Monday, May 08, 2006

I spy with my mind's eye

A dear friend I haven't seen for a very long time sent me an email recently. In it, he wrote that in his mind's eye, I would always be 22. Sounds about right to me, although, as I told him, my crow's feet tell a different story. I'm actually 36 but I certainly don't feel 36, whatever 36 is supposed to feel like. I assume it's the same for all of us, no age is really what we imagined it would be when we were 15 years younger.

Life in France is helping me keep up the illusion of my eternal youth, or at least certain things I associate with (relative) youth. When I left the States 9 years ago, there were very few stylish moms around. (Lorraine, you have been, pre, during, and post the Child, an admirable exception to this rule. Thank you, though, for giving the Mennonite housewife clothes the bag.) The majority of them looked like REI moms. Fanny packs and comfortable multi-sport shoes and form-eliminating tops and bottoms. Yuck. Maybe it's because I was living in Seattle, REI-land. Anyway, it seemed like that when you became a mother you ceased to be sexy. I suppose that current telelvision programming and whatever else has changed some of that, but when I left there were almost no hot mamas.

But in France, there are hot mamas all over the place. And they're not even all botoxed and boob-jobbed out, there just naturally hot. Pushing babies in strollers and looking stylish - not fashion vicitmish - and hot. I love that. There's no line here, no age where you have to give it up because it isn't appropriate anymore. When I talk to French women about this they look at me like I'm crazy. Why on earth should becoming a mother change who you are as a woman except to add a certain je ne sais quoi you didn't have before, they ask me. Right on.

17 comments:

Eric said...

Wow has it been that long? How the time flies. You are right of course. I remember during your wedding Therese was wearing a Seethrough blouse with a black bra for some occaision. Lorraine commented that it was so very cool that a woman who in the states would have been far more matronly did not lose the sensuality of her womanhood. And she pulled it off with out so much of a blink of an eye. You know it wasn't pathetic like clutching after lost youth. It was styling and cool.
I agree with your friend though. I still see you as being in your mid 20s.

beth said...

I agree - in my mind I am somewhere around 24. I agree with the French way of thinking - although I wear my "mom" clothes often, I can still dress them up a bit to feel a bit of sexiness - except for now because I am 8mths pregnant! But, I was one of the few who actually liked my body better after having a baby (of course the same may not be true after having my 2nd baby - give me a few months to get back to you on that one - and please keep you fingers crossed for me)

zeb said...

You need to let your age obsession go it is not healthy. It causes you undo stress which adds to your crows feet.

Not that you are getting older maybe Christi will give you the same talk she gave Denise and I, we are not allowed to shop at American Eagle, Ambercrombe, ect. She even says things like act your age.

Nicole said...

Eric - that's because time stopped in the Pacific Northwest when I left. Seriously though, I remember that blouse too - and I remember thinking she seemed so comfortable wearing something so sexy which just blew me away given her age. (oh god, I think she was only like 49 at the time.)

Beth - you've always had a fabulous bod and I'm sure you always will. You'll be a hot granny one day.

Zeb - I cannot wait until the princess hits 30. I'm going to have so much fun. PS I'm not obsessed.

Lorraine said...

Thanks for the snaps, babe, but ironically, whatever "stylish mom" thing I have going on owes entirely to my inner French girl who made me swear a solemn vow that just because I had become a mother didn't mean I now had to have "soccer mom" hair and wear sweat pants all the time.

christi said...

nicole...you won't get the talk don't worry. but, you will if you keep saying shit like "you go girl"...it makes you sound like some out of style old lady (which you are not, thankfully)


and im not a princess. thanks!

beth said...

Zeb and Nicole - maybe you could have Christi have a talk with my sister about dressing her age! And, Nicole, thanks for the compliment - I really did luck out with a fantastic matabolism and I should start thanking Mary for it!

Grish said...

Forever young without Botox? Better hope the pharmaceutical companies don't find out or they'll start bottling you all up and shipping you back to the states...

charlie said...

True beauty really is not skin deep, for either gender. It has nothing whatsoever to do with age or parenthood.

charlie

Nicole said...

Christi - oh yes, you are.

Beth - I think your Grandma would be very pleased if you started thanking Mary for something.

Grish - Not forever young, just forever hot.

Charlie - Alias Lycra Man - I wasn't talking about beauty, just about the way we see ourselves and how that is effected by things like age and parenthood and culture.

Legal Alien said...

As an REI dad, I just felt I should put in a good word for REI moms. They are, to those of us who appreciate comfortable shoes and baggy hemp culottes, quite hot.

Nicole said...

Pat - yes, they are, as long as that's what they want to be. I guess that was really my thing - being able to be whatever regardless of whatever.

Tom said...

the point really seems that your body ages and your spirit may well represent a time from your child hood or your 20's, by all measures a manifestation of a time long before the present and certainly far younger than the body appears to know or at least others that see you or perhaps even know you could imagine. These days Nicole I am sure I would surprise even you.

Nicole said...

Tom - I don't think you would, I think you've been looking forward to being an old man your whole life, or at least since I've known you. You're not there yet, by any stretch of the imagination, but the grey on your temples helps.

Tom said...

Umm, I see how this works.

tom said...

oh, i think you mistook my thinking of just what would surprise you.

Nicole said...

Tom - ah, I see. Young and décalé? Wow, L is very lucky.