Life Lessons from Nina Bargiel
Old Enough to Know Better is a weekly column of non-advice advice. It's taking everything women are told about aging, tossing it in a dumpster and setting it on fire. There are a hundred columns out there telling you that you’re aging wrong. But I’m here to tell you: They’re right.
Welcome to middle age. You’re doing it wrong. But don’t worry. I can help.
So... Your Vagina Dried Up and Fell Out: Now What?
Ah, middle age, the falling action of the Freytag's Pyramid that is life. Your vagina, dustier than a pair of boots in a spaghetti western, is poised to tumble off into irrelevance. Your sexuality, a lone polar bear set adrift on a ice floe.
But turn that frown upside down, my friends! (Don't worry, we'll take care of the frown lines later.) Let me throw you a life preserver as you float on that boiling sea of perimenopause. Cast off the chains of youth! While it's true your vagina (metaphorical if you are a woman who does not have one) must now join the junior prom corsage which hangs limply on the corkboard in your childhood bedroom — a shriveled memento of a carefree past — you are free to begin anew! You are a phoenix, rising from the ashes of hormones and hot flashes!
Join me as we roll down the other side of the hill that hosted our sexual peak, ready to be reborn into one of the many (three) roles available to older women:
1. Lady Detective
If television has taught us anything (and let's admit: it's taught us everything), every town needs a snoop, and what's a nosy neighbor but a Lady Detective in the making?
Take Jessica Fletcher: She caught every murderer in Cabot Cove for seven seasons straight (and five additional ones in New York.) Sure, it would have been nice to catch the murderers before they murdered, but you can't have a murderer without murder. It's in the name.
Yes, Jessica Fletcher is a touch older than middle age, but you don't wake up one day the Patrician Goddess Gumshoe of the Eastern Seaboard. You train for it. So start stocking up on your smart cardigans and tailored blazers, and don't forget that turban for those dressy nights out. You no longer need to worry about getting busy when you can get busy — with other people's business.
Also see: Dowager Countess
2. Shakespearian Nurse
Want all of the responsibility of having children without the credit? Want to make jokes about sex, even though society has deemed you a non-sexual specter destined to wander the celibate plains? Then Shakespearean Nurse might be the role for you.
If Pinterest memes have taught us anything, it's that the only real true love is a mother's love. Now that sexual love is no longer an option for you, hitch your wagon to the mommytrain or be left behind in the loveless void. The Juliets of the world will benefit from your sage advice and worldly wisdom, although she'll never listen to it because like, what do you even know
about anything? Protip: Keep all poison in a locked cabinet.
Also see: Auntie Mame
Are you experiencing the side effect of brain fog due to menopause? Have you forgotten to give a fuck? Then the Witch might be the job for you. The Witch is known for speaking her mind, laughing inappropriately, day drinking, night drinking, and doing whatever the hell she pleases because who does she have to impress?
Whether a Dorothy, a Blanche, a Rose, or a Sophia, (everyone knows the Golden Girls was a secret feminist cabal), your magic comes from the coven of female friendships. How else do you think the Witch lives longer than men? Every time a man calls her a misandrist, she gains another year of life.
The Witch also thinks that lists of what women should and shouldn't be at a certain age is bullshit, and reducing them down to their body parts even more so. If this is you, please RSVP if you'd like to reserve a place next to the cleansing fire — I need to know how much rosé to buy.
Also see: Any mother of a Real Housewife
Nina Bargiel is a feminist killjoy on the Internet and a TV writer in real life. She wrote the bra episode of Lizzie McGuire. You're welcome.