5/10/2013

Old Hipster, Indie Hipster

My super cool, artsy gay friend who lives in NYC (and sometimes France) just visited me here in my little town in the hinterlands. A journalist/writer, he had some work to do, locally, and arranged his schedule to accommodate his work needs as well as a visit to me and the fam. We've been close friends since middle school, back when he was a smart nerdy boy who wore khaki pants, had pink cheeks, a too-short haircut, and talked incessantly about fantasy characters, dolls, opera stars, and Star Trek. I was a nerdy little girl with bushy hair, braces, and knock-knees who wore uncool child-like dresses  and had a crush on him. We both loved writing stories, museums, music and art, ethnic cuisine, theater, literature. Over the years, our relationship has ping-ponged back and forth : sometimes he was the cooler one , attractive and hip; sometimes I was. Lately we're both navigating middle age and the ensuing changes in one's youthful attractiveness and sartorial expression.

It's true that my friend is winning the coolness wars at the moment, at least. Never try to compete with the attractiveness of a gay man. He is slim, handsome, and current on the all the NYC and Euro male fashion trends. (Hubster is not doing so badly himself, for a suburban dad; he works out twice a day and is extremely buff. Local housewives have commented on noticing his physique when he mows the lawn with his shirt off.) But it was also true from this latest visit that my uber kewl gay friend thinks I have morphed into his mom. you know, bc I have a 9-5 job ( I can't go clubbing all night), I have boring bills to pay like a mortgage (can't blow my cash on clothes, cars, travel, attending the arts, etc), spend all my free time driving kids around or attending their sporting events (no time for the gym). It's such a drag, this hetero-normative suburban reproductive-centered life.

How cruel the world is to women as they age! There is that moment in one's 40's when a women's aging suddenly accelerates, while men hold steady and even look better. Less raw, more finished than they did in their 20's. When men get gray hair, it's "distinguished", when women do, they are "crones". This is the time for the mid-life crisis, when many a shallow selfish man casts off the mate who aged due to bearing him children and making him a home. I remember learning in a "History of Women" class back in college, that this problem was solved, historically, by the frequent and common death of one spouse or the other. No worries of "the seven year itch" when wives were statistically like to die in childbirth, and men in battle or farm accidents. Hence the Wife of Bath and her six husbands......


I'm trying, though, to be my own version of "cool". It is definitely not the aging gay man's version of "cool", but its the best I can do. Stay tuned......

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