I have had birthdays on the brain for the past few weeks, and for good reason. First there was my niece on Jan. 9, then my mom on Jan. 18, then Boy #1 on the 22nd, and yesterday Boy #2 was 9! Then my sister Pam is the 31st, another nephew on Feb. 16, and then my big day on Feb. 24. Whew!
Did you catch that last birthday? Yeah, it’s mine. And I’ll be 39. My last year in my thirties.
Even though my brain hasn’t quite caught up to my age yet, my body is getting the hang of it pretty quickly. Flab where it used to be firm. Lines starting to form in the corners of my eyes. And I know I USED to have a waist. I have no idea where I lost it. (Unless it was in that last bag of Cheetos…)
Here’s where my vanity is going to rear its ugly head. But I’m pretty sure I used to be sorta cute. Mildly attractive, or at least not completely disgusting to look at. Now, I was never a head turner, unless it was because I did something totally stupid and embarrassing, like accidentally turning off all the lights in a full lecture hall. But I distinctly remember being asked out a time or two in college.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that when I walk into a dance club, I will turn heads, but not for the same reason as when I was young. Instead, it’s because the young’uns are wondering who let the old lady with the mom jeans in. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that I want to relive my past or cheat on my husband. It’s not that at all. It’s just that sometimes, when I’m putting my prescription cream on my adult acne, I daydream about what it’s like to feel attractive again. Yes, and maybe even to turn a head or two, just so I can toss my hair and purr, “Sorry, boys, but this girl’s taken.”
So this week, when I was doing some shopping at the mall for my job and got hit on, I should’ve been excited, right? Or at least a little flattered. Instead, it was more like a slap in the face. The one time I get hit on in years, and it’s by a man who I’m pretty sure was a serial rapist. Any man who walks by a late-thirty-something woman in the middle of a weekday in a mall and says, “Hey, cutie,” in a greasy voice and then makes a clucking-type noise with his mouth is a pervert, or at the very least, a creep.
After overcoming my shock and disgust, one thought immediately popped into my head: So, it’s come to this. This is, apparently, as good as it gets. Maybe I should’ve thanked Mr. Yuckypants for noticing me. Never mind that I’m pretty sure he said that to every woman who was alone and passed by him. Maybe in an year or two, when I’m even lumpier and wrinklier, I’ll be thinking back to our brief encounter, wistfully wishing I could experience it just one more time.
Or maybe he’ll be in jail. I’ll put my money on that one.