A number of people, mostly women, have told me that they find Formerly Hot a little annoying. Shocking, I know. I was shocked, too. Their reasoning: Here I am, going on and on about no longer being hot, while in their opinion I’m holding up pretty well. Others don’t like it because I dared to call myself “hot” in the first place. Apparently it’s immodest to think highly of yourself in retrospect.
Both of those things are beside the point, and it is my failure that I have not adequately conveyed what Formerly Hot is all about.
I don’t feel horrible about how I look–that is to say, decent to great, depending on whether I’ve slept, bathed and used that cool new hair gel from Bumble & Bumble. Overall, I’ve got it reasonably together for my age (41.)
Furthermore, I was never a supermodel to begin with, merely a “hot” girl among many who held general and sometimes specific appeal to those men who were interested in, well, young women with whom they imagined they might have sex. That would be a lot of men, by the way.
Formerly Hot is about that ambiguous life period that I and my peers have been moving into: We’re not young, yet not old (adult “tweens,” if you will); not as universally desirable, yet by no means into-old-ladies fetish material, either; we’re not completely clueless about popular culture, but if you ask us what the hot, happeningÃ‚Â bar is in our city, it’s likely we’ll name one that is so hopelessly over, not even we go there. And we’re still being marketed to, but instead of trying to sell us sexy fragrance or birth control, it’s Swiffer mops and Glade cinnamon-scented candles.
I’m having a bit of a tough time with this transition, and part of it is that yes, body parts are not as perky or taut as they once were, and my face, while still appealing when I smile, is taking a lot more makeup to look as if I’m not wearing any makeup. I’m not treated like the “hot” girl I once was (I often rode mass transit for the price of a smile) and I’m not acting like her either. This shift has changed the way I interact with the world, subtly, but definitively. It’s about aging, moving from one thing (hot) to…what?
That’s the question I’m exploring here, and invite others to post and explore their “Formerly,” whatever it might be. We all have many Formerlies (I am also formerly intense, formerly too-forgiving, formerly bulimic, formerly furious, to name a few) and I want to know what happens when that self-definition goes the way of LPs and VHS. What replaces it?
For me, anyway, that remains to be seen. Thoughts?
December 21, 2008 at 8:34 am
ha! I do get it. I don’t identify at all, though. That’s one of the nice things about never having been hot. I don’t feel a sense of loss. The funny thing is, it’s quite the opposite. Intellectually, I know that men are not, in general, stalking the 47 year old flabby Jewish girl, yet the kind of men *I* like seem more in abundance, and there are more that like me. The people once out of my league are now in it, somehow…perhaps because the leagues have changed, and the kind of men they were at 20 are not the kind they are ate 45-65 (my demo! and, ahem, older, as John shows) I also feel like I’m just, I dunno, better company? more fun? than I was at 25, and there are enough people who recognize that to be gratifying. True, invisibility is around the corner, but if someone told me I’d feel more desirable at 47 than I did at 27, I would have laffed and laffed and laffed. But I felt totally *un* desirable at 27, so perhaps I had no where to go but up!
December 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm
I wasn’t offended at all – there’s a difference between boasting, and actually stating what is/was so for you. We all got away with something when we were younger, and if you had looks and used them, hey – great for you! I know I did. And I also have noticed that all of sudden (OK, maybe it’s been gradual and I’ve been in denial), “they” aren’t marketing to me any more. And I’m not “getting” the current fashions, or I’m noticing that the current fashions are coming around again. And Chico’s makes tops that cover my upper arms 😉 And while I still feel permanently 28, my knees are a little more whiny, and I have to stretch a lot more to feel normal. I’ve got a lot of “formelies”.
I suspect that stating what was true for you only has people who aren’t as confident, or who are envious, react the way they do. Hey – you’re giving me the space the do the same! Thanks!