Hey everyone, great news! A men's magazine has just given us permission to age. It's official: 42 is no longer "tragic." That's what modern, totally enlightened New Man Tim Junod writes in an article-length back-handed compliment titled "In Praise of 42-Year-Old Women" in Esquire magazine. Apparently we can still be hot and funny and OLD at the same time. And you know what? On behalf of all 42-ish women out there who came thisclose to the brink tragedy, I CANNOT WITH THIS. There is absolutely, positively, ZEROdy-nothing new about 42-year-old women being sexy and compelling. Nada!
I could drop the mic and walk right there. But because I'm on the verge of getting my period (insert sitcom laugh track), but I have more to say. Here are some of my favorite lines from Junod's article.
There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful 42-year-old woman.
Tragic?!? FYI, this was true only in ancient times when your life expectancy was 42. And even then ...
With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something — namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother.
You guys, did you know that there's this thing called ageism? Also a thing called sexism? And it's been, like, happening for decades? BREAKING NEWS. Thanks, groundbreaking cultural anthropologist Esquire-writer-, for discovering this phenomenon.
If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone ... well, then God help her.
Oh yeah right, that's exactly what Queen Elizabeth I of England thought when she turned 42. "It's all over for me! No more love sonnets dedicated to my not-so-enduring beauty! All I have left is running a whole empire at the height of its powers. That's all."
So then he starts talking about the movie, The Graduate, in which Dustin Hoffman plays a 21-year-old college grad who has an affair with a woman supposedly his parents' age played by Anne Bancroft -- who by the way was only 36 at the time.
The Graduate is a movie that "turned on the hero's disgust with himself for having an affair with a 42-year-old woman."
Actually The Graduate turns on the hero's sense of alienation and loss of direction following graduation. If there's any disgust in the affair, it's for his passivity.
There are many reasons for the apotheosis of 42-year-old women, and some of them have little to do with 42-year-old women themselves.
Oh well great. So we can't even take credit for any of this??
It is feminism that has made 42-year-old women so desirable.
You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
No generation of American women has entered its forties as frank about sex, and so no generation of American women has been as attuned to—or forgiving of—the absurd theater of men trying to get into their pants.
Honey, I know you weren't born in 2000 just by looking at your picture. So why are you writing like were?
Go to a party: There is simply no one as unclothed as a 42-year-old woman in a summer dress.
Oooh, ooh, I think he means both literally and metaphorically. GET IT???
For all her toughness, and humor, and smarts, you know exactly what she looks like, without the advantage of knowing who she is.
"You're trying to seduce me, aren't you?" Benjamin Braddock asked Mrs. Robinson a long time ago. The question, back then, was all that mattered. Now we wait for the answer.
Don't hold your breath.
How excited are you about turning 42 now that Esquire has made it okay to reach that age? Are you penning your thank-you note now?
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