Fat, old, disoriented, and utterly unsexy: that is exactly how I felt following my divorce. Nothing had turned out the way I’d thought it would. How could I be starting over at this late date? Who was I, now that I was no longer a married woman? Would anyone ever find me attractive again, or was I doomed?
I looked around at other women my age, give or take. Forty five is one of those age-points that can go a variety of ways, appearance-wise. Some forty-fives look spry and delicately seasoned; others look just plain old. Many women I saw seemed to have given in to gravity, their bodies plump and out of shape, their hairstyles utilitarian, their clothes uninspired. I caught my reflection in the window as I walked into the supermarket on a bad hair day, wearing sweatpants. “I am one of them,” I thought to myself, and my self-esteem slithered to yet a new low.
In the checkout line, among the magazine covers touting ten new sex positions he won’t believe you suggested, I noticed a picture of Lauren Hutton. My God, she looked incredible. Her face glowed with warmth and confidence, her clothes were simple and casual, yet crisp and classic. The lines in her face revealed age, but only in such a way as to make her seem all the more fascinating, experienced, worldly. Of all the twenty-something starlets on all the magazine covers, she was the sexiest by a landslide. I tossed the magazine in my cart.
After leafing through pages of gratuitous celebrity gossip over a cup of coffee in my eerily quiet house, I ripped the cover off the magazine and taped it to the wall. Who would even see it, after all? I vowed to make Lauren Hutton my avatar, the physical representation of what was possible, where I was headed, how I wanted to feel, who I wanted to be. If Lauren Hutton could look that great at fifty-something, who was I to settle for schlump-hood at the tender age of forty-five? From that day forward, when it came to questions of what to wear and how to carry myself, I vowed to ask, “What would Lauren do?”
With Lauren Hutton held in my mind at all times for inspiration and guidance, I launched my revival. I purged my underwear drawer of the dregs, the ill-fitting and worn out intimates that had long ago lost any appeal. Surely Lauren wears great underwear. Besides, what’s more depressing than putting on a pair of underpants my ex-spouse rejected me in? I made an appointment for a haircut and foils, to give my hair a new lease on life. If Lauren’s hair could have that natural-yet-well-cared-for look, then why not mine? I got rid of any clothes that made me feel frumpy, and spent some time coming up with new ideas for inspired outfits I could assemble from favorite things I owned.
Lauren could turn heads in perfectly aged jeans and a classic sweater, so could I. I committed to a diet and exercise plan, and vowed to drop the extra weight I’d taken to carrying around. If Lauren could have a toned and sexy body, then why not me? I held my head up and mimicked her confident air, and instantly felt stronger, sexier, and more alive than I had in years.
My revival is an ongoing process, and some days are honestly better than others. Every day I pass by that magazine cover taped to my wall and ask my avatar out loud, “How’m I doing?”. The other day I thought I heard the low sexy voice of a woman-of-a-certain-age say, “Just fine, sister. You’re doing just fine.” I could swear she even winked at me.
Ladies, choose your muse. Tina Turner? Sigourney Weaver? Pam Grier? Candace Bergen? Whether it be a movie star, a rock star, or an elegant woman who lives down the block, select a woman older than yourself who strikes you as especially vibrant, sexy, full of life. Hold her in your mind as you navigate this brand new phase of your life. Let her be your inspiration. Middle aged and divorced? Lucky you – now let the revival begin!
Analise Pendergast is a freelance writer specializing in topics of sexuality and relationships Her alter-ego, singer/songwriter Lisa McCormick, offers up original odes to love on her sultry CD, Mystery Girl : Eleven Songs of Love and Eros. Comments and inquiries are welcome at AnalisePendergast@hotmail.com.