The “How Old Do I Look” application says here I look 71, and Ty 42. I always did love those younger men!!
Facebook appears to be sponsoring another application to waste our time: “How Old Do I Look.” Since I have been a pathetic sucker for such things in the past, I very unwisely decided to post a bunch of my photos to see what the app had to say. It started off placing me in my 30s; in one picture, I was 27. Not bad, I thought; and then, I posted one of my favorites. My age? 71. You might be screaming at me right now that these stupid apps cannot read anyone’s face or figure out anyone’s age with any accuracy whatsoever. And you would be right, of course. That didn’t stop me, however, from freaking out. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’m having a bit–just a wee bit–of a crisis over turning 50. I’m not responding maturely, not at all. In fact acting like a hormonal teenager; now that I’ve admitted that, I’m hoping you won’t be too hard on me after you read the rest of this post. I fixed my hair and makeup and decided I was going to reclaim my youth. As I was diligently attempting to act young, I noticed in the car next to me some guy staring at me. He was not old, either, not the usual 89 year old who slaps me on the butt. He was no more than 30. I was starting to feel flattered when he made a gross, lascivious gesture and revved his engine. OMG, seriously, this guy was revving his engine for me? No way. Then he sped off in a cloud of smoke leaving me so impressed that I could hardly drive (kidding). My instant reaction to this was to spit out the word ‘douchebag.’ I also felt something else very familiar: just a tad of fear along with revulsion. Then I remembered all the reasons that this kind of attention is not desirable, not something worthy of chasing or missing or desiring. No, not at all. All those years of dealing with unwanted male attention came flooding back to me. The slightly sick feeling when someone starts following you or continues to contact you long after you tried to dissuade him; and that terrible realization that you allowed unwanted behavior to become abusive because something in you doesn’t value herself enough to put a swift end to it. Suddenly, all the bitching and moaning about ‘not looking young or attractive’ seemed idiotic and counterproductive. I could put myself out there and garner all sorts of attention, if that’s my goal. Some of that attention would be destructive, and tap into that part of me that allows and accepts abuse. That young man and a couple of scary social media dudes who crossed the line reminded me that I am wasting my time lamenting my distance from 20. I should be f*cking CELEBRATING not being 20, or 35, for that matter. Just because I don’t know what the future holds does not mean I should long for the past. When I remember what life was REALLY like before 2002, I am grateful beyond measure to be where I am; and this is the last post about turning 50. That day arrives on Saturday, and I am ready for it. It’s time to get back to the ghosts that are banging around, wondering why I’ve abandoned them to write about me. It’s OK guys, I hear you, and I’m paying attention again. Next post: my long conversation with a deceased lady. It was illuminating . . . —Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD