
Oh, I haven’t got my glasses on.
Hell. That girl really is young and peachy, and I’m not.
To make myself feel better I nearly say: ‘Hey, bring me coffee, Bitch!’ but the words that come out of my mouth have not (thankfully) obeyed my salty old mind and I hear myself say quite sweetly in answer to her question about refreshment… “Oh a cappuccino would be lovely, thank you.”
She brings me coffee and magazines. Dear thing. And I settle down under my black cape, feeling around for my broom stick.
“What do you want done?” She asks, picking up my hair from around my droopy jowls. “All off, perhaps, short? Could take years off your face.”
No I do not want the last vestiges of flowing locks cut off thank you very much. That would be like cutting off the last strains of my younger self and losing the power of presumed youth.
“Er no, just a trim and highlights,” I proffer a little uncertainly.
She gives me a slightly disdainful look, not in keeping with her chocolate box looks, which I ignore because I’m settling down to read a crappy gossip magazine.
I love crappy gossip magazines! But I never buy them. So this is the sort of me-time I wallow in.
But what’s going on. The celebrities in this issue have surely been stolen from cradles. They look about 12 years old. Where are the celebrities that I hero-worship?
I turn a few pages and find some.
My own heroes and heroines of the 70s and 80s star studded world have grown portly and paunchy with treble chins, thinning or graying hair, and eyes which look tired and lack-lustre.
My goodness is that my heart throb Richard Gere on page five with snowy hair, and why are a certain Prince’s chins trying their best to make love to his tie?
The thought that money can actually turn back the clock flashes past my consciousness and dissolves – it hasn’t really worked for them.
I prepare to take off my glasses to go to the washbasin, but first catch sight of myself in THAT mirror again.
Good grief while sitting here my neck has turned into a scrawny turkey’s bum, and my chin is sort of pock-marked with peculiarly large meteorite holes. Out of my nose poke two horrible long straggly grey hairs and why are those whispy, steel wool thingies masquerading as my eyebrows?
As if that wasn’t enough my hair is hanging in spiky tendrils some of it now in silver foil and I know I look like something the space-ship would prefer not to take on the journey home.
“Did I say just a trim?” I ask the hairdresser.
“Mmm, yes,” she replies.
“Cut it short. Take it off!” I snap a tad unjustly.
“As you wish,” Miss Peaches and Cream smiles sweetly before adding with a knowing wink to make sure I understand I’ve been rumbled. “Short hair makes you look so much younger when you’re the wrong side of 50.”
If I hadn’t been wrapped securely in an encompassing black gown, I would have kicked the little darling, I really would.
Hell yeah, sure I would, ‘cos I ain’t no aging cissy!
Footnote: Since that day I’ve let my hair grown long (ish) again. I suppose I’ll have to go through the whole damn pantomime again one day soon.
I wonder what your take is on things – Long hair or short hair as we get older – or doesn’t it matter?