Quora is one of those sites where anybody can ask anything and be answered by anyone, though unlike certain of its competitors I'm looking at you, Yahoo! Answers the questions are serious and the answers come from actual people with real names.

This particular question was popular enough to get picked up by a column on Salon, and inasmuch as I know people in similar situations, I felt compelled to read it: What does it feel like to be a hot girl who gets old? Of course, I was never a hot girl, a bit of gender-bending chicanery during my early online days notwithstanding, and I suspect actual hot girls were never keen on the term "hot girl." Still, I am old, and perhaps, I reasoned, I might have some common ground with the women in question.

Said one woman of sixty-seven:

I was at Kohl's several years ago and I had on makeup and cute jeans and a new haircut and I thought I looked really cute. Boots. For my age, hot. Older hot, but hot. The "girl" behind the register rang up my purchase and said, "I've included your senior discount." I looked around. Who the hell was she talking to? She didn't ask to see my ID and I knew to get the senior discount you had to be at least 60. I said, "That's nice" and went into the ladies room. I looked at my receipt. I got 15% off. I said, That's nice!

I comprehend "older hot." We have a staffer at 42nd and Treadmill, somewhere over sixty, who can still wear sorta-tight jeans; I am grateful for the view proffered, though I'm not going to be rude enough to say so in person.

A 50-year-old commented:

Just a couple months ago, a bag boy at a local grocer had a crush on me. He'd talk to me, blushing, every time I went in. I got to the point that I'd pray he wasn't working. I felt like he was stalking me and I'm 50!!

One can, I suspect, be a stalkee at any age. Not that anyone is dogging my shadow or anything. Or, for that matter, shadowing my dog.

I just love this, and I've pretty much adopted the same attitude myself in the last few years:

My favorite part of getting older is the freedom to express myself more openly. I am far less worried of what others think and am actually looking forward to a ripe old age of being able to say ANYthing I want and being excused "oh, she's just old, don't mind her!" I've spent too many years holding back. :)

Now I was pretty open in terms of self-expression in the 1980s, but I was, let's admit it up front, something of a douche about it. It took a few blows to the ego and a lengthy period of STFU before I figured out how to be pretty open in terms of self-expression without being a douche.

And this one reminds me of one of my fictional characters, who'd had some, um, appearance modifications when she was younger:

Now, at age 55, I can wear the same size clothes I used to wear in my twenties, but I'm fitter. I'm also mentally fitter. Does that make an impact upon the world around me? Probably. In any case, I would prefer to think that such "impact" has to do with my whole persona and how I can communicate with them rather than with my looks. All the same, a few weeks ago I was totally chuffed when my personal trainer said to me something like "look at you, you've got great triceps!"

If there's a common thread here, it seems to be the idea that the effort it takes to present oneself as a "hot girl" is actually something of a pain in the neck and possibly elsewhere, and being done with it is a reason for celebration; there are more important things with which to concern oneself.

And a recommendation to guys: Do not pretend to be less superficial than you really are. To illustrate with a story excerpt:

"I never was all that interested in looks," he said.

"That statement is almost never true. And it's absolutely never a compliment. Think about it."

They've been there; they've done that. They won't be fooled.

The Vent

  18 February 2013

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 Copyright © 2013 by Charles G. Hill