I entered my 40s with trepidation. I hadn’t heard anything good about it. It was the end of my childbearing years and if you believe a lot of people, the end of my dating life. Of course, the end of my dating life should be less of a factor since women over 40 don’t have much of a six drive anyway. Fashion-wise, I was either hopelessly outdated or in dire need of fashion advice. Conventional wisdom said I should expect to stay at my current job because no one wants to hire a woman over 40.
Well, as I am quickly approaching 50, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. True, my childbearing days are over, but Janet Jackson stands as proof that if pregnancy is your goal, it is still possible (I’m sure being married to a billionaire helps). For me, dating has always been a challenge, but many women in my age group have active dating and sex lives. Yep, that is right, this decade didn’t mean the demise of my sex drive. I still get compliments on my outfits so I must have a decent fashion sense and in my 40’s (late 40s at that) that I found the best position of my career.
Sex and the 40+ Woman
There used to be a common belief that a woman no longer needed or wanted sex after she was out of her baby-making years. Since men can father a child into their 80s, this stigma didn’t follow them. This naïve, utilitarian, short-sighted perspective doesn’t consider the fact that sex can be fun, improve intimacy, be a satisfying emotional and physical experience (with the right partner). Plus, did I mention, sex is fun?
40, 50 or even 60 isn’t your grandmothers 40s, 50s or 60s anymore. We are collectively more vibrant, more active and more energetic than a woman several generations ago would have been at our ages. I remember Gram. She was my mom’s mom. She made the best gingerbread and I’d always have a piping hot chicken pot pie at her house. And the woman was seriously funny. As awesome as Gram was, she was very ‘matronly’. She cultivated an older look from her shoes to her dresses, from her wool coats to her wigs. She was, well, frumpy.
Fast forward to today. My, my, my! Grandmas have changed. They can be energetic, fashionable, youthful and sexy. Gone are the frumpy frocks and the acceptance of aging gracefully … and quickly. We look good. We feel good. We’re sexy …and we still want sex!
Perimenopause or even menopause doesn’t have to stop you from getting your groove back. And it doesn’t mean you have necessarily lost your groove in the first place. If hormone levels are fluctuating, hormone therapy could be the answer. Initial vaginal dryness can be helped by a little lubrication. Nowadays there are so many options, finding the right lubricant can be fun in and of itself.
So what you aren’t a 20-something. They might have the firmness and smooth skin (but this ain’t true for all of them) – but you my dear lovelies have the experience. You know what you want and aren’t afraid to state it. And you aren’t necessarily in bad shape either. Many younger men actually prefer an older woman.
Too Late for Love?
Come to think of it, I probably should have put this section before the sex section. You have to have a partner before you can engage in anything other than solo sex. It is entirely possible that you got married and your marriage is still going strong. If this is you, feel free to move to the next section or read on and help a friend!
The conventional wisdom is that your options for dating (and marriage if you are so inclined) are abysmal. Well, I don’t know when this ‘convention’ was held or who was invited, but to hell with conventional wisdom. I know of many women in their 40s, 50s and beyond who are currently in relationships with men they met well after they passed the 40-year old threshold. If you want a relationship, you can have a relationship.
Now, am I writing this from experience? Um, no … I’m probably going to have to get out of my comfy recliner if I want to meet someone. For some women, Internet dating sites have worked wonders. You can go broad (think Match or eHarmony) or you can cast your net on a more specialized site (TallFriends, Christian Mingle, JDate.com, Farmers Only, TrekPassions, Redhead-World). Most of these site are open to heterosexual and homosexual interest.
Like to meet someone in person. Check out Meetup.com and find someone who shares a similar interest. When I first moved to Charlotte, I met my first friend (not dating but friend) through a Meetup group. Why not use it to find your match? I know quite a few people who have. Then you can go the old-fashioned route and ask your friends if they know any potential matches. I’m thinking of reaching out to my Facebook friends to see if they know anyone. After all, most of my FB friends are actually real people that I know.
It’s never too late for love!
Got a Case of Career Cooties?
Well, well, well, seems like that ridiculous ‘conventional’ wisdom is back to rear its misinformed head. This time, the convention is telling you to forget about any career aspirations, stay where you are and be happy because no one else is going to hire you after 40. I swear, if I ever meet one of these conventioneers in a dark alley ….
In my 40s, I found a job, lost that job, worked as a contractor for several companies, who wanted someone with my experience (interspersed with periods of unemployment), before I ended up at the job I have now. A job I truly enjoy. My coworker, a woman in her early 50’s was hired a year before me.
This is not to say that age discrimination isn’t real, it is. It is to say that ageism shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your career options. Every time you encounter ageism, there will be several times where you won’t. To use a basketball analogy, you will never make the shots you don’t take. In other words, don’t let those pesky ideas stop you (damn convention).
So let’s bust some myths, shall we?
- Sure your salary requirements are higher; however, some companies are prepared to pay a salary commensurate with your experience.
- It is possible that you could be reporting to someone younger than you but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. My boss is about 10 years younger than me and it has never been an issue.
On the plus side, if you want to start your own business, you can use your age to your advantage. You can leverage your experience and know-how and let your track record speak for itself. You probably have collateral that you can leverage for a business loan. When it comes to business, all of these things and more work in your favor.
Fashion-Challenged After 40
This is real simple. Do You. Wear what you want to wear. Color your hair or not. Wear as much or as little makeup as you want. High heels or Crocs. Do you!
So in conclusion, Be sexy. Get that guy (or girl). Find that new job. Start that business. And, do all of this in whatever the hell you want to wear.
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