This is the second in my series of blog posts about not aging gracefully.
I remember the day I became invisible. I was in New York City. I was 55-years-old, walking down Broadway, and couldn’t get a soul to look at me. Not one person.
My first thought was, Wow, I could rob banks now and it would be months before I’d be captured because I don’t register on anyone’s radar anymore. It could have been liberating, if it hadn’t been so ego deflating. My daughter sometimes complains about men making comments about her and I always tell her, “The only thing worse is when men stop noticing you completely.”
I was almost over being invisible, when I started going from cool to cute. Cool happens when someone younger has spoken to you and decides you’re OK. They then proclaim you cool. As in, “Wow, Milena, your mom is so cool.”
I loved the cool days.
However, I’m noticing lately that I’m going from cool to cute and often it’s younger people who make this proclamation. I know it’s a compliment. They could just ignore me or say nothing, but they do seem to like me, and so now they say, “You are so cute!”
But it’s a dangerous transition because I’ve just gone from someone who appears fairly young and vital, to someone so grievously old that the younger person cannot believe you’re able to feed yourself, let alone function in society.
And since you’re clearly in control of your faculties, you’re proclaimed cute. She’s so adorable. Look, she can still speak in full sentences and carry a train of thought, even in her doddering old way, isn’t she cute? You’re reduced to the likes of a clumsy, puppy.
It’s worse for men. Once a man is proclaimed cute by women, he’s pretty much a eunuch. She would never have sex with him, but he’s sweet and kind of grandfatherly, so he’s cute.
Some people navigate it well. Look at Betty White, she’s both cool and cute, and she’s 96. Maybe by the time I’m 96, I’ll handle being called cute a little better. Until then, I pray I can go back to cool.