Some few weeks back, I wrote about how a handful of senior girls are often inappropriately dressed at parties, failing to admit glamour for them has passed its sell-by-date. A few readers were outraged by my views whilst some believed women over 50 shouldn’t ‘flash’ heir boobs and legs. “They ought to dress with the appropriate decorum befitting their age”, observed Lesly. “After the age 50, ladies should wear clothes to the knee or just below. I am much more elegant; of a similar age and would never contemplate being seen in a ridiculously young apparel. What has happened to elegance and dignity? What some of these senior girls wear in the quest to hang on to their youth would not even look good on someone half their age – they’re all deluded women living in the past!”
“How sad that bruising commentary should be directed at women who dare to be different, old or young”, observed Lara, a cosmetologist. “This extraordinary flowering of prejudice that blossoms whenever older women show off their legs is notable for two things – how often it happens and the depth of hypocrisy exposed. While younger women with terrible legs – and I’ve seen some shocker, including 20-somethings in tiny denim shorts exposing mountainous thighs bearing glaciers of cellulite – can run around baring all without as much as a raised eyebrow, things are very different for ladies like me. Any woman who reaches her 50s, however svelte or be-gulling, seems to be prejudice from even so much as flashing a knee.
“Tell me Candida, what century do critics like you live in? With all your racy write-ups, one would have expected you to be more broad-minded. It would seem that young women inhabit the world of your current group of pop stars (or are they stars really?) Who exposed all manners of acres of flesh, while older women are expected to all but return to the Victorian age, complete with floor sweeping dresses to disguise any semblance of curve. The hypocrisy is particularly interesting since there is a constant deafening of chorus of complaints from women as they age, that they become invisible. Yet, when a woman in her 50s dares to hint at her sex appeal, she’s victimised.
“I’m all for cheering her from the roof tops. Why? After all, sexuality is important to all female. Granted, any sensible woman knows we can’t hold on to the allure we had in our 20s, and 30s, but turning 50 doesn’t mean we do not long for the turn of a head or two-lingering glances. Becoming a middle-aged woman doesn’t mean the flint in your age is deadened for ever. Certainly, at some point during these years, we hand over the torch of sexuality to our daughters, but still that does not mean we have to become sexually redundant!”
“Far from being denigrated, fashionably adventurous `senior girls’ should be applauded as torch-bearers for women who do not wish to define themselves by their birthday””, wrote Germima. “She is perennially well-appointed, well-turned out and always appropriate. All of us who aspire to something other than a lifetime in midi-length skirts and flowing kaftans should cheer these `senior girls’! Admittedly, wearing short skirts with killer heels does not work for older women, however, good the legs. It looks ageing and would show up all manner of thread veins and bumps on the upper leg if you get too close.
But she could still be a little adventurous. “I am in my late 50s and blessed with good legs. I still wear short skirts but with care – I wear skirts three or four inches above the knee, but only with flattering leggings. Too many inches of a bare thigh however slim, make the sheep start to bleat. It screams that the wearer is trying to look young, as opposed to smart. And I’m sure this is what these bitchy commentators portrayed in your column believed the senior girls are trying to be – youthful rather than sprightly. But I assure you they’re not clinging to youth. They’re simply displaying their glamorous side. What’s wrong with that? The prejudice that says an older woman can’t display her legs, even if they’re super model worthy, is not just cruel, but way past its sell-by date! It is hypocritical to insist 50-somethings aren’t old only to criticize them for not conforming to an old-fashioned stereotype.
“Candida, instead of denigrating and criticising senior girls, we should get behind them. All power to those glamorous wears, I say!”
I was still weighing the views of the she-should-put-her-young-clothes-always brigade to the nice-legs-shame – about- the-face crowd when a friend I was seated next to at yet another party told me she’d been avoiding making eye contacts with her sister-in-law. Why? She would be forced to walk over to her and say hello. The sister-in-law did better than make eye contact, she sent one of the waiters to say hello to her! Grudgingly, my friend stood up, tottering on heels that made her wobble as she tried to walk. Virtually begging for me to be her prop, she clung to me like a limpet as she made to where her sis-in-law sat with a group of her friends.
The next day, another friend rang. “I see your friend was drunk again at yesterday’s party!””, she said. What gave her the idea? I saw her hanging on to you for dear life. How much champagne did she guzzle?” I rest my case!