For the first time in a long time I’ve been able to turn on my computer and have the pleasure of not being bombarded with insults from men on Match.com.
I honestly didn’t realize how much annoyance that had caused.
This morning after I did my dizzy camel act (which rates as an hour of kickboxing for the uninitiated) I wrote a passionate article about body image for athletes. In a society that has unfair standards for women, unrelenting expectations for the female form, I am increasingly angry when I read stories about elite female athletes who feel deeply ashamed that their physiques, honed to perfection for their sports, don’t fit perfectly into a size 2 in a boutique dressing room.
The reason this brought up Match.com was that a few months back one Angry Oldie fired a shot across my bow. He was in his late sixties, fat, a drinker, ultra conservative, a stereotype, in other words. Loved sitting around watching TV shows, having a beer.
Among a number of other ugly, choice comments, he pointed out that I had wrinkles. This was his way of taking me down a peg. He didn’t appreciate that I wasn’t interested in his age group.
He had intended to do the greatest possible harm by pointing out that I no longer had a young, perfect face.
My somewhat sanitized response follows:
“Of course I have wrinkles, you moron.
I’m sixty-three years old. My wrinkles are carved from climbing Kilimanjaro and the Everest Base Camp….. while you guzzled beer on a stool at the corner bar.
These wrinkles were developed from squinting into sun-splashed waves on the icy waters of northern Iceland while kayaking the fjords….. while you jammed your hand into bags of greasy Doritos and watched reruns of Criminal Minds on Ion TV.
These wrinkles were deepened from laughter while riding a wild black Arabian stallion at a dead run through the dunes in Hurgadah, Egypt, while the sun splashed purple on the distant mountains….while you snored into your four-day-old beard on the couch with your head nestled into a pillow full of beer farts.
These wrinkles were etched while exploring the deep, dense Amazon rainforests, staring back at the anteaters and sloths….while your face has become blotchy with beer and booze and bitterness.
Of course I have wrinkles, you moron.”
You wonder why I am so glad to be off Match.com.
I love my wrinkles. I have earned my wrinkles. I have grown into my face and my being. This year I may be growing a few more, given trips to the Arctic and Central Asia and Brazil and Argentina and Peru. Oh, the stories I have to tell. God help me that I ever become so shallow that I care more about my wrinkles than the quality of my character.
Just to put it another way, would we attack the venerable, beautiful, remarkable Dr. Jane Goodall, 83, for having wrinkles?
And if not, then, how is it appropriate for us to go after anyone else for the crime of getting older, which, other than taxes and the inevitable passage of the seasons, is completely inevitable for every living being on the planet?
A society or any particular person who shames a woman for her wrinkles should be shamed right back for their shallowness.
Folks ought to come on one of my adventures sometime. They’ll come home with a new wrinkle or two. Chances are that they won’t care one whit about that. They’ll be far too busy telling everyone about the stories.
What a society we live in wherein we care more about looking perfect than living a remarkable life.
In my vernacular, that’s called “prison.”