So, you’re older now. What’s up with body image? A few more wrinkles, body parts going south? I overheard a man tell his wife to cover up her cleavage. He didn’t like to see crepey-skinned breasts. Well, this doofus had a pot belly and drooping jowls. This is the type of man to avoid.

Frances Metzman

Frances Metzman

What we need to do is develop a healthy attitude toward this aging process. Chances are a female age 50 will in all probability be dating or partnered with a man 3 to 10 years older on average. Our bodies all start changing beginning in our 40s and the changes just keep on coming. We may exercise - which helps, eat healthfully - also helps. It’s helpful to participate in some athletic regimen; workouts, jogging or minimal athleticism such as bocce or pickle ball. It’s not only good for your body and mind but adds socialization as well. But we can’t nor should we worry about the progression of time.

It’s more than a full-time job trying to be Barbie and totally unnecessary. I say flaunt those bodies not resembling the body-beautiful image. Just having the attitude that you love your own body and exude confidence in yourself people will more than likely focus on the positive and secure person you are. Give them positive body language. Go with what you have and strut your stuff. 

I knew a woman who was riddled with arthritis. In her 40’s she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For years she hung her head, kept her hands in her pockets and isolated herself. Then one day in her 50’s she snapped off the TV and had an awakening. Why should she care that her knuckles had gnarled and she’d begun to shuffle. She had her mind that functioned beautifully but isolating herself had flung her into a an endless black hole of depression.

What did she do? First was a regimen of exercise at a gym where she met other people who had various illnesses. They told her they were using exercise to stick a finger in the dam and many were successful at staving off progression. Next, she decided to return to her old passion of dancing. Some rolled their eyes when she told them her desire. 

Ignoring the looks of doubt and pity, she threw herself into dance. She danced and especially loved the cha-cha. With each step, her back notched straighter until she threw her head back, and tossed her hair over her shoulder. Her body rhythm was exquisite and the twinkle in her eyes beamed enough to light up any room. It can't cure the disease, but she felt great.

Don’t worry about what is age appropriate. Some ill-advised, invisible strata of society set the artificial standards. Why be fooled by that? Wear those tights, maybe with a shirt that covers your butt, but I think younger women might do that as well. Only because it’s what you can’t see but is suggested that is really sexy

You like short dresses? Wear ‘em. You like to wear a thong under your clothes just in case you are seeing that one and only? Then play that out. You don’t have to worry about a slope and a fold here or there that’s going the wrong way. He’ll be more dazzled by the thong. That’s practically written into his brain cells. It says to him, thong? Yummy sex. 

Cleavage? Hell, go for it. Men are wild about breasts. From breast feeding days? Who knows! Wear those boobs like they were the most gorgeous appendages anyone ever had. You own them. You have the option to do whatever you want with them. 

It's fine if you want to cover them up and throw a scarf around your neck to abide by unwritten rules of age appropriateness, but ask yourself why? It will only send out signals that you are ashamed of a few lines and wrinkles. You’ve got it, flaunt it. Your body language will scream that there are no set standards that we must live by as long as no one is hurting.

Dance to abandon. Someone told me my dancing was inappropriate. I wiggled my hips too much. WHAT? It’s at this time of life I want to lose myself in Latin dancing and anything else. I’m not having sex on the dance floor. What the hell is inappropriate? Cha-cha till your body gives out and let’s hope it is for a minimum of an hour. Okay, I’ll give you half an hour. 

You arrive at a time in your life when you shouldn’t care what people think about you or will say. You have come into your own. You will dazzle the nay-sayers with your new found spunk. Puff your chest out and walk with aplomb. You might have to grit your teeth at first, but it will soon feel right. You will believe in your own hype. You are body beautiful beyond any boilerplate set by those we don’t even know. 

Join me in a new reality. We can reconfigure unfairness of body shaming that is pressed upon the female population.

Frances Metzman is a former social worker, now full-time author living in Philadelphia, PA, who earned her MA in Social Gerontology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way.

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