Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
« Is He Mocking Me?! | Main | Best of Babble: Toddler Times Edition »

Youth Is Wasted On The Young

There was a time when I arrogantly rolled mascara-rimmed eyes at any of the reigning sex who dared emit a cat call, who had the ummitigated gall to whistle, who barbarically honked horns as I strode past on platform shoes that would make the Spice Girls circa 1997 jealous.

Those days are no more.  The cat-calling, the platforms, the tits and ass that elicited such attention.  Gone the way of the Spice Girls.

I get checked out by the opposite sex about as often as the Christ child himself celebrates another birthday.  And now, when I notice some redneck-ish fella from 'round the way eyeballing my gravity-battling wares, I experience an emotion that would cause the innocently arrogant pre-baby me to make gagging noises:  gratitude.

Isn't that some SHIT?  To feel grateful to some sweaty, ball-scratching, hairy-backed feller in the plumbing aisle of Home Depot for checking me out?

And yet.  AND YET.  I do.  I feel gratitude in spite of myself.  In spite of never really being the kind of gal who enjoyed getting "checked out".  For a moment, instead of cringing in horror and rocketing my shoulders forward -  as I would've instantaneously done a mere five years ago - that double-take from a stranger gives me and my sagging, post-Henry mom knockers a better lift than the heavy-duty wire bra holding them aloft.

This odd experience leaves my inner feminist all pissed off and confused but has instilled within me a greater sympathy, very nearly an appreciation of sorts, for the moms who dress like their daughters.  Because, they ain't going gentle into that good night even though I increasingly recognize it to be easier to give up on hair, on make-up, on trying to look presentable. 

Rage, mamacita, rage.  Rock it for as long and as hard as you want.  Showcase that leathered, sunspotted chestal region until it's on permanent display in your coffin.  Or else fade into oblivion?  Or Ann Taylor and mom jeans, which, I think we can all agree is worse than oblivion.

Don't get me wrong, I plan to age gracefully.  I'm not advocating the super freaky shit that seemingly every woman on the planet is doing to her face.  The commonality of Botox and plastic surgery and what it's done to faces that were beautiful by nature of being natural scares the bejesus out of me.  But the older I get I realize there's something about the whole "dressing one's age" thing that is starting to bother me.  I've been far too judgmental of the clothing choices of others lo these many years.

Imma gonna wear my t-shirt, jeans, Chuck Taylors combo until I die and if I want to sport a tube top one size too small for aforementioned mom knockers, well, fuck you.  Conversely, if a gal of a certain age wants to get her fishnet on because she needs a little pick-me-up by way of a wink from the opposite sex, I ain't one to judge.

Rage, motherfucker.  Rage until you can't rage no more.  And if your raging includes a miniskirt that's a tad on the inappropriate side "for a woman of your age", fuck 'em and rock that shit as hard as you can against the dying of the light.

Reader Comments (17)

As I was just telling my friend, the best part of being in my 30's is that I really don't care what people think about how I dress. I wear hot pink plaid tights, I wear chuck taylors, I go to the beach and I wear a swimsuit, and I really don't care what anyone thinks. The 30's rock!

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

I love this post and could not agree more! Mom jeans and mom hair are so not necessary! I do think that a lot of the "not getting checked out" thing has to do with having a kid on your arm, though, and not so much to do with your looks.

Again: LOVE this post!

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca


July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny B

oh you are a riot, Monica. I remember going through that stage where you know you are no longer in with the 20 somethings and yet you are still young...and can see what's up the rode and it ain't pretty. In fact, I was just noticing a new crop of sun spots on my " leathered chestal region" and decided it time to try out that dark shade of spray tan, before I'm "on display in my coffin" (although the last wake I attended, the mortician did a nice job of covering that area by fashioning a little dicky from the lining of her jacket). Anyway, having reached this age...going into "the night", I have noticed that it's becoming more and more disturbing when I see old guys who are in age and coming to appreciate that leaving more to the imagination is indeed a sexier thing. PS. Reading this, you sound like the female version of Frank Costanza...the way he starts out quiet and calm and slowly erupts...

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGina

... it's a hard road, being rode hard and hung up wet!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGina

So funny - spent my teens dominated by my mom's overly conservative fashion sense (mostly because I just didn't care much about clothes), wasted my 20s in a marriage where I totally didn't realize that I COULD really rock some killer outfits, took most of my 30s to even develop a style, and am only now - in my 40s raging some slightly inappropriate outfits. And I grew my hair out long - no mom bob. I think the key is to keep the event in mind - grandpa's bday or school event, not so much. But out shopping or at dinner - I'm there.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

I, too, dress like a 12 year old boy! Hate wearing heels (not that I have much occasion to) and the 'girls' sure ain't what they used to be. I figure, I'm married, got the kid, so now I dress for comfort. I still feel like I'm playing dress up when I have to wear something nice!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYotko


August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTCB

1000% agreement here.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZS

Tried botox once. the procedure was painful and in a few days my forehead and crease between my brows were butt smooth ( if your butt is smooth). Have had moles taken off for cosmetic reasons and would consider a gulletectomy if I felt it would make me feel better when I look in the mirror. You do what you have to do when the time comes...hard to make decisions prematurely. Rockin' the new neck.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

Love this post! And am happy to be able to say that after my 3rd was born (and after I'd gotten back into shape and accepted the fact that, perhaps, one size up clothing might look better), men started checking me out again. I agree with Rebecca, though: having a kid on your hip does tend to prevent guys from checking you out.

One point on which I disagree, though: Mom jeans and Ann Taylor? NOT in the same category. Granted, I don't want to wear everything Ann Taylor has on offer (and I've never even tried on a pair of Ann Taylor jeans), but I get some of the best compliments (and looks) while wearing Ann Taylor tops. Plus with a job for which I have to show up looking appropriate, the tube top won't work! ;)

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I was so overwhelmingly flattered by my first post-baby catcall that I still get a charge thinking about it. You are not alone.

I went to Israel a few years ago & everyone -- EVERYONE -- on the beach was wearing a bikini (women) or a Speedo (men). Didn't matter if you were 16 and perky or 75 with tits down to your knees. It was awesome.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJive Turkey

Wait , I'm with you on the mom jeans, but NOT with you on the Ann Taylor diss. No, it isn't Wet Seal, but they have really nice, fashionable clothes. I think maybe 5 years ago they were marmish but I think they are as stylish as EXPRESS (if you like that style) and a step or two above in quality. Look at the outfits in the lookbook. Nothing marmish about them, and totally sexy for a 34 year old woman (I am 34 too)

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeres

yes YES and More YES!!!!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershuga

I may have two points of disagreement. First, Ann Taylor. I love Ann Taylor. But I'm pretty frumpy most of the time, I suppose. Jeans and my favorite J Crew flip flops that I have in three colors. Second, I am all about women wearing what they are comfortable in and what makes them feel good, but I don't think I personally can or would rock the age-inappropriate outfits. For one thing, I rarely rock anything. For another, I feel like it says "please look at me" too much for me. But I genuinely do not like catcalls. They don't leave me feeling pretty, they leave me feeling self-conscious, which, for a high anxiety person, is not a present. But I am totally all for people wearing what they feel comfortable in, and feel like cheering for a lady myself when I see one pulling off a bold choice in outfit.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

What is odd about wearing a swimsuit in your 30s? What else are you supposed to wear?

And, others have addressed the Ann Taylor issue.

August 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterL

I just found my way over here thanks to Babble's round up of killer mommy bloggers - and I can tell that I'm going to be addicted to this. Thank you, thank you thank you for this.

Rock on, Mama.

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>