Are you an age-basher?

 
Not yet 50, Real Housewive of New York Sonja Morgan was recently age-bashed by a felow cast member. Age related insults are thick in the air lately. It’s ugly.
 
Recently, on The Real Housewives of New York, Reid Drescher, a seemingly polite investment banker, dismissed both Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan as fat and old. Granted, they had been feuding with his wife and acting crazy in their own inimitable way, but neither of them is fat or old. Teresa Giudice of The Real Housewives of New Jersey has been feuding with everyone this season. But she has been quick to call out her chef nemesis, Caroline Manzo, as an “older woman.” Teresa has just turned 40 and Caroline has just turned 50. Both of them are guilty of age-bashing.
 
Before you dismiss this all as “Housewife nonsense” think about it. Recently in an interview in The New York Times about a documentary on aging super models, Isabella Rossellini was quoted saying that she didn’t get invited to A-list parties anymore, but that her daughter did. She wasn’t joking.
 
Recently deceased iconic editor Helen Gurley Brown was so bugged about being marginalized as she grew older that she wrote two books about it. In one of them she recounted an incident at a party when she was talking to a famous director. He totally ignored her to talk to young singer. She noted sadly how the number of people who spoke to her at parties decreased as she grew older. Granted, there were still plenty who did speak to her when she died in her 90s. But I can’t say she was wrong about the phenomena. As women age they have to work harder to be “visible,” even if they are rich and famous.
 
You would think women and older people in general would try to stop age bashing, but we don’t seem to. Sadly the same bad energy that makes some grownup women act like mean girls in the workplace seems to be operating with age bashing.
 
I don’t get it. But then again I don’t “get” mean girls either.
 
Some of my dearest, most vibrant, and interesting friends are decades older. They know stuff and they have style. The only drawback to older friends is that I will I lose them before I am ready to, but that is inevitable. And that can happen with any friend. As my husband, the fatalist, says a bus could hit anyone tomorrow.
 
I have noticed the worse age-bashers are the ones closest to their target’s age. I‘ll never forget a friend’s 30th birthday party a few years ago. Her sibling, a year away from 40, avoided all of us over 40, including family members. It was as if being older was contagious. Luckily, that mood passed.
 
I have noticed age-bashers are universally afraid of aging. They have axes to grind. Age bashing is bullying and a cheap way to feel younger.
 
It’s rotten behaviour. Don’t let them get away with it. Darlings, you may not be only as old as you feel, but you are fabulous. And I mean that whether you are 20 or 80, if you are happy and happening in your own unique way. Don’t let anyone affect your mood or self-image with hang-ups or mean spiritedness.
 
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