Age and the Male Gaze

When I was younger and lived in NYC, I loved to go to bars alone. I’d bring books and notebooks and read and write and people watch. Usually, I made friends with the bartenders and regulars. Often, I became a regular.

I actually preferred going alone to going with friends. I’d sit at the bar and strike up conversations if I felt like it and kept quiet if I didn’t.

I met a fair amount of men that way, including one guy who became my boyfriend for 4 years.

Sitting at bars as a single woman kind of helped my self-esteem, because I would get hit on a lot. Men always talked to me. Having spent so many years feeling fat and ugly, it boosted my ego that anyone noticed me.

Fast forward 15 to 20 years. Last month, I got take-out at a restaurant. While waiting for my order, I sat at the bar, which was filled with guys of all ages, sitting alone.

Each looked up as I sat down. Not one looked again, let alone spoke to me. It was busy and my order took a while, so I looked around for someone to talk to, but no one looked back at me.

It hit me that nothing has changed. Nothing, but my age. I have NEVER sat at a bar without someone engaging me. Wow, I really am in my mid-50s!!!!!

Does it bother me? I am pausing. Mostly, I’ll say no. I love to sit and daydream. No one at the bar actually looked too interesting to me. AND, I am 54 – an age where heads don’t turn like they used to. It’s kind of comfortable and relaxing and pressure-free.

Still, it was fun, back in the day, to go out and flirt. You never knew who you might meet or talk to or have fun with. Each night felt like a new adventure. And that boyfriend of 4 years was a great guy who helped me through a very tough time.

Yet, here I am — older, wiser, way more stable and settled and – just fine. What did I do that night at restaurant? I made friends with the bartender, a great woman who was really an actress. I went to her play the following week – it was so good and so much fun. She’s smart and funny and reads a lot. I have been dying to make new friends.

So, I guess I did have an adventure afterall!

Tired

Is anyone else tired? I’ve had long days, sinus headaches, bad sleep and hot flashes.

Would anyone else like to just take a break? Could we crawl under the covers until winter is over (don’t get me started on not having power for a week!)

And yet I know so many people with soooo much energy. Many of the folks I work with come in at 3 am and work ceaselessly for at least 12 hours. And they’re fine! How do people function day after day after day with four hours of sleep? They all have families and lives….and they’re cheerful!!!!!!!!

Not me, I’m ready for a nap as I write this. And I’m NEVER cheerful on not enough sleep. I could, however, star in any number of zombie movies.

(I know my sister is reading this and is mouthing “exercise, Mel, exercise”.)

Is there else out there, even someone who eats well, exercises, loves their families and friends and still….feels hopelessly tired?

Going Home

It’s been a week without power at home. It’s been a week of (not)sleeping on my friends couch. My displaced kitty not eating and mewling for the first few days. Living out of a suitcase and trying not to take up space. Eating weirdly for me. Showering when convenient for my friends.

I will miss them.

Lack of (electrical) Power and Food

Our power is out at home – no electric, heat or water – and the electric company says it’s out until Thursday. I’m staying with friends, who are generously letting me sleep on their couch, which I really, really appreciate.

However, I’m a little ‘off’ with food. I’ve lived alone in my own apartment since college (many years ago), and I’m just used to my own refrigerator.

I’m not exactly sure what to do – my friends have a very full refrigerator and love to cook and eat – they spend most of their time in their kitchen. I don’t want to get in the way.

They are so generous and continuously offer food, telling me that I am welcome to anything and everything. However, they don’t eat like I eat. The fridge is filled with pasta in cream sauce and ribs and sausage and pepper and pie, etc. There are no veggies or light fare at all.

Is it rude to bring my own food? In some ways, I’d rather just stay out of their kitchen.

So far, I took myself out to dinner Saturday and got a salad bar. And out for lunch Sunday and had soup and salad. Still, eating out I find I end up eating more than I would when I’m home. (Forget about how expensive it is – I consider myself to be in a state of emergency :-)) Also, I figured I’d give my friends some time to themselves.

I did eat with them last night – cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese and coconut custard pie. Not a green vegetable to be found. We had a lovely time, and I don’t mind eating such heavy stuff occasionally (and I am incredibly grateful for their hospitality.) But still, my body’s not it’s usually absolutely comfortable self.

Add to it, that everything is ‘off’. I’m sleeping on their couch, and not sleeping well. At all. When I’m just simply exhausted, I sometimes think I’m actually hungry. Or I look to food for energy when I normally wouldn’t.

So, everything feels a little weird out of my home, my comfort zone. What am I going to do about it?

Nothing. I’m going to be fine, no matter what. I’m too busy to worry anymore about it. Hopefully, power will come back soon. ‘Cause what I really, really need is sleep!