What A Woman Of A Certain Age Wonders About
Middle age comes upon us quickly. First, we’re teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and then we’re in our 20’s and can’t wait to be 30 so we have a bit of credibility. We slide into our 30’s full of confidence and life becomes so busy that we wonder how did we all of a sudden become 40?
50 is just a blink away which brings big changes: our kids are grown or almost grown and we’ve entered an age where many things don’t matter anymore (a friend of mine calls these years the “Fu#% you 50’s”) and some things matter more than ever (like comfort, patience, logic, and compassion). We also have time to think about issues more deeply, especially:
- Why do women shave their underarms but men don’t and more specifically, why is underarm hair on a woman considered a lapse in personal hygiene but a non-issue for men?
- Why do women wear high heels and men don’t? Recently, I watched a debate on television and the two women were in 3-4 inch stilettos while the one male debater was in flats. Talk about advantages and disadvantages at the starting gate. Close your eyes and think of thousands of men in high heels exiting the Wall Street subway exit on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue or Lexington Avenue lines in New York City, and you’ll realize women have been duped. Click here to watch guys wear high heels for the first time.
- Men can look just as hot as women so why don’t Muslim men cover their bodies and faces?
- If a woman takes a man’s name in marriage, why doesn’t the man also take the woman’s name?
- Why is testosterone advertised on television? Do we really need more testosterone in this world?
- In addition to “Meatless Monday,” why don’t we have a day where we all strive to eat food as close to its source as possible: fresh (or frozen) fruit and vegetables, homemade oats, whole grains, and legumes – and maybe call it “Source It Saturday.”
- Why are fad diets still popular? There is no secret to weight control. For most people, it’s 20% exercise and 80% what we put in our mouths.
- Why are processed foods allowed in our schools? And, to take that a step further, why are children and teens not given complete information on nutrition and our food chain as they mature?
- Why doesn’t the curriculum of our nation’s best medical schools include required courses (not 2-6 week capsules) on diet, exercise, and nutrition? The food we put into our bodies greatly impacts our health which follows the same logic as medical action (i.e. performing surgery, prescribing medication) and bodily response, except that the less invasive tripod (diet, exercise, nutrition) can also prevent, reduce, increase and cure many health issues. So why are these three topics not deemed important enough to teach in detail in medical school?
- Why do people still sit at a stop light and text?
- At several performing arts shows recently, we watched people race out of their seats to the parking lot before the curtain even came down. Discourteous to the performers and distracting to the audience, I wanted to ask “what is the rush?” My husband calls this “the race to nowhere.”
- Why has it taken so long for women’s pant suits to be accepted as professional? Thank you André Courréges and the women who carried the pant suit forward, among them Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, and Nancy Pelosi.
- Why does NPR continue to cover California’s drought problems and not discuss the industry – animal livestock – that uses the most water? They have commentators that discuss home saving water devices, lawn options, and facilities to remove salt from salt water but they never tell the public that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to make one pound of beef. Want to save 600 gallons of water a day – skip a quarter pounder. For California’s 38.8 million people, that’s a savings of more than 23 billion gallons of water a day (the volume of Loch Raven Reservoir in Maryland).
When I think about the answers to the questions above, I don’t have a clear answer because so many of the issues are cultural and seem to center around how we look, our natural tendency to accept the status quo, and not think about the deeper questions because once we face the truth, we can’t be complicit: we have to do something about the injustice or change our own behavior…and, that is just plain hard no matter who you are. For the record, I added my husband’s name, wear high heels infrequently, shave my underarms, don’t eat meat, poultry, pork, fish, or dairy products, try not to honk my car horn at texters, wear pant suits, and haven’t given up on NPR. Progress…not perfection.